OPINION: Demerara River & Linden-Mackenzie outreach was a major success

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2024, 22:48 by Writer

By Dr Randy Persaud

Critics like Dr Henry Jeffrey do not find good in anything the PPP does. They have a default position of tearing down genuine efforts aimed at socio-economic development and political change. Ironically, these same critics, wail night and day about the need to move the country forward.

The latest iteration of the signature opposition wail surfaced in the media where Henry Jeffrey makes a valiant attempt to trash President Irfaan Ali’s outreach in Linden and surrounding areas. Jeffrey incites the extraordinary imaginary that President Ali’s visit to Linden was “attempting to wipe out and suppressing ethnic political parties” (sic) in Linden (KN 5.29/2024). The only factually sound aspect of Jeffrey’s charge is, by implication, that the PNCR-led APNU, but especially the PNCR, is a party based solely on ethnicity.

Jeffrey has a Manichean worldview, whereby the world (in this case Guyanese society) is constituted through static dichotomies that are structural, and relations of competition that are implacable in form, and zero-sum in outcomes. In Henry Jeffrey’s political and social order, relations of domination are the only lenses through which we can make sense of Guyana. As usual, Jeffrey is wrong. I was on that outreach and can tell you that rather than the doom and gloom offered by Jeffrey, residents up the Demerara River and at Linden-MacKenzie, came out in their numbers to engage in meaningful discussions about their challenges, their needs, and their own vision for their communities.

President Ali and his team, including Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, met with residents at Sand Hills, Low Wood, Susana’s Rust, and Dora. The president responded to numerous requests on the spot. He outlined specific and actionable plans for agriculture, with emphasis on drainage, shade houses, 25 acres plots for communal farming, improve farm to market transportation coordination, health centers including staff, community security, and perhaps most of all, education opportunities for the children of these communities.

The engagement in Linden-MacKenzie had the unique stamp of President Ali. He mixed and mingled on the lighter side of things, but was also focused on the needs, requests, and suggestions of the community. Linden-MacKenzie will not be the same place a few years from now. It will become of major hub for development, and a springboard to vast swathes of the Guyanese hinterland.

Another doom and gloom piece surfaces from Roysdale Forde, (KN, 5/26/2024) in which this challenger to Norton’s leadership, (SN 3/24/2024) simply recites a lengthy list of ill-founded and brutally partisan charges against the PPP. Forde takes aim at General Secretary Jagdeo’s observation that the PPP is the only national party in Guyana. It’s a bad aim, and Forde misses the target by miles. He does offer a single meaningful rebuttal to the rightful claim that the PPP is the only national party in the country.

The PNC cannot claim to be a legitimate national party because it does not fulfill any of the following requirements: (1) a commitment to holding free and fair elections; (2) a party with broad demographic base along ethnic lines; (3) a party that has a development plan that aims at lifting all boats rather than that of a narrow ethno-political constituency; (4) a party that employs politics discourses that uplift and empower good citizenship, rather than one of divisiveness, violence, and perpetual doom and gloom.

On the issue of a commitment to free and fair elections, both Forde and Jeffrey ought to focus on facilitating a clean election at the upcoming PNCR congress. The air is near saturation point with suspicion of an impending electoral disaster. Many senior PNCR comrades have stated their profound disgust with the current electoral arrangements. Distrust runs deep, and no one can be blamed for believing that the signature quality of the PNCR, namely, election rigging, will be the dominant story after the congress.

Both Dr. Jeffrey and Mr. Forde are wrong in their assessment of the current PPPC administration. They should be concerned that their own criticisms are unimaginably short of the empirics to sustain their claims. They are advised to make claims that can survive basic empirical scrutiny. Hot air won’t do.

Dr. Randy Persaud is an advisor at the Office of the President.