There is nothing of comfort to take away from our survey. Even though the responses are not very surprising they are a depressing confirmation about how split the country remains three months after the elections.
(Yes we acknowledge it may be unscientific, with 524 online responses but the results are so clear that we can safely say it captures the current mood of the nation.)
Almost all the blame for the stark division must be placed at Freedom House’s front door. Before the elections they unleashed a barrage of dangerously racially charged rhetoric from Jagdeo’s “coolie” remarks, through Nandlall warning supporters “the Devil coming” to Luncheon saying if Granger wins “we have to drink some gramoxone together” . We are still waiting on him to go first.
And instead of accepting defeat they have kept right on going, charging the “de facto” government with “ethnic cleansing”, and made hay out of every crime incident and the slowdown in the economy that their get rich quick policies helped to precipitate. All the while they have refused to go to Parliament amid filing a evidence light election petition.
But enough of them. They are irredeemable for now.
One does hold out hope that the Granger administration is still responsive to public opinion. One such opinion from the survey is that even among its own supporters less than half agree they have been successful at improving race relations. (Of course the number is 17% for the PPP voters) And while it is early days and there is a Minister of Social Cohesion the responsibility for at least addressing this long running fissure in an abstract manner and within the historical context falls on the President just as in America Obama has spoken out thoughtfully in recent years about race issues as a way of helping people to understand.
That said we are not sure Granger ever will. In an interview for an article in Foreign Policy magazine he told Gaiutra Bahadur:”People have spoken about truth and reconciliation…I always tell them that the truth doesn’t always bring reconciliation. You can discover the truth about something, but it doesn’t always mean that you’re reconciled to the perpetrators of misdeeds. Sometimes, it can do more damage.”