Future Notes

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.

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).

Donald’s truth

In ‘Under the PPP/C Guyana had the fastest growing economy in the region’ (SN: 22/05/2017), former president Donald Ramotar presented some isolated truths, but the story he wove around them was essentially false.

Act now on African land issues

No sooner had President David Granger, in his address to the Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum at the Critchlow Labour College in August 2016, declared that his government intended to ‘establish a Lands Commission in order to rectify the anomalies and resolve the controversies which, up to now surround thousands of hectares of communal lands which were purchased in the post-Emancipation Village Movement,’ the Indian Action Committee (IAC) was on his case.

Coupling African and Amerindian land issues

Given its historical development and situational context, outside of pure formalism (an emphasis on form rather than content), to which this regime appears particularly prone, there are no good logical, historical, political, economic, social or other reasons why it should have decided to couple the generally settled Amerindian land issue to the yet to be consensually formulated African demand for ancestral land.

The spectre of secularism

‘Reasonable comprehensive doctrines, religious or non-religious, may be introduced in public political discussion at any time … provided that in due course proper political reasons – and not reasons given solely by comprehensive doctrines – are presented that are sufficient to support whatever the comprehensive doctrines are said to support’ (John Rawls.

The future of MAPM

Now that we have reached a hiatus in the confrontation between the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) and the Mayor and City Council, it may be as good a time as any to attempt to determine what that confrontation represented in terms of some possible futures of the movement.

Pradovilles: theory and practice

The sight of the PPP/C leadership traipsing to the headquarters of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) in relation to the Sparendaam Housing Project (Prado 2) has again raised the expectation, particularly among APNU+AFC supporters, that they are on the verge of some kind of reckoning for the massive corruption we have been made to understand existed under the PPP/C government.

Unnecessary and costly disputes

The APNU+AFC government does not have a strategic approach for dealing with the Private Sector Commission (PSC); thus its recent reactive response to the legitimate concerns expressed by that organisation in relation to the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Bill, parking meter controversy, rule of law and economy have been highly propagandistic and unhelpful if one believes that the private sector is indeed the engine of growth.

About the PPP

Nearly six and a half decades after the PPP first came to government in 1953, with other hopeful junctures in 1964, 1992, 2011 and 2015, Guyana stands at another political crossroads and the outcome will again depend largely upon how the political elite and our diffracted civil society respond to the current difficulties.

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