PPP must develop friendly relations with ABC countries and Diaspora for support on Gecom

PPP must develop friendly relations with ABC countries and Diaspora  for support on Gecom
Photo : Vishnu Bishram
Anti PPP critic GHK Lall writes that PPP efforts at appealing for foreign friends (governments and activists in the diaspora) to assist it in the campaign to pressure President Granger  to rescind his unilaterally chosen appointee and to appoint its (PPP) nominee as Gecom Chair  "will come up empty”  because of (PPP) past sins at disrespecting other governments and its own supporters in the diaspora, inexplicably, PPP did attack several of its own activists who fought for restoration of democracy. But PPP effort at overseas lobbying can succeed if the PPP does  all the right things to win over foreign governments and if it works closely with respected activists in the diaspora who can lobby their governments to pressure the PNC led government to take measures that will guarantee a free and fair election. If the PPP continues with business as usual  (attacking other governments) and if it continues to embrace discredited leadership of some of its support groups in the greater NYC area, then it will not succeed at making a comeback in government.
 
The PPP erred in attacking the US and Britain in the last five years of its governance. Bharrat Jagdeo recognized this error and has been courting the ABC countries. The attack turned the US, Britain and even Canada against the PPP.  These governments may not be sympathetic with the PPP for  attacking them. But they can change course if PPP  tenders an apology and or befriends them .as Jagdeo has embarked on doing.
 
It is well established that a few discredited figures of PPP support groups in the NY area are the principal reason for the party losing tremendous support in the US and by extension in Guyana -- in short the government. The party needs to heed the lesson from that experience if it wants to improve its chance at winning government. The PPP must distance itself from these failed characters. The party leadership knows the failed and discredited characters and should stay far from them. It should embrace those activists who have  consistently advocated for political empowerment for supporters groups. The leadership has to watch those who are wiggling their way back in being close to Jagdeo.
 
In order to successful at its mission at getting a neutral person to serve as Gecom Chair,  the PPP must come up with a credible action plan to appeal to foreign governments as well the diaspora to lobby their governments (politicians) to support the PPP’s legalistic and moralistic position on the appointment of a Gecom Chair and to condemn Granger for acting unilaterally. This was successfully done during the early 1990s and it can be repeated now with all the right moves.
It is noted that activists in the diaspora responded to an appeal to assist with restoration of democratic rule during the period of the PNC dictatorship (1966 thru 1992). The activists played a critical role in the struggle (1967 thru 1992) for free and fair elections. But they were cast aside (especially after Dr. Jagan’s death) following the PPP’s ascension to office.  In fact, the activists in the diaspora were treated very badly resulting in many leaving the PPP and joining other parties that eventually led to the defeat of the PPP.
 
Will the diaspora activists respond to any new PPP appeal to join an international effort to get its nominee appointed as Gecom Chair and to enjoin the campaign to secure free and fair elections? There has not been much enthusiasm for that urgent plea among the diaspora. In fact, a largely Guyanese grouping coined International Committee for Democracy (ICD) was launched last September to champion the cause of democracy. There was a huge turnout at the largely free (black tie) affair at a posh (Italian) catering hall. But since the event, there has been little activism or zeal championing democratic governance in Guyana. And there has not been any lobbying or sensitizing of American politicians about challenges facing democracy and holding of free and fair elections in Guyana. Even political commentators have not committed to the struggle with literary contributions. The fervor that existed during the anti-dictatorial struggle is completely missing.  The diaspora simply don’t trust political figures any more.  Only a few of us (not affiliated with the PPP or ICD) are consistently involved in political activism in the US to champion the community’s issues.  But it is unlikely any of us will respond to appeals to rescue Guyana from a creeping dictatorship.  People have not forgotten that they were  ill treated.
 
Given that the PPP attacked the ABC countries during its tenure in office, it is unlikely the ABC countries would be sympathetic to any pleas to assure free and fair elections in Guyana? The ABC countries seemingly have taken a hands off approach on the Gecom appointment controversy as opposed to 1992 when they demanded free and fair elections in an activist approach. It was the ABC countries that guaranteed free and fair elections in 1992 that led to PPP ascension in office. But some political figures did (do) not appreciate the contribution of the ABC countries in strengthening our democracy or making it possible for PPP to return to government. And they proceeded to attack the US unconcerned about the consequences of their actions. And not surprisingly, the PPP was effectively removed from office.
 
The PPP has not expressed regrets for its anti-American tirade of 2014. And for this reason alone, it is unlikely that the PPP can make a successful political comeback. But Hagdeo has not support an anti- American position. And the US has been known to be forgiving, America could come around to supporting free and fair elections if all the right moves are made by the political opposition. It is noted that after toppling the PPP in 1953 and putting the PNC in office for 28 years, the US (or ABC) proceeded to remove the PNC in 1992. Then the US took a conscious policy decision that the PPP had to be removed from office in 2015 resulting in the PNC led coalition being installed into office.  There can be a change in US position again (to support democratic elections) if the PPP does all the right things. The PPP has to show that it has reformed itself and is open to outside ideas. And it must be willing to embrace the U.S and Guyanese Americans who are eager to build closer relations between the two countries. This will put the PPP in the good book of the US.