APNU’s response to 8MM

A few weeks before the last local government elections, a longstanding Baronian friend with whom I use to roam the streets of London before he took off to film school and I to university, and whose late mother was born in Beterverwagting (BV), informed me that the family would prepare a plot of land it owns in the village and offer it to the BV/Triumph Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) for use as a small community park.

Volda: an ethnic entrepreneur at work

The chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform, Ms. Volda Lawrence, has rightly been taken to task  for the statement she delivered to the Region Four District Conference of her party a week or so ago. 

Presidents must consult and compromise

Our perception of presidential power will largely determine not only how we behave towards the individual and how they will act toward us but also how we will act if, perchance, we ever hold that office.

Low voter turnout in local elections

Generally, there is high voter turnout at elections where the results matter. Unfortunately, in most countries people do not see local elections as particularly important and thus voter turnout is usually lower than at national elections.

Guyana has never been the home of all Guyanese

It is good that Mr. Tacuma Ogunseye, a senior member of the Working People’s Alliance and one of the most thoughtful, unswerving and prolific supporters of shared-governance (SG), who must be counted among those whom Dr.

Well, David: What now? Sri Lanka?

In his column in Kaieteur News on Sunday, Dr. David Hinds claimed, “The WPA, of which I am a part, is still committed to power-sharing as a political solution to our problems.

Towards an ethnic non-democratic state?

Recently, Israel’s constitution (Basic Law) was changed to described the country as ‘the national home of the Jewish people’ and Jerusalem, even the parts claimed by the Palestinians, as the ‘complete and united … capital of Israel.’ Needless to say, the Palestinians and human rights groups around the world condemned the changes that, to some, merely constitutionalised the de facto apartheid that they claim already exists between Jews and Arabs.

Guyana, China and Africa

Given its pitiful management of the oil and gas sector, suspicions have also been raised concerning the many memorandums of understanding (MOUs) the government has been signing and particularly about those relating to that sector.

‘Not getting to the poorest’

As this column has noted before, it was the dreaded Cardinal Richelieu who claimed, ‘If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.’ In an extensive interview in the Guyana Review (SN: 02/10/2018), President David Granger and his interlocutor gave us many more lines, and, therefore, perhaps it should not be surprising that if some commentators are to be believed, both parties are destined for the gallows!

‘Fixing migration by encouraging it!’

Ms. Volda Lawrence, the Minister of Public Health, when speaking to a gathering of overseas Guyanese in the United States last week, stated that Guyana and Caribbean countries should stop complaining about the impact of the brain drain of nurses.

Guyana in dire straits

‘Although it has bountiful resources, including gold and diamonds, Guyana is in the throes of one of the worst economic declines in the developing world.

Is the government winging it?

That some very poor and costly decisions in Guyana’s budding oil and gas sector have recently been visited upon Guyanese is now sufficiently established.

GTU was badly advised but all is not lost

Last week I argued that collective bargaining (CB) cannot increase teachers’ pay to the level they require to compensate for the historical and moral deficiencies they believe they have sustained and are still sustaining, and concluded that a good result for the teachers  can only be won where there exists ‘strong industrial action to induce in the government the political will to positively respond either before its final stage or during that stage by liberalizing the restrictive conditionalities of the arbitration terms of reference.’ I then said that, ‘This government has done little in relation to the teachers to suggest that the political will exists.’ We are at the final stage of the CB process without any of the above occurring, largely because I believe the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) leadership was badly advised.

We all cut from the same cloth

Because it has so visibly betrayed the agenda of most of the people who have supported it from the inception, predicting the disaster that will befall the Alliance for Change (AFC) at the local government elections (LGE) scheduled for later this year has become something of a national pastime.

Co-operatives: a possible future to note

Speaking last week to various emancipation gatherings, President David Granger sought to strike a note of optimism about the impending oil bonanza, but this backfired when he admonished his largely African audiences for spending too much time and money on liming and drinking rather than educating themselves to take advantage of the forthcoming opportunities.

Co-operatives and emancipation

In late 1975, in an article – The colonial model facilitating co-operative underdevelopment in Guyana –published in the Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics (Belgium.

Failed states

Two weeks ago, with the current migration problem in Europe in mind, the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, asked his audience consisting of Dutch employees of international organisations to ‘Give me an example of a multi-ethnic or multicultural society where the original population still lives … and where there is a peaceful society.

Constitutional lessons from heaven

As I was considering John Locke’s understanding of the ‘social contract’, which first placed men under governments (Essay Concerning Human Understanding & Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690)) , I came across Lincoln Lewis’ Guyana does not need an ethnic party as a third party (KN: 08/07/2018) in which I detected a belief that, with hindsight, I should have recognised before.

The CCJ and this unruly political environment

In its latest 2018 report, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), having considered democratic changes in some 180 countries worldwide, claimed that with the possible exception of the African continent, democracy is in decline around the world. 

