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).

Ending ethnic political conflict

I have repeatedly argued that the attempts to establish ethnic dominance of various sorts by different means are unnecessary and cannot solve the ethnic security problem that exists in Guyana and I have often been asked to outline what form of government best suits our condition.

Sad but not at all surprising

One must have to be a dolt to believe that the treatment at present being meted out to the sugar workers is because the country cannot afford to keep them at work.

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.

PPP/C: a massive deficit in leadership

The present political impasse has yet again presented opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP/C with an opportunity to reposition the party as a positive national rather than communal institution.