PPP and PNC are perceived as ethnic parties whether they like it or not

Stabroek News
June 27, 2001

Dear Editor,

Both the governing People's Progressive Party/ Civic and the main opposition People's National Congress/ Reform have proclaimed themselves to be multi ethnic parties with melting pot manifestos. Such a conviction taking into consideration the Guyanese reality can be said to be not only a psychological inconsistency but also a philosophical travesty.

Any elementary reader in philosophy would be introduced to the theory of Representationism, which is one of the principal approaches that seek to bridge the fundamental gap in perspective between the forces of realism and idealism. According to the Representationist theory, external objects are apprehended not directly and immediately but through the cognitions of these objects. These objects transfer their forms to their cognitions, and the cognitions having thus acquired the forms of external objects become their representatives. We have thus a representative perception of objects, and not a direct one. External objects not being perceived directly, are only inferred from their cognitions to which they impart their forms. An accurate compendium of this theory is found in the writings of the English philosopher John Locke; he wrote " The mind knows not things immediately but only by the intervention of ideas it has of them". Hence, the nature of cognition fostered into perception will be the prime instrument of judgment. The history of Guyanese politics is fraught with Machiavellian gloom where the two main parties tug under ethnic images for political power. It has been an experience that has cemented itself into the culture of cognition. The external objects, the political parties have transferred their forms to their cognitions, ethnic imagery and these cognitions (ethnic imagery) have thus acquired the forms of the external objects (political parties). Hence, cognition has been allowed to engulf where the two major ethnic groups have been inextricably linked to the two conflicting political parties. While the study of psychology asserts this phenomenon, the Representationist theory substantiates as well as exposes its irreversibility. It may not be where we would have wanted to be but it is where we are.

At this point, it is necessary for me to re?quote the legendary Mark Twain who wrote the "greatness of a nation lies in its ability to transcend endogenous woes making them into assets to capitalize on". Thus, the wisdom of reality suggests that these two parties lose the ostentation of being of being multi ethnic and accept that they have been sanctioned with ethnic images. Such a development would see the provision of true and coherent representation for the ethnic blocks, a situation that would make far more sense than the present chimera of being multi ethnic.

The confusion and illogic that usually emanates from this "for all" nonsense can be quite laughable. Take the case of the PNC/R, prior to the 2001 elections, Indians were bombarded with the PNC/R's transformatory plans for the rice sector and other issues of significance. Yet, when Mr. Hoyte presented his points of priority to the Government amid obstreperous protests from his party supporters, none were of any relevance to Indians. In the case of the People's Progressive Party/Civic, their incessant efforts to appease the Black community much to the chagrin of their own supporters is nothing short of comical. This myopic display contrary to the thinking of the two main political parties is precisely a key element in the plague of ethnic insecurity that usually manifests itself in all sorts of disturbances, the latest dimension being the emergence of pyromania.

The emasculatory ramifications of this skullduggery continue to sap the economy of its potency. Can a developing country really afford to lose 3 billion dollars in some bizarre pre and post election ritualism? Thus unless there is a capitulation to reality, progress will always be as ephemeral as handwriting in the windy sands of the Sahara.

Yours faithfully,
Amar Panday