…Opposition parties not ready for elections
By Leon Suseran
The Opposition parties, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) say they are going ahead full steam with a No- Confidence motion against the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government in the National Assembly. The combined opposition has stated that they have no confidence in the manner in which the government has been operating over the past years. If this motion is passed, elections could be just around the corner.
But former Government Minister under the People’s National Congress (PNC), educator, women’s rights activist and Psychotherapist, Dr. Faith Harding does not believe a No-Confidence vote would solve anything. Additionally, the former Minister of State and Minister within the Public Service under President Desmond Hoyte, does not believe the opposition is ready for elections. Speaking exclusively to this newspaper recently, Dr. Harding believes that Guyana’s political situation has reached an “unfortunate” state after so many years of Independence.
Confidence or no- confidence?
“This No-Confidence Motion will just disrupt our minds! Yes, if the population of Guyana—I think the PPP got the plurality of votes in a sense, more than the APNU and AFC got, but together they got more in terms of an opposition, but the majority of the people voted for the PPP. So is it the majority that is having the no- confidence, by one seat, in the government’s operation? One needs to examine that.”
“We still don’t know to collaborate and cooperate and work on behalf of our people and the development of the nation,” she stated.
She expressed the view that there seems to be reluctance on both sides of the House to give and to compromise, “to put Guyana first— people seem to have in the forefront of their minds, vindictiveness…I find that very unfortunate. We are in a situation where there is a lack of total trust; there is no trust between the Government and Opposition and I think they need to develop a sense of trust for each other and give it a break—give Guyana a break!”
Dr. Harding is still hoping that rather than something, “disruptive” like the No- Confidence motion that will require President Donald Ramotar to call an election, “that some negotiations can take place— some camaraderie could be built between the opposition and the government.”
Not ready for an election
If such a motion can be avoided, “that would be the best thing for Guyana.” “If not, it means you have to call an election and I don’t think the opposition is ready!”
She said the incumbent will always have a higher level to operate on in terms if financing and public interest.
“I am not yet seeing the kind of work being done by the opposition to tell me they are ready to win an election; that they are ready to collaborate with each other; and that if they do collaborate, the nation will choose them over the current government.”
“There won’t be enough money for the opposition. People don’t support them financially, especially the APNU!”
When asked where the opposition parties, particularly, APNU have fallen down, the veteran mental health practitioner opined that the opposition does not really listen to their people on the ground.
“They don’t know how to use the government agencies to get at helping the people in the villages— helping their supporters. Their supporters would tell you how abandoned they feel. You don’t have to be in government to help your people, or to raise the level of performance in the economy!”
Advice for the Opposition
She stated that the opposition has fallen down in appreciating Guyana, and in bringing the wrong things that the government does to a position of, ‘this is how I would do it and this is what needs to be done’.” “No, they will criticise— not in a sense that people can understand— you look at all the Bills and this No-Confidence Motion— where was the cooperation and understanding?” she questioned.
“Look at the Speciality Hospital; Amaila Falls Project; where is it going? What is going to happen? Look at how many workers have been so downtrodden by the system! It is as though corruption starts from the very bottom to the top!”
She questioned as to why the opposition does not become involved in social programmes to ease the chaos that is currently taking place in the Guyanese society, among families, among children and youths. “Can you take education and social programmes into the community to help to raise the levels? How can you make women turn their resources into money, to develop an economically sound life?”
Dr. Harding noted that the opposition has fallen down in that way.
But she also blamed the government for not fostering an attitude of partnership.
“This is not a time for conflict…we cannot afford it in Guyana. We’ve been operating like we’ve been in a war zone for the past 20 or 30 years.”