There is no way around a need for compromise
May 13, 2002
Letters on politics
The continued polarization of the two major parties has precipitated a dangerous level of mistrust, most likely to be symbolized by violence, as has been the pattern in the past. In my readings I came across an excellent summation of the ills of party polarization and mistrust, in a working paper by Mr. David C. King, 'The Polarization of American Political Parties and Mistrust of Government' (see link at end of quote). "...Inflexible partisanship is corrosive within electorates and legislatures. Of course parties play a crucial role in democracies as political intermediaries, and we want them to be responsible by announcing proposals and then delivering on them. However, the art of politics is the art of compromise, and strange bedfellows coalitions tend to make better laws (easier to implement, more widely supported, and more likely to stand constitutional tests) than strict and homogeneous party coalitions. This is especially important in policy areas with highly heterogeneous constituents and interests. Partisanship is too often a barrier to strange bedfellows coalitions...". Available: JFK School of Government Harvard University" The Polarization of American Political Parties and Mistrust of Government by David C. King.
There is no way around the necessity for compromise between the two parties, since neither can lay claim to an overwhelming majority in the halls of power. While the PPP/C can trumpet their constitutional power, endowed by their strong ethnic majority, the PNC/Reform power base is strategically placed in the public service and, most importantly, the security forces.
The interdependence between these two factions is however best exhibited in the economic arrangement that has crystallized over the decades, with one grouping being predominantly the supplier of goods and services, while the other controls the demand.
It is therefore foolhardy and even confrontational for one group to label the other 'terroristic' (whether they believe it to be true or not), and the other to refuse to engage in the only democratic option available, and that is to have meaningful dialogue. Both parties are in fact rapidly moving along the road that says, "...It's my way or no way...". Indeed, the mere destruction of the constitutional process through the negation of its brightest symbol, the Parliament, is in itself an affront to the people. The Parliament represents the only official voice of all Guyanese and should not be trivialized or made meaningless by the actions of a few. Continuing on this track therefore says to the people of Guyana, "We are not prepared to make the democratic institutions and processes work, at all cost", but that they should, "be prepared to fight" for this elusive thing called power.
The political leadership has been placed in a responsible position and it is rapidly contributing to the social and moral decay of the society, by behaving in every manner but responsible. Neither party can lay claim to an unblemished legacy and finger pointing would not help. The solution lies in the peaceful return to a state of coexistence.
Merrill Hyman Sr.