Like belligerent parents unhappy with the partner their child brought home, the People’s Progressive Party Civic never approved of the marriage between A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change. From the beginning they said this union was a bad omen, destined to fail and would never bear fruit.
But the same disgruntled party that could not bring itself to accept the marriage has now been doing everything it can to ensure the couple enjoy a prolonged honeymoon.
The latest display of the PPP’s penchant for self-destruction is its continued refusal to take up its 32 seats in the National Assembly. The party says it is “undecided.” But it gets worse; General Secretary, Clement “Goat Ain’t Bite Me” Rohee now says that if requested, he would consider taking up the position of Opposition Leader. That those in the PPP would actually consider such a move says a lot about the state of its leadership, still in shock no doubt, from the “rigged” elections that every observer group and its cousin said were free and fair.
But destroying oneself may not be much of a concern to many, except if by doing so the very democracy Guyanese hold dear is threatened. Without a vibrant opposition all manner of madness can break loose. Just look at what occurred for much of the past 23 years if you are in doubt.
Not taking up its 32 seats is more an act of gross stupidity than it is an act of legitimate protest action. Who stands to benefit from the opposition’s absence? If any group is to benefit from such a move, surely it is the APNU+AFC-led government, who, with its majority, albeit slim, will then be able to proceed unchecked with the management of the country’s affairs. This is bad for our democracy and bad for the country.
Since President David Granger was sworn in on May 16, the new government has been operating with relative freedom. Sections of the media that were previously vigilant and vocal have become silent, and the PPP remains out at sea. The coalition-led government seems to be the next best thing since slice bread. But even slice bread becomes stale. The actions of the new administration will have to be scrutinized and criticized. No one must be allowed to get away with improprieties. Ministers and other officials will have to be called out on their missteps. No government official must ever believe again that he or she is beyond reproach. Those who called for professionalism under the PPP must be professional now themselves. Promises must be kept and valid reasons given when they are not.
The threat to stay away from Parliament may well be a gimmick. But meanwhile, the honeymoon continues, and the PPP seems ready to pay for yet another round of drinks at the bar.