GECOM: a win-win solution required

Maybe before, but certainly after my article last week, it must have become obvious to all who read it why the struggle for control of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is so heated.

Elections commissions and rigged elections

The human condition is such that in almost every walk of life, by various means – usually trickery and force – individuals will perennially seek and try to institutionalise advantage over each other, and the most that can be hoped for is mitigation of this phenomenon.

Oil and democracy mix like oil and water

‘Take Azerbaijan’s 2013 elections, when the highly repressive government of President Ilham Aliyev sought to boost its democratic credentials by launching an iPhone app that enabled citizens to keep up to speed with the vote tallies as ballot counting took place.

Waiting as subterfuge becomes suppression

The decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to strike down all the APNU+AFC positions in the cases relating to the no-confidence vote (NCV) and the appointment of the chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) was predictable, and its decision to give the parties space to do their political work is commendable but predictably doomed.

Neither suppression nor subterfuge

My first memory of the kind of substantial blackouts that have recently returned with a vengeance was in 1976, on my return from Cuba after attending the first Guyana/Cuba Joint Commission meeting that was headed on the Guyana side by Senior Minister Desmond Hoyte.

Curriculum reforms: fact check

About two years ago the Minister of Education Nicolette Henry was reported to have said, ‘The Ministry of Education will be moving to review a 20-year-old school curriculum, in an effort to re-energise the education sector here.

Oil and the benefits of citizenship

Less than a generation ago, not unlike our Venezuelan neighbours who are now scattering all over the world due to the political fallout in their country, Guyanese were leaving by legal or illegal means, trying to get to somewhere to make a decent living for themselves and their families.

The political decision process

When PPP central committee member Dr Vindhya Persaud stated her intention go up for election to be that party’s presidential candidate, from my reckoning she received more support from letter writers and commentators than the actual winner of that contest, Mr.

A Goebbelsian boast

I have said before that it is impossible to find sufficient thanks to heap upon the coalition parties for winning the 2015 elections and preventing Guyana going down the tragic path of ethnic domination orchestrated by the PPP/C.

Envisioning oil: ‘the magic ingredient’

Having considered the five economic links in the eight-link decision chain that it was recommended must be implemented if Guyana is to avoid the Dutch disease and achieve transformative and sustainable development, I came to the conclusion that Guyana is not in a good place, and now come to the critical political links (Reversing the Resource Curse: How to Harness Natural Resource Wealth for Accelerated Development.

Envisioning oil: avoiding Dutch disease

So far we have considered the first and the second of the five economic and three political decisions in the chain that it was suggested must remain largely unbroken and be consistently implemented over decades if the natural resources of a country are to be effectively harnessed and transformational development result (Reversing the Resource Curse: How to Harness Natural Resource Wealth for Accelerated Development.

Envisioning oil – Tax what you can see

In attempting to develop a broad vision of where the oil and gas sector in Guyana is heading, last week ( I decided to use the decision chain consisting of five economic and three political decisions that the noted natural resources development expert, Sir Paul Collier, gave in 2013 in a talk at the London School of Economics on Reversing the Resource Curse: How to Harness Natural Resource Wealth for Accelerated Development (

Envisioning oil

While preparing to make an intervention in a panel discussion on the future of the oil and gas sector in Guyana a few weeks ago, I came to realise that although I had been reading the almost daily commentaries, I must have missed it but I did not have a broad vision of where the sector is going.

In the footsteps of Kofi

(Cultural day presentation to the Pan African Movement: Guyana) I thank the Pan African Movement of Guyana for inviting me to say a few words on the general theme: ‘In the footsteps of Kofi: referencing the Grenadian revolution of 13th March 1979’.

The President advises himself

I am convinced that Guyanese on all sides of the current constitutional quarrel know that what is unfolding is an interactive pantomime largely being staged by the coalition government, which was caught off guard by the no-confidence vote but wants to hold on to government, and two main reasons are in the public domain as to why it wants so desperately to do so.

Who rules?

‘The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood.

Guyanese democracy has not yet been born

‘When socio-economic, racial, or religious differences give rise to extreme partisanship in which societies sort themselves into political camps whose worldviews are not just different but mutually exclusive, toleration becomes harder to sustain.

A lukewarm reception awaits the PPP/C

The late eminent political theorist Samuel P Huntington claimed that, ‘Elections, open, free and fair, are the essence of democracy, the inescapable sine qua non’, and this is essentially what the PPP and its supporters have always had in mind.

The PPP is in free fall

A highly speculative contribution by Mr. Manzoor Nadir about two weeks ago provided an analysis in support of the PPP/C that is so surprisingly flawed that I hope that party has gone beyond this kind of thinking.

Justifying anything these days

A few weeks ago, the Speaker of the National Assembly rejected the request by the APNU+AFC caretaker government that he should overturn the no-confidence vote that had gone against it some days before on the ludicrous grounds that 33 is half of 65 and that thus 34 is required for a majority.

Willful ignorance

Introduction For reasons explained over the last two weeks, I believe that Guyana is at present set upon a political trajectory that is unsustainable and dangerous.

Ethnic politics is a nightmare on the brain

Last week, I promised that this column ‘using practical examples, … will consider governance arrangements that are more appropriate to our conditions and that will conclusively and most equitably address the African political dilemma.’ However, last Monday, I read a letter by M.

The African political dilemma

Last week, the president and the leader of the opposition met, and contrary to what many had hoped for but what Guyana’s political legacy suggested was most improbable, they emerged from their hour-long meeting just as they went in – with only smiles!  

Granger and Jagdeo must ‘deculturalise’ themselves

After Raphael Trotman, Khemraj Ramjattan and Sheila Holder crossed the floor from the PNCR, PPP/C and Working People’s Alliance respectively and formed the Alliance for Change in 2005, it did not take much to convince the two larger parties to collaborate on bringing legislation to prevent a recurrence of such events.

Silence or exile: the case of Charrandas Persaud

The membership of the Alliance for Change (AFC) best represents the political dysfunction it was established to fix: disillusioned PPP/C and PNCR supporters with different empathies and perhaps even different notions of right and wrong, and once the African PNCR hijacked the AFC those schisms diverged and ultimately clashed, and thus we have the case of Mr.

The pervasive nature of political unaccountability

‘Control of the process yields control over outcomes. Skilled negotiators think hard about the impact of process on perceptions of interests and alternatives, on the part of their counterparts and those they represent, and on their own side.

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.