Consensual democracy and the judiciary

The focus of this column is upon the judiciary and it is important to note that an essential chapter in the playbook of the modern autocrat – Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – is to insidiously install loyalists in this institution (How Democracies Fall Apart: Foreign Affairs, 05/12/2016). Of course, control of the judiciary is an essential feature of all autocracies and by way of electoral manipulations over thirty years to 1992, the PNC had control of the executive and legislature, which was bequeathed it by our pre-republican Westminster constitution,  and the judiciary was a pawn in its hands. So much so that positive decisions such as that which occurred in the 1979 Seeram Teemal case, in which the court decided that the withdrawal of an increment given to the sugar worker was illegal, are still revered.

The, PPP/C came to government and found a weakened but not particularly supportive judiciary that soon vitiated the presidency of the late Janet Jagan and set the PPP/C firmly on the road trying to politically dominate society. As with the PNC, the PPP/C had constitutional control over the executive and the legislature and knew that it had to have, at the very least, significant influence over the judiciary if it was to achieve its goal. Quite unwittingly I believe, the PNC substantially aided that party in accomplishing its task by allowing it considerable leverage over the higher echelons of the judiciary and thus the judiciary itself. I make these points because it appears to me that the stage is set for a recurrence of the latter process!

Understandably, given its aim the PPP/C wanted ….


Nandlall’s flawed political theorizing

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall claimed that ‘With each passing day, the Constitution of Guyana becomes a greater obstacle to President David Granger.

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Fossil fuels: in danger of losing our way

On 8th February 2018, the same day the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX) began and the vice president of ExxonMobil, Lisa Waters, was playing up the need for world economic growth to help the poor, an article by Ted Nordhaus was published in the influential Foreign Affairs magazine entitled The Two-Degree Delusion: The Dangers of an Unrealistic Climate Change Target (FA: 08/02/18), in which he said something similar but suggested that social development  will be better achieved if we liberate fossil fuels and oil and gas in particular from the strictures placed upon them by the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris.

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Rising to a fairer democratic level

Below are some important parts of a statement taken from a letter by former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds (KN: 02/02/2018), intended partly to place the blame for the violence that took place between 1998 and 2008 on the PNCR and its supporters, which came at a opportune time for this closing contribution on an alternative form of government for Guyana.

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Consensual democracy and devolution

In Federalism by any other name…: (SN: 12/6/2013) I said ‘I think that with the following statement by Mr.

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Democratising political parties

‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

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