Jan 31, 2017 Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon


The Democrats must be still in shock. Someone like Trump won the elections because they were too blind to see that what people expected of them they didn’t deliver. The mistakes the Democrats made in the US are the identical one (not similar but identical) the Coalition leaders are making in Guyana. The AFC election results tell the story of why Trump succeeded.
The medieval philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that everything in life has an explanation and there isn’t anything in life that you can just say exists and is beyond explanation. So there have to be reasons for some of the upsets that took place in the AFC elections. When we look at the race for leader of the party, then Trotman had to win if Ramjattan lost because they were only two contestants. What would have happened if it was a five person race?
The results indicated that the AFC delegates were not satisfied with the politics and performance of the AFC after it entered government and they wanted a change of the high-profile party leaders. The two biggest upsets were the defeat of the incumbent General-Secretary, Minister David Patterson by someone far less known than him in the entire country and the top place Imran Khan secured in the contest to be on the national executive. He came out on top with 134 votes against 104 for the Prime Minister.
Can you compare the image of Moses Nagamootoo with Imran Khan? Khan came to Guyanese politics in the election campaign of 2015 and his role was public relations so he didn’t take to the platform. I spoke about 30 meetings and I never saw Khan speaking at any, so he was not exposed to the public. Why, with just two years of exposure did he secure more ballots than the PM and Minister Pattterson? Why Patterson received less votes than Michael Carrington?
The explanation is that AFC members wanted a change in the party leaders because they felt that their Ministers did not project and are not projecting the AFC’s face in the exercise of power. In the nominations by Region 4 delegates to contest the leader and chairman positions, the PM did not fare well. In fact he did not secure a nomination. How do you explain the Prime Minister not getting sufficient votes among Region 4 delegates to contest the top spots?
It has to do with how AFC members see the role of the Prime Minister. For most people in Guyana after the 2015 results, the Prime Minister would have been like a co-president with Mr. Granger. With every passing day, the PM appears to be a person without substantial power. I believe AFC members see this as a failure by both the PM and the AFC. They voiced their disgust at that by how they voted.
If you ask the average person in Guyana who is Marlon Williams, they will tell you they don’t know. Williams managed more than 40 ballots than Minister Patterson to clinch the position of General-Secretary. If you ask the average Guyanese who is Joel Edmund, they will tell you they don’t know, yet Edmund brought 6th place in the race for a position in the 12 person executive committee with a mere 8 votes less than Minister Patterson. Edmund got 20 votes more than the well know AFC executive Beverly Alert who is the head of GINA and former parliamentarian, Trevor Williams who is in charge of the Leonora athletic track. Newcomer Sherod Duncan pulled more votes than both Alert and Trevor Williams. He was number 8. Duncan was not involved in the national elections. He came into the AFC’s system during the local government poll.
What then explains the defeat of Ramjattan and Patterson, the poor showing of Nagamooto and Alert and the rise of the newcomers – Marlon Williams, Imran Khan, Joel Edmund, Sherod Duncan among others? The answer is straightforward – AFC members wanted new faces and they had a reason. They lost faith in the incumbents whom they felt had not injected into their use of power, the core values of the AFC. Interestingly, some Ministers did not contest including Business Minister Gaskin and Agriculture Minister Holder. So you have two AFC Ministers who are not in their party’s leadership.
Would the AFC agree with this analysis here? If they don’t then I believe they would go on to make the same mistakes. But this is the way of the world. Humans do not learn from their mistakes, especially politicians. Because of that flaw in humans, the world now has Donald Trump.