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.
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 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.
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.
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.