Deep in the imbroglio caused by the President’s unilateral, unconstitutional appointment of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman and facing widespread protest and consternation, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) is unflinching in its dictatorial posture. It has increasingly become more brazen and daring in proclaiming its dictatorial credentials. It has the DNA credentials already, having been born out of the belly of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and inspired by Forbes Burnham. Since its assumption of Government in May 2015, the APNU/AFC has deliberately and daringly emblazoned its dictatorial credentials in a way to leave no doubt. Like a centipede, its dictatorial feet keep increasing.This week, the AFC-Canada group delinked itself from the AFC over its total immersion into the PNC, with its latest capitulation being the unilateral appointment of GECOM’s chair. The AFC’s response to AFC-Canada is “drop dead” – the AFC made it clear there is no reconsideration of its support to President Granger’s constitutional malpractice. Only dictators behave this way.Last week, the Business Minister chastised the Private Sector, warning them to desist from political discourse in Guyana. Gaskin edict is that political discourse is not the business of the Private Sector. He warned them to “shut up”. Gaskin told the Private Sector they must invest in the economy, without the right to question. This is not just ridiculous, not just obscene, it is frightening. It is an open threat that the Private Sector will be blacklisted unless they jump on the train. For Gaskin and APNU/AFC, it is politically correct to criticise the People’s Progressive Party, but when it comes to APNU/AFC and how it runs the Government, the Private Sector must be silent, or else.Politics is the Private Sector’s business, since a politically unstable country is a threat to the investment of the Private Sector. Business growth is directly related to the political milieu of a country. The Private Sector cannot afford to be silent in the face of dictatorship, non-transparency and non-accountability. It is for this reason that in every country in the world, there is an organised Private Sector, organisations that represent the interest and welfare of the people who invest in the development of their country. The Private Sector of Guyana has seen or knows of the debilitating consequences of dictatorship. The Private Sector was virtually hobbled and almost disappeared in the period 1964 to 1992 because of the dictatorial rule of the PNC years, during which they were expected to be silent.The Private Sector has grown by many magnitudes since 1992. It has actually kept Guyana’s economy from drowning in the incompetence, visionless, corrupt governance since May 2015. It is the Private Sector that continues to invest and sustain the service, rice, manufacturing, mining, constructing and other industries. Almost all of Guyana’s import earnings are because of the investment of the Private Sector. They have earned the right to speak out and to be engaged in the political discourse of the country. Indeed, they have a right and an obligation to join in the coalition of stakeholders holding the Government transparent and accountable. This is what a democracy is. Minister Gaskin’s admonition of the Private Sector is eerily chilling, in the image and spirit of Forbes Burnham when the Private Sector permitted their co-option in the complete usurpation of the political rights of all citizens.The co-option of stakeholders in the evil expansion of authoritarianism is a classic strategy of all dictators. Guyana is no stranger to this phenomenon. We sadly experienced this between 1968 and 1992. We have been there, done that and we know the consequences. In that period, the public service, trade unions, the business community, religious entities, sports organisations, the media, were expected to stay in line and “follow the leader”. Speaking out then meant you were risking discrimination, intimidation and even death.The political co-option is in full swing in Guyana today. It is either you are with APNU/AFC or you are against them. It is sad to see the Working People’s Alliance fully co-opted and fully integrated into the PNC today. It is depressing to see how the AFC and its leaders, like Trotman, Nagamootoo, Ramjattan and Patterson have completely fallen in line. It is chilling to see a free media hobbling, some of them becoming mouth pieces of APNU/AFC. This is what dictators do. The fight for a free Guyana is in full swing because a dictatorship is fully in place.