Part VIII: Prologue


  1. Many of the previous considerations will apply in reverse to a non-PPP Government faced with the organised hostility of the rurally-based party. Indeed, many of these difficulties will be increased by the nature of the economy with its agricultural base in the countryside and the large pools of unemployed in the cities.

The formation of a UF-PNC coalition government (assuming that such a combination can achieve power) may very well deepen the rift between city and countryside, reverse the trends towards integration even further, and lead to an agricultural crisis of the first magnitude which will have a serious effect on the cities. The combination of governmental weakness and internal discontent will probably result in an increasing dependence on foreign assistance and support (see Appendix II).

The role which external assistance by an interested power will play in such a situation has been amply demonstrated in Asia (South Viet Nam), Latin America (Chile, Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil. etc.), and the Caribbean (Haiti, Jamaica). In many cases it only aggravates the internal problems – it never solves them.

However, these estimations are based upon the assumption that such a coalition (if it can be so called) can acquire administrative power. Short of direct external intervention it is difficult to see how this can be achieved.

Any attempt by the opposition to acquire power by extra-constitutional means will, at least, meet with the same obstacle as in February ’62 – the presence of British troops.

It also seems unlikely that Proportional Representation will be imperially imposed (if only because such an imposition will, of course do much to brighten the tarnished moral reputation of the PPP as an anti-colonial peoples’ movement). On the other hand, any hope that the opposition might have of making an issue of the electoral system at the next (1965?) election is seriously affected by the possibility of the PPP, by that time, being able, on the basis of the present political alignments and demographic trends, to command the support of an absolute majority of the electorate.*

Thus, the only hope that even a united opposition can reasonably entertain of an assumption of power lies in the use of extra-constitutional methods after Independence. In the arena of naked power politics any form of programme becomes a secondary (and sometimes even unwelcome) factor. In Guyana, the seizure of administrative power by such means is the best and quickest way of destroying the national fabric. This paper is based on the assumption that the present leaders are capable of better than this. Thus, excluding the use of force (which, it must be remembered, is a two-edged sword), the same necessity in reverse will face any non-PPP government – the need to achieve a breakthrough into the rural population.

Even the leaders of the opposition do not seem to entertain much hope of this. Their efforts have in the past been primarily aimed at creating dissension within the ranks of the PPP by taking advantage of certain latent (and open) conflicts (racial, religious, class, personal) within the party, seldom at the creation of a programme which will attract some of the PPP elements (rice farmers, sugar workers, middle class, etc.)

But is not this failure the inevitable result of the sectional dependence of the opposition? A dependence which, in opposition, can be used for negative purposes (getting rid of the government), but which, in office, becomes a severe obstacle to any positive action. The very need to maintain the political unity of the heterogeneous (in terms of class interests) group, the very fact of artificial dependence on unhealthy factors trace, religious prejudice, etc.) prevents the group from breaking out of its ethnic cocoon.