PPP Symposium on Return of Democracy:
1992 elections: “A Psychological revolution for Guyanese”
“A Psychological Revolution for Guyanese”, is how Dr. Roger Luncheon described the victory of the People's Progressive Party/Civic at the October 5th 1992 victory at the polls. The Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary, said that it was a change from the expectation of fear as a policy position of the then Government, to a position of trust and freedom with the new Administration.
The HPS, was at the time a addressing a large gathering at Freedom House, the Headquarters of the PPP/C. Scores of people turned out for the event which marked the 12 th Anniversary of the PPP/C Government winning that election.
He said that was a defining moment that marked the impact of the quality of Guyanese. He called on the Government to do some self-examination. He said this is the time when officials should look back to see the level of expectations set out over a particular time frame.
He said Democracy continues to have a positive impact on the lives of Guyanese. Dr. Luncheon noted the psychology of the overthrow of a dictatorship. He noted that Guyanese were at a loss as regards an administration change in Guyana then.
He opined that Governance is probably the way in which Government's actions have been evaluated. He feels access to Information underpins the Government's commitment to transparency and accountability. He said those guiding principles would be hollow without access to information.
He noted that it still was not easy to identify ways of psychological change. He outlined the impact of access to Information when the national demands were seen and the need for the application of a political will, even with the application of technology to the whole process of access to information.
He highlighted Constitutional reform in the past 12 years as a major success story by any means.
He said the impact of October 5 on additional reforms, especially in the Public Sector, is another evolving success story. He said the trajectory could only be seen with the exercise of Political Will.
He said the PPP/C leaders have a feel of investments made prior to and in October. This identifies the fear factor as Government Policy, which was removed.
“Freedom of expression is one other areas in which we could see the effects of October 5, 1992 ”, he said.
He said the PPP/C can boast of serving the people of Guyana over the last twelve years and beyond, with commitment and dignity.
Earlier in the programme, Party General Secretary, Donald Ramotar said the PPP was virtually alone in its struggles during the period 1964 to 1973. He said every proposal put forward by the PPP during that and other periods, was founded in the fundamentals of free and fair elections, and the recognition of the will of the people.
He said the October 5 general election was the eventual coming together of many forces that fought for democracy.
Ramotar referred to the dilapidated infrastructure that had previously ripped the country. He noted that essential social services were literally destroyed. It was declared in 1974, Ramotar said, that children were leaving school prematurely and the level of illiteracy was high under the PNC.
The international environment had become favorable for change with the crumbling of the Eastern Bloc, the destruction of Apartheid and the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. All these signaled a shift in international tolerance to world situations.
He said the PNC Government felt the pressures then since there could be no social nor economic growth without a democracy. Ramotar referred to the GDP of US$200 per annum. Today, that figure stands at US$900 Per annum.
“The rights that now exist under this democracy, are now being abused by those who sought to prevent the democracy”, Ramotar said. He referred to the existence of ‘mushroom' parties that exist today, whose leaders never entered the struggle. He said the democracy won on October 5 th , 1992 is something worth defending and fighting for.
In his feature address, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds noted that the 1992 elections were the first free and fair ones since Guyana gained independence.
He entrusted Guyana back into a pre independence era to some extent. He said the change occurred perhaps at an unexpected time in the history of Guyana
On October 5 th , 1992 , PPP/C supporters saw the end of an era of being cheated and becoming bitter. The Prime Minister, who formed part of the GUARD movement before being invited by Dr. Cheddi Jagan to be the Prime Ministerial Candidate in the PPP/Civic Alliance, said the elections took a load off the shoulders of PNC supporters, putting an end to their blatant wrong doings.
He said the elections gave Guyana a second chance to address issues such as people's development and nation building. He said it may now be long before normal politics can prevail in Guyana . However, it may not be long before the period of nation building and interrelations manifests itself.
The Symposium marked the beginning of a month of planned activities to mark the return of Democracy in Guyana . Several other programmes are planned across the country.
The symposium was chaired by PPP Executive Member, Mr. Robert Persaud .