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’.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The government intends to enact witness protection legislation and has suggested that a discourse take place around this issue so I thought it useful to give an insight into how these schemes operate.
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.
In opposition, APNU and the AFC were vehemently condemnatory of PPP/C corruption, incompetence, undemocratic behaviour, etc.
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?!
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.
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.
It is about time that a country which faces substantial border problems on two fronts pays some attention to border studies and research.
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.