Political analysts see parallels in SKN and Guyana election environments

For the first time in Guyana, several political parties across racial lines have formed the country’s biggest-ever coalition called A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU–AFC). Political pundits have described the elections as “historic”, because of the opposition alliance that includes East Indians, Blacks, Amerindians and Douglas (Doo-glas – mixed Black and Indian).

Political analysts have said that in Guyana, race has played prominently in the politics of the country, and the APNU-AFC will be attempting to oust President Donald Ramotar and his 23-year-old ruling People’s Progressive Party at the poles today.

Local political enthusiasts see some parallels with the St. Kitts-Nevis pre-elections environment and the formation of TEAM Unity to unseat the 20-year-old Labour Party Government led by Dr. Denzil Douglas, and the events that unfolded leading up to the February 16 General Elections.

A few of the estimated 5,000 Guyanese have made it home to vote in today’s elections, but many more could not go home to vote because of cost. It brings to mind, some local political analysts say, the large sums of money that some St. Kitts-Nevis political parties spent on air charters to bring voters to the country, especially from the United States of America. Others say that it is unfortunate that so many Guyanese have played a role in the elections of their adopted country, but are unable to participate in their own country’s elections.

It is believed that most Guyanese of African descent will be hoping for a win by the APNU-AFC over the PPP, which is predominantly supported by East Indians, descendants of bonded workers who came from India since the mid 1800s. But, it is a fact that in the 2011 elections, the PPP lost a significant portion of its East Indian base to the APNU-AFC.

President Ramotar faced a Motion of No Confidence (MONC) brought by the coalition opposition after losing the parliament majority. Unlike the MONC situation in St. Kitts and Nevis, where the Labour Government strategized its way, controversially, to a multi-year hold-off in facing the MONC, Guyana’s president bowed to pressure to hold early elections in just a few months after first suspending parliament and drawing heavy criticism from within and outside the country. Would the people of Guyana make a change, as did the people of St. Kitts and Nevis? Many will be following closely on the Internet.

The APNU-AFC coalition seems to be attempting to move the country beyond the racial divides, and it has drawn much support from the youth and minorities in the country.

The Commonwealth, the Carter Center, the OAS and CARICOM are observing the Guyana General Elections.

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