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.

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’.