OPINION: Young leaders of the smaller parties must be commended for their bold stand for democracy

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The following is an opinion piece by Ryhaan Shah 

In all the contentious wrangling that went on over the past weeks during the recount of the votes cast at the March 2 election, there emerged a very bright ray of hope for Guyana’s future. This hope is embodied in the young political leadership from several of the smaller parties including ANUG, LJP, The Citizenship Initiative, and Change Guyana.

They stood courageously shoulder-to-shoulder on a principled position of upholding democracy and were not ever sucked in by any of the usual partisan, race/ethnic interests that have been the bugbear of Guyana’s politics. They show what we can achieve by acting in unison, and in a principled manner that respects the country’s Constitution and its laws.

Outstanding leaders among them were Lennox Shuman, who displayed a sense of humour that obviously derives from a keen intelligence. Among the others who showed brave leadership were Timothy Jonas, Kian Jabour, Rhonda Ann Lam, and Dr Josh Kanhai, who once commented on the stories he had heard about the PNC dictatorship from his parents and grandparents and had believed that those dark days were behind us.

For Dr Kanhai and many of the youngsters at the frontline, the post-election impasse was a first-hand experience of the very thuggery and corruption that had informed that dictatorship and which we had believed was a chapter of our political history that we would never see again.

With the recount tabulation finalised, we must now hope that the PNC and its collaborators in APNU, the AFC and GECOM will do the right thing by Guyana and concede defeat.

In politics, defeat at the polls is never a matter of shame, disgrace or dishonour. The defeated more often than not deal with the outcome in a positive manner: to assess why they were defeated and to reorganise in order to win the next election.

The PNC, however, appears to be imprisoned by its history and will have to do some serious soul searching in order to bring new direction to the party. Unless it does this, the PNC might well find itself discarded as a contender for any future role in Guyana’s politics.

Going forward, I hope to see these younger faces in leadership roles as Guyana moves into a new era of its development. Whether they will have positions within the Government of President Irfaan Ali or serve within civil society, I hope they will continue to remain as independent and principled voices in Guyana’s politics and will not fall prey to any of the ugly partisanship that lends itself to corruption.

All these young political leaders must be congratulated for their bold and unswerving stand for democracy and for putting our country first. They were a breath of fresh air in what is often a very tired political landscape of the same-old figures and rhetoric, and they must continue to set the example for even our hardened political players to emulate.

Wherever the future takes us all now, they give us every reason to hope that everything will be alright.