Nov 05, 2019
Dr. Mark Kirton is the consultant to the APNU election campaign. Mark and I have been friends for more than forty years. He is a well-read academic. Aubrey Norton, Vincent Alexander and Kirton are possessed of strong, analytical skills.
Norton sits in the PNC’s hierarchy and along with Kirton will be intimately involved in the shape of the PNC’s electoral energies. Alexander, though not officially linked to the PNC’s campaign bandwagon, will no doubt be sought out by every PNC bigwig on strategy.
My question to all three men is; using your profound knowledge of Guyanese politics, where in the entire territory of Guyana are the votes for the AFC coming from in the 2020 contest?
Let us start with David Hinds’ revelation. David said that he, along with other WPA personnel, held a series of meeting in African districts and the distinct impression he got was that there are African Guyanese who will vote for APNU out of support for what the WPA stands for. In other words, WPA will bring in votes from WPA supporters and they are located in several African villages.
Let’s look at Lenox Shuman. He is an Amerindian who formed a political party without the name Amerindian being in the title. But everyone knows if his party contests next year, then most of his votes will come from the places in Guyana where Amerindians live and work.
Given our historical racial demarcations, Indians and Africans will vote for the two big ethnic edifices. I am asking these three gentlemen to educate me and the Guyanese people by providing us with their knowledge of electoral demographics.
Are there African Guyanese in the ten Regions that will cast a ballot for the AFC with the same mental attitude that David Hinds described? To repeat; Hinds wrote that there are Black Guyanese who are not PNC supporters but will vote for the united slate of APNU+AFC because they embrace what WPA stands for.
Will there be Black Guyanese that will cast an X for APNU+AFC but will be doing so out of embrace for the AFC and not the PNC as in the scenario that David described? If the answer is yes, where are these people located? In Georgetown that has a very large African electorate? Will Linden go for the AFC as distinct from the PNC? Are Black villages in Berbice like Leeds, Liverpool, Ithaca, more inclined to vote for APNU+AFC because of the presence of the AFC?
If the answer is yes, then why is the preference for the AFC that has an Indian leader and not the PNC? What attracts them to the AFC more than the PNC?
I see nothing in 2019 that indicated a handsome return for APNU+AFC in 2020 because Afro-Guyanese are equally divided in their loyalty to both parties in the coalition. My analytical take is that when Trotman and Ramjattan entered a huge battle for the presidential candidacy of the 2011 election and Trotman lost out, Afro-Guyanese perceived the AFC to be more Indian than multi-racial. In fact, ex-ROAR activists had flocked to the AFC. And Indian businessmen literally financed the 2011 campaign.
From 2014, it was fair to say that because of the 2011 showing for the AFC in Berbice and in many Indian districts across Guyana, the AFC had solid backing of Indians. My question to Kirton, Norton and Alexander is; do Indian people still support the AFC?
The 2015 station by station results released by GECOM tell an interesting story. Nagamootoo and Ramjattan lost significantly in their home villages. In Indian areas throughout Guyana, the showing for the AFC had diminished substantially.
We cannot know if Linden and other African districts voted for the AFC, because APNU and AFC did not contest separately, but here is what the 2015 GECOM publication revealed. In all areas where Africans live, the APNU+AFC coalition did better than the PPP. In all areas where Indians live, APNU+AFC did not outpoll the PPP.
What are we to make of the results of 2020? First internal surveys are being done by both PPP and PNC and they are keeping quiet on the results; none show a majority rule. These internal surveys show a big win for APNU in areas where African Guyanese live and victory for the PPP where Indians reside.
So the question that my three friends should answer in the configuration of things is; where does the AFC stand? How much electoral value will the AFC have in 2020? What percentage does my three friends give them in the overall totality of votes for APNU+AFC?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)