Hold referendum to inform constitutional changes before next elections

Dear Editor,

Everyone agrees that there is the need for constitutional changes and I think that to proceed to the next general elections we need to address this all-important concept before holding elections- it’s about time!

That is why, once the present government can agree, elections should be delayed and Mr. Granger should be entrusted to bring the necessary constitutional changes we need, by involving the people of our Republic in such a project. I have no doubt that Mr. Granger would be the best leader to oversee the urgent need for constitutional changes.

Editor, in bringing about changes, we should look at California and the concept of propositions in special ballots where referendum politics are the name of the game. Thus, in Guyana, to involve the people’s will, we  can hold a special referendum with direct no/yes answers to multiple propositions on the same ballot, with each proposition requiring verifiable signatures-maybe 20,000 persons to make the ballot. So, for example, one question that could be on the ballot is the question on “dual citizenship”, so the question could be phrased as such: “Should  Guyanese citizens with dual citizenship be allowed to be elected to any office including the Presidency and any other office in the Republic ?”- No or Yes. Another proposition that could reach this special ballot might be: “Should our Republic keep the 10 regions concept or go back to the 3 regions concept of Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo?”- No or Yes. Another proposition which could be presented: “Should a no-confidence vote against a sitting government be eliminated from our constitution?” No or Yes.

This referendum itself would depend  on a revised house-to-house voters list and would ensure that no chicanery can occur to taint the outcome and to satisfy all citizens of fairness and  “above board” checks and balances. 

Editor, such a referendum involving the will of our citizens, will be free of racial voting patterns and instead be issue-based; so current politicians might find themselves advocating for each proposition beyond “party lines” and campaign on issues, instead of ideology and racial inclinations. Of course, the current government and all opposition forces would have to agree to implement whatever proposition is voted for in excess of 50% – as that becomes the fixed laws of our constitution and would govern the future direction of our dear Republic.

Instead of rushing to another election because of Charrandass’ betrayal of a flawed part of our constitution- an election which will bring national tension and more racial voting patterns – let us all seek an issue-based referendum with ideas and concepts which will bypass deep racial and ideological rifts in our Republic and most importantly, will start the vital process of unity of purpose and strength in preparing for the wealth which God is granting us to have a good life, especially for our children.

Yours faithfully,

Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)

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