Activist Don Singh says ‘real change’ possible with the PPP
By Bibi Khatoon
Prominent activist Don Singh who has been on the frontline of the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) said he has joined the Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic to make a “real change” in Guyana.
“I realise if you sit on the fence long enough, you’ll get splinters,” Singh told the News Room during an interview Tuesday.
“I looked around and I see a creeping dictatorship and I decided, I called the Leader of the Opposition’s office, they invited me to come down and I had three or four meetings with the leadership of the PPP and I liked what I heard and decided to go that way,” Singh noted.
Prior to being with the MAPM, Singh was also a member of the civil society group, RISE which was pushing for Constitutional Reform.
Believing that he has a lot of new ideas and independent thoughts for the development of Guyana, Singh said that he can only make a valuable change by being a part of a political party.
According to Singh, being independent does not evoke the magnitude of change persons are striving for.
“You can go on Facebook and rant and rave, you can go on all social media and vent but if you’re not a part of the system, if you’re not a part of a being, of a structured way of getting your ideas and thoughts across, you’re just on the road alone holding a placard in the sun for years and years,” he said.
Singh is known for protesting in Guyana and other than his involvement in the MAPM, he also joined protestors calling for an end to constant blackouts which plagued Guyanese, the removal of the “sedition clause” in the Cyber Crime Bill in 2018 and more recently, for the respect of the Constitution of Guyana.
Asked why he did not choose a smaller political party such as A New and United Guyana (ANUG) or the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Singh said: “As the AFC (Alliance For Change) has taught us, there is no third party left.”
The AFC was formed before the 2006 elections and grew to become a major third party within the local political arena, however, in 2015, the AFC joined with the PNC led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU which went on to win the general elections that year.
“They have in the history of Guyana all sold us out, AFC being the latest one. We put them there to guard against what we are currently facing and they failed miserably,” Singh said.
The activist said the next election will be “PNC, PPP so it will be a waste of time to once again sit on the fence with a third party.”
The PPP when in Government, was heavily criticized for some of its decisions but Singh feels “they’ve realised that the arrogance of the past perhaps, the things they have done [disconnected them] from the people.”
According to Singh, during engagements with the party’s top brass, his ideas were welcomed.
“I think I bring a civil society component that is missing from them and that’s how the civic is because I enquired about the civic and its structure…it is very loosely-knit,” he added.
As part of the civic component of the PPP, the activist hopes to push for increased payments for nurses and police officers and constitutional reform.
“It is about connecting with the people and getting back to the…grassroots, what puts food in people’s pots, what about a nurse making $85,000 per month. It’s about police –you telling them don’t take a bribe but you pay them $75,000 per month –it is getting back to looking at ways and structures and means of getting tangible things to the real people,” he said.
The next General and Regional elections is set for March 02, 2020 and Singh affirmed that he will be on the PPP’s campaign trail.
In recent weeks, the MAPM protests which called on the Government to resign were joined by members and supporters of the PPP.
The civil society group in a statement on Monday said the alignment of one of its leaders with the PPP does not mean that the entire group supports that political party.
In fact, the MAPM said such an assumption is “ludicrous and nothing short of mischievous.”
Singh told the News Room that the MAPM has members of all political parties.