1980 constitution requires a different incentive structure

Dear Editor,

I am extremely disappointed by this letter by the former president `The Constitution must be adhered to, not reformed’ in yesterday’s Stabroek News. President Ramotar is trying to convince us that the PPP and PNC have not been involved in a conflict over the control of economic resources since the mid-1950s. I find it very hard to support the PPP when I read this kind of non-intellectual letter from Mr Ramotar or Mr Jagdeo’s audacious defence last week of Mr Raj Singh in Richmond Hill, Queens. The PPP and PNC are engaged in a conflict to control the executive – from which flows privileges and economic rents for their family, political friends and ethnic kin. Many examples exist in the post-1992 period supporting my contention. The PPP supports power sharing in Parliament, but the PPP has shown little regard for the committees that were created after the Herdmanston Accord. Similarly, when they were in opposition, the AFC and PNC disregarded these committees as well because the prize is the executive, the prados, the privileges and the access to contracts. It was only the small party, ROAR, which used its committee power to get to the bottom of the problems at GuySuCo in those days.

Mr Ramotar wants us to believe that the PPP is and has been a model of forbearance. As for the PNC, forbearance did not exist when it was in opposition. The PNC made it clear that the prize is to capture the executive. Let’s look at some recent examples in the post-1992 era: (i) Hoyte called to make the country ungovernable; (ii) the latter created all kinds of monsters to which the PPP responded with extra-institutional measures; (iii) Mr Jagdeo said he was creating a new private sector with the backing of state contracts and support in an ethnically divided country; (iv) the AFC and PNC used the no-confidence measure and a strategy of complete resistance in parliament to undermine the PPP government; (v) the AFC and PNC did not utilize the parliamentary committees (to them the prize has always been the executive, prados, privileges and contracts); (vi) Mr Jagdeo created immense confusion by proposing a NCV when he could have waited 18 months for election; (vii) Mr Jagdeo with the support of special interests tried to undermine the term limits in the constitution; (ix) shall we get into the nepotism under the PPP? (x) Forbearance is thrown out because the pro-ethnic voting means the ethnic base must be rewarded disproportionally and the other side must lose disproportionately.

You really cannot have the kind of forbearance with the present constitution. The 1980 constitution requir-es a different incentive structure. The pro-ethnic voting also means the government of the day is not legitimate to the losing side.

Yours faithfully,

Tarron Khemraj

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