Uncharted waters of constitutional crisis truly on us, President Granger must act

Dear Editor,

Late as it is, hopeless as it now seems, I will not let be dashed, my hope in our Guyanese people and the better future we could be creating.

The unchartered waters of a Constitutional Crisis are truly on us. Our Ministers are no longer claiming that they are meeting as a Cabinet: first, themselves calling their meeting a caucus then soon after a plenary speaks loudly about the unchartered waters we are already in: we are already in confusion. There are strong indications that Guyana would face various sanctions after March 21, 2019: those sanctions with which Guyana was threatened in 2014 must once again be avoided.

 Our Leader of the Opposition is not the one steering our Guyana ship, he cannot avoid the Constitutional Crisis: he can only rail against it.

It is our President and Prime Minister, their advisers and supporters who can still steer us away from it.  We must call on our President and Prime Minister to be valiant and valorous. Return themselves to their initial positions within the first 24 hrs of the passage of the NCM. 

Prevail on our Prime Minister to return to his words then, “We want our supporters in particular … to understand that we are going back to the polls…. Guyanese must understand that the democratic process is sometimes unpredictable.  You may have results that are not planned for…. But the outcome has to be accepted… It is like cricket in some sense, what happened here today, a game of glorious uncertainty.”

Prevail on our President to return to his statement issued the following morning,

“We will do everything necessary to facilitate the smooth functioning of General and Regional Elections bearing in mind the need for normal governmental functions to continue uninterrupted.”

Our Leader of the Opposition approached the Honourable Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, for an early meeting, the Government having fallen, to work things out in some harmony. Those initial responses gave hope that the NCM needed not be a calamity, a disaster, but presented an opportunity for steps to a greater maturity in our politics; a perceived bad thing that might bring good results.

The reversed positions of our President and Prime Minister have not brought them any glory. The Speaker pushed did not budge, could not but and did reassert his ruling that the NCM stood; and our Chief Justice issued a judgment overwhelmingly judged sound. The Chief Justice’s NCM ruling seems to be slowly and grudgingly accepted by the Government. According to the Guyana Chronicle of Tuesday, March 12, 2019, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan had sought to assure the public that in keeping with the Chief Justice’s ruling, Cabinet has resigned but Government continues to function. Perhaps it had to be this way, to provide examples that in this sixth or seventh decade of ethno-political insecurities, there be amongst us persons who would persevere in walking the straight path and we may trust ourselves to expectations of fair play.

And when we think and note that the conflagrations that I feared would have followed after the passage of the NCM have not unfolded, we must wonder whether our people are not changing, and whether there are not possibilities for us politicians to develop new approaches. 

In his book on “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” the Management guru, Peter Drucker, points out that the occurrence of unexpected things whether failures or successes must cause us to question our old assumptions: their period of validity is ending. Discern and come to terms with the change! Look for the new opportunities! Seize the opportunities! Innovate!

Mr. President, let us go forward, name the date, let the campaigns begin, everyone campaigning on the basis of the next realistic steps they can and will take were they privileged to win, to grow and develop Guyanese and Guyana, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

Yours faithfully,

Samuel A.A. Hinds

Former President and former

Prime Minister

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