by Dr. David Hinds
Some people have questioned my participation and that of the WPA in the APNU. The answer is simple: The APNU represents an ideal that we have struggled for since our birth in 1974 and in the case of one of our leaders, Eusi Kwayana, since 1961. The idea of racial unity and reconciliation in the form of a Government of National Unity has been the cornerstone of our vision for Guyana. The WPA has been a part of or supported every initiative for national reconciliation in Guyana since 1974. In fact we have initiated most of them.
Since 1955 most political parties and opinion shapers in Guyana have concluded that a first step towards development and stability in our country must be the coming together of all the political forces in the country in a government that looks like the country. We have had several proposals towards this end over the years but none of them was put before the people at an election. The closest we came was in 1992 when the PPP, WPA and Paul Tennaseee’s DLM promised to contest the elections under the banner of the Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD). But the PPP’s thirst for power derailed the initiative. The sad story of the last 19 years is a consequence of the terrible mistake.
Now in 2011 we have the realization of that dream in the form of the APNU—a partnership of six political parties and other organizations. APNU represents something revolutionary in Guyanese electoral politics. For the first time since independence voters get the opportunity to vote for the party of their choice and in the process vote for something more profound—a Government of National Unity .
If you are a supporter of the PNC, WPA, JFAP or any of the other parties that are part of the APNU you still get to vote for your party because it is part of the partnership. But in the process you are also casting a vote for national unity because the APNU has pledged that whatever the results of the election it is committed to the setting up of a government that includes all political parties interested in moving the country forward. If you are not a member of any of the parties in the APNU but you are committed to national unity and stability of Guyana you get a chance to vote for the APNU as a partnership that symbolizes that commitment. In other words the APNY offers the Guyanese electorate a very wide choice.
None of the other parties has boldly come out for a Government of National Unity. They offer you same old backward choice of “Me and Me Alone.” What is clear is this: The APNU is the only contestant in the election that promises something drastically new. The media, which like to talk of the need for national unity in moments of crisis have hidden this truth from the public—some have instead openly thrown their weight behind parties that advocate the same one party/one-race rule that they have editorialized against in the past.
Unlike the case of the other parties, if you choose the APNU you will be voting against one-party and one-race rule which have been the scourge of Guyana’s political experience. The choice is clear. Instead of voting for “Me and Me Alone” you will be voting for “Nah me Alone–All Ahwee Together.”
David Hinds is an Executive Member of the WPA. He is an Associate Professor of Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies at Arizona State University in the USA. His writings on Politics in Guyana and the Caribbean can be found on his website: guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com