A radical religious inclusiveness

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).

The future of MAPM

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.

Pradoville 2: gone for a steal

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).

Pradovilles: theory and practice

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.

Unnecessary and costly disputes

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.

Mr Rohee, the plague is upon both houses

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).

Predicting the AFC’s demise is precipitous

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.

Is the AFC still relevant?

The Alliance for Change (AFC) must be congratulated for conducting what appears to have been a most transparent, competitive and well executed leadership election.

About the PPP

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.

‘Smart-man’ and disruptive politics

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.

Litigating Amaila

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.

The regime is feasting its ‘detractors’

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’.

The elderly: broken promises

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.

2017: Perhaps the best budget ever

‘The national budget is a document that … authorises the government to raise revenues, incur debts and effect expenditures in order to achieve certain goals ….

Dining with Fidel

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.

Hamilton Green’s appeal to equity

‘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.

Trade unions and global equity

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!

Housing interventions should prioritise the poorest

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.

Exploiting a low democratic baseline

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.

National Youth Policy: a charade?

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.

The Education War

‘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.

PPP/C went low: APNU+AFC has gone lower

On 6 October 2016, Stabroek News published an article ‘Cabinet deeply perturbed at Grade Six math results’, the content of which, if true, has certainly taken official education reporting to a new low, and this is magnified by the hackneyed solutions to the problem that are proffered.

Structural disenfranchisement

Last week I spoke of the growing perception, even among the supporters of the APNU+AFC government, that what happened at the last general elections was, as they say on the streets, an exchange not a change of government.

Social cohesion lite

Understandable though it may be, is it not ironic that precisely at the time President David Granger was telling the 19th Biannual Congress of his People’s National Congress Reform that ‘We need not be divided, we need to build cooperative relationships at all levels of society’, he is set upon a constitutional course to remove ‘Cooperative’ from the Cooperative Republic of Guyana?!

Social cohesion and co-operatives

When the government created the Ministry of Social Cohesion it placed ethnic conflict, the easing of which is contingent upon the behaviour of its mortal political enemy, the People’s Progressive Party, at the centre of its agenda, and some would say that in our circumstances failure is the default mode of any such enterprise.

Africans and APNU+AFC: wishful thinking?

After outlining some of the historical hardships that confronted African Guyanese, the dire condition in which Africans still find themselves and some of the more recent international and nations responses to this condition, President David Granger, in his presentation to the Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum organized by the Cuffy 250 Committee, concluded that “This is the time to organize and mobilise so that at the end of the decade, the Government and the Guyanese people can report confidently they have achieved the objectives of the United Nations International Decade for people of African Descent.

Jagdeo has not projected a modern vision

Stuart Kaufman, speaking of extreme cases of ethnic violence, suggests that politicians can only stir up ethnic discontent if there is some historical experience to support their positions.

TVET and education reform

The editorial ‘Vocational education’ (SN 15/07/2016) has rightly called upon the government to give greater priority to technical and vocational education and training  (TVET).

Can Guyana afford parking meters?

‘Cities love meters – they are a “captive” income source. … unless you know someone or are a “public figure”, the city will tow your car if you have too many tickets.

Government and GPSU: politics without vision

About a week ago, with ‘tears in their eyes’, some of the executive members of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) shared with the Stabroek News ‘their bewilderment at the lack of movement on the part of the administration to begin the collective bargaining process despite making several public statements about its importance’ (GPSU alarmed at gov’t lack of engagement on public service wage talks).

PPP/C can win in 2020 if…

In the run up to the 2015 elections the talk among the APNU+AFC hierarchy was that they expected to win by about three seats, but as it turned out they won by less than one.

Another democracy without political virtue

Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham became an autocrat, dictator, whatever description suits you, under our 1966 independence constitution, with its non-executive governor/president titular head of the government and armed forces; prime minister directly answerable to the national assembly; Westminster-type separation of powers; right to prorogation, etc.

The coalition: Governing without a united national interest

So far as I am concerned, it is inconceivable, particularly in the context where first-come-first-served is the order of the day, that about two days after you would have promised to seat together about fifty relatively important persons at a public event like the Golden Jubilee flag-raising ceremony, you would not have cordoned off a designated section.

Jubilee celebrations or African fest?

The apparent massive Afro-Guyanese support for and participation in and the apparent Indo-Guyanese absence from activities associated with the golden jubilee celebrations have led some to claim that the event will be more of an African fest than a national celebration than those who gathered to hoist the Golden Arrowhead on 26 May 1966 would have expected.

Beterverwagting: a better expectation

Beterverwagting (Baron) is one of our villages whose history is laced with legends, among which the win by the 8th of May Movement (8MM) at the recent local government elections will certainly takes its place.

Guyana needs a national names authority

There has been much comment on the proclivity of the present regime and its associates to name and rename various national objects and institutions, and this article has been prompted by the dispute over its wish to rename Ogle International Airport and the possibility that the City Council might give rise to more controversy if it still has on its agenda the renaming of 100 city streets for our Jubilee celebrations.

Single Grade 6 placement is anti-working class

If nothing else, in our condition, secondary school placements based on the single Grade 6 assessment (NGSA), like its predecessor the Secondary School Secondary Examination (SSEE), will do nothing to aid stakeholder participation and thus will be anti-working class.

Reverting to the old placement system is retrograde

“Educational assessment must overcome a central dilemma, … If there are no consequences attached to a test, then it will do little to motivate healthy change within the educational system; however, if the result of an assessment is highly consequential, then it may engender unproductive or undesirable outcomes such as narrowing the curriculum, “teaching to test,” and weakening the role of teacher” (Braun, Henry, et al (2006) Improving Education Through Assessment, Innovation, and Evaluation.