In 1992 when the PPP came into office, compliments of the Hoyte/Jimmy Carter formula, they proclaimed loudly locally and abroad that Guyana had experienced a ‘return to democracy.’
It is accepted that the essence is found in a state in which government and the people accept, as non-negotiable, the foundation on which our lives and institutions are built, that is a respect for the wishes of the majority of citizens and their rights, and respect for groups, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, age and gender. The organization of countries over the past century has determined that certain institutions and laws have been fashioned to represent the cardinal principle of respect and regard for that majority.
In every country including former dictatorships, the system of local government is the principal instrument that allows for the manifestation of this principle of democracy. Communities in specific and defined geographic areas are allowed a certain degree of autonomy to elect their local leaders and govern in a general way the affairs of those respective communities. This truly is the best mechanism for what is generally referred to as shared governance. Indeed, our constitution, which the President and ministers swore to uphold is very clear in Articles 9 and 12, and 71-78 where it sets out the methodology for local government, the lynchpin of a democratic society.
When our Head of State therefore comes out against the very idea of shared governance, he does violence to the constitution which he and his ministers swore to uphold. But the greater significance is they brutalize the whole foundation upon which a democracy rests. For me, the way the central government has treated the democratically elected leaders of the city is an unacceptable and unbelievable violation; the time is near to put an end to this charade. Apart from the issues surrounding the acting Town Clerk of Georgetown, we see the government ignoring our established institutions.
Government built a monument for the 1823 Martyrs, ignoring the pleas of the majority; in fact, they did not have the decency or sophistication to invite the Mayor, councilors, among others to this government / PPP event.
What we see in Georgetown is government’s 27% using a lady as their main weapon by ruling over the majority 73%.
Finally, it is clear that the government wishes to create a crisis and force people to take to the streets; based on the nature of our society, they don’t mind what mayhem could take place, because in their calculation, the PPP will benefit politically.
This demands that those who are seriously committed to living in a functional democratic society must now break their silence; this includes all of our religious and commercial organizations.