Moralising injuring the body politic

Guyana is replete with a kind of formalism that requests that we accept almost without question the possibility of actually compartmentalizing appropriate but conflicting moral roles, i.e.

Jagdeo is right but wrong

Comment is required on former president Bharrat Jagdeo’s statements about the course he and his party intend to take should the attempts he believes are being made by the government to manipulate the 2020 general and regional elections succeed, for if he is forced to respond in such a negative fashion, there goes the opportunity to optimize the significant wealth fossil fuels are projected to generate.

The First People and the politics of disrespect

Do you believe that if the African child pictured at right had followed the missive sent by Mae’s Primary to parents stating that on the day of Guyana’s independence anniversary 2018 ‘pupils will be allowed to dress in their cultural wear, depicting an ethnic group of their choice’ he would have been prevented from attending classes? 

The heights of absurdity

I have heard politicians give all manner of questionable and laughable explanations in defence of their positions, and some of this is unavoidable in political life with its notions of collective responsibility and collegiate destiny.

Marx, money and freedom

Deciding what aspect of Marxism to consider in the 200th year after Karl Marx’s  birth (5th May 1818) was made considerably easier when some comments, purportedly by a ‘Jewish leader’ about ‘why black people are economically behind’ and what can be done to make them rich, arrived in my inbox.

Bleak day for industrial relations

Nine days before the 2015 general elections, Stabroek News headlined ‘APNU+AFC makes pact to restore bargaining rights to workers – under gov’t of national partnership.’ It continued, ‘The opposition coalition APNU+AFC yesterday made a pact with the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) and labour unions in Guyana for the resuscitation of collective bargaining should it win the May 11th general and regional polls.’  Presenting copies of the coalition manifesto to Guyana Trades Union Congress General Secretary, Mr.

Jagdeo’s policy shift?

The PPP is still the most formidable political party in Guyana. The last elections proved this and if anything, the performance of the present regime may well have improved its standing.

Who cares? Lock them up!

Clearly in retaliation to the government’s – by way of  the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) – charging in their absence former minister of finance and chairperson of NICIL Ashni Singh and former NICIL head Winston Brassington with misconduct in public office for selling government lands without proper valuation or under the assessed value, last week two opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) MPs, Juan Edghill and Vickram Bharrat, brought private prosecutions against  ministers Volda Lawrence and George Norton for misconduct in public office.

Guyana’s ‘troubles’ and the Good Friday Agreement

In a presentation given at a panel discussion at Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement on 10th April 2018, former president Bill Clinton claimed that ‘The Good Friday Agreement is a work of genius that’s applicable if you care at all about preserving democracy.’ According to Clinton, the agreement ‘called for real democracy – majority rule; minority rights; individual rights; the rule of law; the end of violence; shared political decision-making; shared economic benefits’.

An independent state media

If it is true that Mr. Nigel Williams, the editor in chief of the Guyana Chronicle, was ‘taken aback’ by the level of public concern that met his decision to discontinue the weekly columns of Dr.

Fossil fuels: in danger of losing our way

On 8th February 2018, the same day the Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX) began and the vice president of ExxonMobil, Lisa Waters, was playing up the need for world economic growth to help the poor, an article by Ted Nordhaus was published in the influential Foreign Affairs magazine entitled The Two-Degree Delusion: The Dangers of an Unrealistic Climate Change Target (FA: 08/02/18), in which he said something similar but suggested that social development  will be better achieved if we liberate fossil fuels and oil and gas in particular from the strictures placed upon them by the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris.

Rising to a fairer democratic level

Below are some important parts of a statement taken from a letter by former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds (KN: 02/02/2018), intended partly to place the blame for the violence that took place between 1998 and 2008 on the PNCR and its supporters, which came at a opportune time for this closing contribution on an alternative form of government for Guyana.

Consensual democracy and the judiciary

The focus of this column is upon the judiciary and it is important to note that an essential chapter in the playbook of the modern autocrat – Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – is to insidiously install loyalists in this institution (How Democracies Fall Apart: Foreign Affairs, 05/12/2016).

Democratising political parties

‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

Actually separating political power

‘Government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another.’ Charles-Louis Baron de Montesquieu I can say without fear of contradiction that the vast majority of us would accept the above as a useful general rule.

Disrupting local politics

The ancient Greeks, considered the progenitors of modern democracy, referred to the rule of one person as ‘tyranny’ and particularly in countries with weak institutions, modern presidentialism and prime ministership quickly morph into one-man autocracies in which the single leader, to whom access is limited, surrounds himself with a retinue of fawning, usually self-seeking, followers (Foley, Michael (2000) The British Presidency,  Manchester University Press, and Poguntke, Thomas and Paul Webb (2005) The Presidentialization of Politics,  Oxford University Press).