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.
‘Is it possible to vote and/or encourage others to vote racially and not be a racist?’ The incident involving Ms.
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.
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.
‘I am now convinced that the simplest solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a new widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.’ Martin Luther King, 1967.
On reading the Stabroek News article ‘Democracy is Bureaucracy’ (SN: 18/08/2017), I was again reminded of the need for conceptual clarity as we seek to broaden the scope of political participation for being imprecise could lead to deliberate avoidance or our missing important aspects of the discourse.
‘[O]ptimum functioning or malfunctioning of the Public Service Commission … depends on the type and nature of the regime within which the institution operates.’.
Former President Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP/C’s pontifications about the need for a free and open media must have elicited if not the vast hilarity coming from his detractors at the very least a timid smile from even his ardent supporters.
Please excuse me if I am somewhat jaded by all the talk and little action surrounding diaspora involvement.
This has been an unusually good week for finding issues to comment upon, but apart from joining those celebrating the success of the 2017 STEM Guyana team, I want to focus on two matters.
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.
In view of the accepted importance of eduation, some of what has taken place during and in the aftermath of the removal of Dr.
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.
In 1817, the social theorist, activist and ‘father’ of ‘cooperation’, Robert Owen, was told at the Congress of Sovereigns at Aix-La-Chappelle that the enduring structural contradiction between capital and labour would make it impossible for his idea of cooperativising the world to gain traction.
Long conceptual and practical experience has taught me that the vicissitudes of the negotiation process are such that what at first may appear simple can become very complex, requiring an inordinate amount of thought and preparation.
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).
As promised, this column will consider the political side of former president Donald Ramotar’s ‘Under the PPP/C Guyana had the fastest growing economy in the region’ (SN: 22/05/2017), since it raised important issues which, because they are coming from Mr.
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.
The recently completed Draft Strategic Plan for Social Cohesion in Guyana, 2017-2021 (SP) (http://www.motp.gov.gy/images/documents/draft_social_cohesion_strategis_plan_2017_2021.pdf), has given enhanced meaning to the notion of ‘missing the bus’!
Recently, the Government of Guyana, i.e. the Ministry of Public Health, announced that in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) it was in the process of devising a strategic plan to deal with the condition of the elderly.
Contrary to what Dr. David Hinds says, none of our pre- or post-independence governments has been in an ethnic trap of any sort (Guyana Chronicle 23/04/2017; Guyana Chronicle .30/04/2017).
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.
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.
‘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.
Anyone concerned with the present perilous direction of climate change must hope that countries not only stick to the commitments they made under the UNFCCC 2015 process but if possible raise their ambitions.
As reported last week, the headmistress of Central High School, Ms. Kamlawattie Balroop, responded to her critics which such passion that, given the nature of her topic, one could have quite easily accused her of zealotry (SN:30/03/2017).
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.
The discussion on the Ogle Housing Project (Prado 1) last week was intended to aid us in understanding the controversy over the Sparendaam Housing Project (Prado 2).
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.
Last Friday afternoon I attended the launch of Rudy Insanally’s The Guyanese culture: Fusion or Diffusion?
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.
Let me thank Mr. Clement Rohee for publicly engaging me on perhaps the most important question that has been on the political agenda of Guyana for the past 60 years: ‘how do we get to a government that can ensure the psychological and actual peace and prosperity for all of us[?]’ (There is a place for everyone in the PPP, SN 7/2/2017).
To paraphrase a now familiar adage, ‘if the AFC did not exist someone would have invented it’ for the simple reason that it suggests logical and historical/nostalgic ways out of the ethnic divide that still plagues this country.
The Alliance for Change (AFC) must be congratulated for conducting what appears to have been a most transparent, competitive and well executed leadership election.
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.
‘Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
Temptation to pay little attention to the inscrutability of the governing political elite in its dealings with the selection of a new chairperson for the Guyana Elections Commission gave way to concern as I came to realise that the situation may be somewhat more complicated and possibly detrimental to the body politic.
Perhaps more than it realizes, under the 12th December 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change which, having been ratified by a sufficient number of states, became international law in November 2016, the government of Guyana has taken many positions and made numerous commitments that in my view have severely limited its policy space in the area of climate governance.
Can someone please explain what is happening to political governance in Guyana? In just two days – the 29th and 30th of December – unnecessary controversies erupted over two issues, the Amaila Falls hydroelectric project and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC), which, had they been sensibly handled by the APNU+AFC government, could have been a signal to the Guyanese people that 2017 may indeed herald the beginning of their long sought after ‘good life’.
Detractors aside, there is a large number of APNU+AFC supporters who are genuinely alarmed by its behaviour.
The Christmas season has traditionally been a time when we try to universalize our good fortune by ensuring that those less fortunate than ourselves, and particularly the elderly, are able to partake in the festivities and merriment.
‘The national budget is a document that … authorises the government to raise revenues, incur debts and effect expenditures in order to achieve certain goals ….
On 27th April 1953, three months before Fidel Castro and his compatriots began their revolution by storming the Moncada Barracks in Santiago on 26th July 1953 the People’s Progressive Party won its first elections and was preparing to take government in Guyana.
‘Equity thus depending, essentially, upon the particular circumstances of each individual case, there can be no established rules and fixed precepts of equity laid down, without destroying its very essence, and reducing it to a positive law.
In 2011 388 of the world’s richest people owned as much wealth as the poorest half of mankind combined: by 2015, Oxfam claimed this wealth was concentrated in the hands of just 62!
When the PPP/C came to government in October 1992, 2,025 government apartments were dotted around the country but largely in urban areas.
The chairperson of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), Mr. Hamilton Green, was recently reported as stating that between 1994 and 2015, 66,124 house lots were allocated by the PPP/C government; to date 28,220 of those lots are still unoccupied and there is a waiting list of 25,000 applicants.
In a public lecture, ‘The Despot Accomplice: how the West is aiding and abetting the decline of democracy’ at the London School of Economics a few days ago, Brian Klaas (http://www.lse.ac.uk/), among other things, made the point that 2006 was the peak year for democracy and that people are now losing faith in it.
The social environment created by those striving for political dominance does not allow for an authentic popular expression of national concerns for it cannot accommodate the kind of democratic participatory institutions that are necessary if such policies are to be found and fructify.
‘I don’t care what you teach and how you teach it. All I want is for my child to pass.’ Once we do not take this comment too literally, I believe that the parent saying this is representative of most of those who have school aged children.