By Michael Younge

The ruling People’s National Congress (PNC)-led A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government is not practising transformative politics and is being managed as a single party as opposed to a multi-party structure in which life is given to the notions of shared governance and political inclusivity.
This is the position of political analyst, Dr David Hinds, who is also an Executive


Dr David Hinds

Member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) party which forms part of the APNU/AFC coalition.
Dr Hinds, speaking with Guyana Times during an exclusive interview on Thursday, insisted that Government was underperforming in certain areas because of the inability of its politicians to properly manage coalition dynamics.
“The overall governance score sheet has also been mixed – strong foreign policy management but too many political errors of judgement in domestic affairs. I think this is due to less than sterling management of coalition dynamics. The biggest error is the overconcentration of political decision making within the Government and trying to manage the coalition as if it were a single-party administration,” he remarked.
Hinds explained that the success of the coalition will depend solely on its ability to modernise its partner by demonstrating a higher level of political maturity when making key decisions that could affect the public’s perception and by extension, the development of the country.

Shared governance
Asked whether he believed that shared governance was still the only answer to Guyana’s political woes, he responded in the positive. That form of governance was largely touted by former President Desmond Hoyte and endorsed to an extent by former PNC/R Leader Robert Corbin when he became Guyana’s Opposition Leader in the early 2000s.
Former Presidents Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan, Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar who sat in the highest seat of power for more than two decades have also accepted from time to time that shared governance appears realistic but it could not work unless those proposing practical structures also proposed feasible initiatives for building political trust and compromise.
Several attempts at working out a formula for shared governance since the early 1990s have failed for one reason or the other.
But Dr Hinds was adamant that it is still the most feasible answer to bridge Guyana’s political impasse.
“But I am concerned about the capacity of our politicians to rise to the occasion. Take for example the mini-shared governance in the form of the coalition. It has not been transformational. There is not a genuine desire on the part of the politicians to share governance – they still take a “dominant-party” mindset into the partnership, which undermines the essence of shared governance. So, you end up with a fragmented Government rather than a partnership based on mutual respect and shared purpose,” he maintained.
Dr Hinds added that “This is now my biggest fear of a PPP-PNC power sharing government. They may go into a power sharing arrangement only to undermine it. But I still think it is our best option for some sort of political stability”.

Building trust
Tackling the issue of building trust, the political scientist laid blame at the feet of both the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the PNC for failing to do all that is possible to set aside their differences and work together for the good of Guyana.
He reasoned that both parties needed to be on the same wavelength.
“The Government has not built trust with the PPP and the PPP has not built trust with the Government. Trust is a two-way process. You cannot build trust with your competitor if they do not want it,” he advised.
He argued that while President David Granger’s attempt at bolstering social cohesion within Guyana’s polarised society is laudable, the entire initiative has turned out to be a gimmick.
“…But cohesion in a society as divided as ours calls for much more imaginative praxis than we have seen from the Government. Government cannot bring about ethnic cohesion, which is really at the heart of social cohesion. The Government has to be a facilitator, but it must be clear what it is facilitating and how it is going to do that. In a sense the social cohesion experiment could have been and should be the foundation upon which power sharing is built. But I don’t think our leaders think about it in such deep terms”, the public commentator also remarked.2020 elections
Dr Hinds called on the coalition to do much more to transform Guyana’s established and seemingly entrenched political culture so that more progress could be had.
“It has attempted to alter the political culture in some areas with minimal success. Frankly, it is difficult to change an entrenched political culture in two and a half years. But I feel, there has not been as robust an attempt in that direction as was expected. Part of it has to do with the fact that the old bureaucracy is still in place and partly due to a lack of coherent vision on the part of the governing coalition which has not shown much inclination for transformative politics,” he stated.
Asked how important the next election which is due in 2020 is, Dr Hinds described it as “another zero-sum election”.
“…It is going to be nasty. The signs are there. The parties are battle ready. The masses have been whipped into line already. I am afraid that it will leave the country more battered and scarred. What is at stake is an oil-wealthy economy which is a politician’s dream – more resources to mismanage in the name of development. I don’t look forward to those elections with much happiness,” he opined.
Dr Hinds’ comments come on the heels of statements made by President David Granger about inclusive governance, working with the PPP, and shared governance. The President’s posture had demonstrated his lack of interest in giving PPP a seat in his coalition Government even though he said he is committed to political dialogue and cooperation and inclusivity.