Henry Jeffrey

Henry Jeffrey

Zimbabwe: a nefarious proposal

In 1972 Julius Nyerere, one of Africa’s iconoclastic leaders, stated that the African position in relation to southern Rhodesia ‘is now, as it has always been, the attainment of independence for Zimbabwe on the basis of majority rule, and under conditions which allow the development of human dignity for all citizens.’ (http://www.juliusnyerere.org/ uploads/after_the_peace_ commission_1972.pdf).

Reminiscence: me and Zimbabwe

The Christmas season is as good as any to indulge in ‘lite’ nostalgic ruminations and what follows in two parts tells the story of a minor event leading up to the political ascendency of Robert Mugabe.

Equality: a requirement for justice

Last week two events were reported that deserve some comment. The first had to do with the case between DIPCON Engineering Limited and the Attorney General (AG) of Guyana before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which the AG, Mr.

The President: assuaging moral anxieties

About a week after President David Granger made his controversial choice of Justice James Patterson as the chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission, which many viewed as signalling the PNCR’s intention to manipulate future elections, he took to the podium to speak to the North American Chapter of the PNCR in Georgia, USA.

AFC: hijacked

Seething with unaddressed grievances, the AFC’s support for President David Granger’s unilateral appointment of the chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission being the final straw, the Canada chapter of that party has temporarily withdrawn its support from it ‘unless and until’ all its grievances are properly addressed.

Bullshit cannot perennially baffle brains

In a lecture at the London School of Economics earlier this month in support of his book ‘Post-Truth: why we have reached peak bullshit and what we can do about it’, Evan Davis, the eminent British journalist,  stated that never has there been more concern about dishonesty in public life and, that, inter alia, people are more susceptible to bullshit that reinforces commitment to their side.

Reasons and sincere reasons

‘The lawfulness of state actors’ decisions frequently depends on the reasons they give to justify their conduct, and a wide range of statutory and constitutional law renders otherwise lawful actions unlawful if they are not justified by reasons or are justified by the wrong reasons’(Mathilde Cohen.

Repositioning a not so `noble idea’

Around midnight on Saturday the 5th of August Varnika Kundu, a 29-year-old female Indian DJ based in Chandigarh alleged that she was involved in a motor car chase with the son of a politician and his friend who tried to abduct her.

Lessons from the Kenyan elections

The decision by the Kenyan Supreme Court to annul the reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta brought back memories of the October 1998 decision by the British House of Lords that stripped the late Chilean President August Pinochet of his immunities and allowed for his arrest to answer for the over 3,000 tortures and deaths that his regime allegedly orchestrated during the 17 years of his dictatorial rule.

‘The pitfalls of ‘changed circumstances’’

On reading the Stabroek News article ‘Democracy is Bureaucracy’ (SN: 18/08/2017), I was again reminded of the need for conceptual clarity as we seek to broaden the scope of political participation for being imprecise could lead to deliberate avoidance or our missing important aspects of the discourse.

An unnecessary media quarrel

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP/C’s pontifications about the need for a free and open media must have elicited if not the vast hilarity coming from his detractors at the very least a timid smile from even his ardent supporters. 

New old stories

This has been an unusually good week for finding issues to comment upon, but apart from joining those celebrating the success of the 2017 STEM Guyana team, I want to focus on two matters.

Class, ethnicity and jail

Last year, when considering the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into the March 2016 prison disturbances in which 17 inmates lost their lives, I made two recommendations having to do with imprisonment and sentencing, which I am following up on here, because I believe they are still important to how our criminal justice system develops and is responded to by those in jail.

Freedom

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Karl Marx’s ‘Das Capital’, and I was invited by the Guyana Peace Council, Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre to make a presentation, “How to translate Capital into meaning for one’s life” at a seminar held last Saturday at National Library in Georgetown.

Lincoln Lewis: reasoning away structures

In 1817, the social theorist, activist and ‘father’ of ‘cooperation’, Robert Owen, was told at the Congress of Sovereigns at Aix-La-Chappelle that the enduring structural contradiction between capital and labour would make it impossible for his idea of cooperativising the world to gain traction.

Jagdeo negotiating under duress

Long conceptual and practical experience has taught me that the vicissitudes of the negotiation process are such that what at first may appear simple can become very complex, requiring an inordinate amount of thought and preparation.

The Elections Commission: Race has no premium

On Sunday 11th June 2017, I read an article in Stabroek News (‘Process to appoint substantive Chancellor, CJ should not be rushed – lawyer’), which convinced me that a substantial number of us suffer from a form of ‘cognitive delusion’: a preoccupation with beliefs about our political system despite the logical absurdity of some of these beliefs and a lack of supporting evidence (Encyclopædia Britannica).