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).

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.

Bullshit cannot perennially baffle brains

In a lecture at the London School of Economics earlier this month in support of his book ‘Post-Truth: why we have reached peak bullshit and what we can do about it’, Evan Davis, the eminent British journalist,  stated that never has there been more concern about dishonesty in public life and, that, inter alia, people are more susceptible to bullshit that reinforces commitment to their side.

Not upon a ‘proud’ or ‘glorious’ course

Arguably the most important achievement of the PNC in its 60 years of existence was its dismissal of  the PPP/C from government in 2015, and the most important day in the history of the PPP was its removal of the PNC from government on 5th October 1992.

Reasons and sincere reasons

‘The lawfulness of state actors’ decisions frequently depends on the reasons they give to justify their conduct, and a wide range of statutory and constitutional law renders otherwise lawful actions unlawful if they are not justified by reasons or are justified by the wrong reasons’(Mathilde Cohen.

Unfathomable: PNC, GBGWU and Rusal

On reading last week that a decade after the dispute arose between Rusal, the Russian bauxite company, and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU), union officials still had to be forcing their way into government offices to demand that their long-standing grievances be properly considered, I remembered the cartoon above, which portrays a confrontation between Mr.

Repositioning a not so `noble idea’

Around midnight on Saturday the 5th of August Varnika Kundu, a 29-year-old female Indian DJ based in Chandigarh alleged that she was involved in a motor car chase with the son of a politician and his friend who tried to abduct her.

Lessons from the Kenyan elections

The decision by the Kenyan Supreme Court to annul the reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta brought back memories of the October 1998 decision by the British House of Lords that stripped the late Chilean President August Pinochet of his immunities and allowed for his arrest to answer for the over 3,000 tortures and deaths that his regime allegedly orchestrated during the 17 years of his dictatorial rule.