I did not believe that the no-confidence motion would go in favour of the Opposition because I refused to entertain the idea that our political culture of party-over-country had suddenly shifted. The 33rd vote which passed the motion is not an indicator that there is any interest in placing country above partisan interests. At most, it suggests that one group is better at playing checkers.
I have little interest in examining what led to last Friday’s outcome during the 111th Sitting of the National Assembly. I have far less interest in attempting to determine what could have been done to avoid such an outcome. And I have absolutely no interest now in exploring legal loopholes in an attempt to suggest that the motion is null and void. While there is certainly learning-value in deconstructing anything, prolonging this type of conversation requires investing time that Guyana no longer has.
Both the President and Leader of the Opposition, based on media reports I’ve seen, seem to agree that we should move swiftly and peacefully in three months (from December 21, 2018) to General and Regional Elections. I agree. We don’t have time to become so absorbed in our internal battle that it costs us the war that is surely coming from the outside.
In five or six decades when our historians look back at the current decade and the next, they will perhaps mark them as an important period in the evolution of our race-based political culture to one which will be built on the principles and values we wish for today. But if we do not learn to act swiftly as a unit after the next elections, this could become the period in our history that doomed our future.
We know that loyalty to party above country is a problem. We know that lack of transparency and accountability plague us. We know that the balance of power offered by the current Constitution is far from ideal. We know that racism built on and perpetuated by decades of fear needs healing. We know that strengthening governance and so many other things is vital to our survival. We know what the problems are. We spend too much time deconstructing them, blaming each other for them, dwelling on them.
Right now, Guyana needs solutions. Even if our solutions are not perfect, we still need to set the ship sailing. If it sinks halfway across the ocean, it doesn’t mean that we’ve failed. It means that we’ve learnt what we need to know to make half the journey and what prevents us from making the other half. It means we’ve acquired information we need for success. A few ships have been set to sail already. We need more, a massive fleet of solutions to take us into the future.
While it is important for us to continue calling for peace, fighting racism, demanding commitment to constitutional reform yet again, demanding better, being vigilant, we must be practical about what we can achieve over what timeline and even more practical about Guyana’s immediate needs (I will share my thoughts on this soon). We must also be steadily aware of our new place relative to the rest of the world and the challenges this brings from the outside.
Our work does not pause now and it will not pause in the future. After elections, we will still have a Government and if we have any good sense left, we will commit to working together and across differences to secure Guyana’s future.
Featured Image: Copyright Keno George (Parliamentary Stories)
A note from the Author:
Given the custom by party loyalists to misrepresent and misuse any type of political commentary to support their own positions, I feel that it is necessary to borrow the following from Thomas Paine (an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary) with whose work I became acquainted as a student of History at the University of Guyana:
Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the Doctrine itself, not the Woman. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That she is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.
Craig Village, East Bank Demerara, December 23, 2018
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