On the issue of local government financing, the May 6th 2003 constructive engagement agreement between President Bharrat Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition Mr.
The local government reforms of 2013 appear grounded in what Desmond Hoyte pejoratively referred to as “local government per se” (reforming local government for reform’s sake), and in this spirit I will begin this examination of the Bills that were recently passed by the National Assembly but are still to be assented to by the president.
Given our long association with local government, the idea that it is a good in itself comes naturally and so the temptation to believe that any working system of local democracy is better than none is ever present.
The nature of the local government system of a country largely depends on the ideological orientation of those responsible for its establishment.
Whatever gave President Donald Ramotar the occasion, during his opening presentation to the 30th Congress of the PPP, to rail against shared governance, I believe the fact that he has done so requires some immediate attention and is a good enough reason for me again to defer my continued discourse on local government.
It is regrettable when a group of young people attempt a venture that they believe will further their interests and the responsible government ministry, having been invited and expected, fails to show up.
I began this discourse on local government reform with the contention that elitist behaviour in this kind of matter has not served us well, and the events in the National Assembly last Thursday have reinforced this.
Our local government system has its roots in the immediate post-emancipation period when the new freedmen sought social and economic liberation from the plantocracy by purchasing plantations and forming independent villages.
The PPP/C appears set upon a course of outdoing the PNC in negative accomplishments.
The single issue over which all Guyanese, and more so all opposition supporters, should unite and forcefully and immediately seek to remove is the constitutional provision that gives the presidency and its not inconsiderable trappings to the party with the largest plurality, and makes it possible for someone to become the president even if his party secures less than 20% of the votes at a general election.
Let us not fool ourselves, all things remaining equal, and taking into account the outcome of the 2011 general elections, for the PPP/C to lose the executive at the next general elections, at the very least APNU cannot lose a significant number of votes to the AFC, and will have to take more than 15% more votes from the PPP/C.
Recently, the leadership of APNU has been coming in for some all-round battering, largely I believe because it has not developed and/or has not been able to transmit an acceptable vision of the future, and its political antics have left many confused and with the belief that the party is comfortable with its new parliamentary stature.
I think that with the following statement by Mr. Ravi Dev, the discourse between us about the relevance of federalism to Guyana has come to an end.
The notion that states should seek to increase the happiness of their citizens dates back to before the British philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) told us that: “The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty.
We are now in our 48th year of independence and the most cursory analysis of our dailies will leave us in no doubt that, notwithstanding the claims that we have made significant progress since 1966, and particularly since 1992, for many, Guyana is a very unhappy place.
Half a century ago, with the intention of hurting the economy, the PPP began burning cane fields to make its political point.
Perhaps because I came to federalism by way of my undergraduate study of US government in the 1960s, when state rights was the cry of every racist bigot in the Southern states of the USA, and in one form or another the federal government had to continuously intervene to protect the rights of African Americans, I do not have much faith in federalism’s capacity to play a positive role in the drive for sensible ethnic living in divided societies.
It is not very useful to accuse someone of doing nothing without suggesting what can be done.
I thank Prime Minister Mr Samuel Hinds for taking the time to clarify some of the comments I made in this column last week, in his letter “Shared governance not shared government” (SN 19/04/2013).
The drive towards dominance has been successful largely because it has been furtive.
If the denudation of opposition-orientated labour organisations is recognised as signifying the initial phase of the march to political/ethnic dominance, the vulgarly partisan 2011 issuing of radio licences and frequencies represents its apogee.
You may recall that, like today with President Ramotar and Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, when the latter took the presidency from Ms.
Context is everything and with the defeat of Janet Jagan in 1999, the political context in Guyana changed into the debilitating, acrimonious and anti-developmental environment we now inhabit.
I decided to consider the Prevention of Discrimination Act, Chapter 99:09 (No. 26 of 1997) separately because it appears to me that it provides enormous opportunities for us to deal with one of our most persistent problems: discrimination in employment in both the public and private sectors.
If I say so myself, by any historical standard, the 1992-97 Cheddi Jagan regime was the most productive period for legislation intended to protect the working people of Guyana.