Prisons

What a cost when, in a most gruesome manner, seventeen individuals lost their lives as a result of having been taken into custody by a society that promised to safeguard all their other freedoms apart from their right to liberty.

Did Burnham plot to kill Rodney?

Hours after Walter Rodney was killed and his body taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital, Forbes Burnham spoke to a well-connected young woman who was a family friend and a nurse at the hospital, saying he had heard that Rodney had been killed and wanted her to go find the body and confirm that it was indeed his.

Rodney suspected WPA was compromised

Not long after Walter Rodney met his death in June 1980, I was at Castellani House, the president’s residence on Vlissengen Road, waiting to see Forbes Burnham, when Vice-President Desmond Hoyte entered the room.

The ‘people’ is not yet born

An admixture of our unique political context and nearly two decades of autocratic PPP/C rule have given rise to notions of how we should conduct political discourse that appear to me neither practical nor complete.

The national unity credo

‘Practice without theory is blind. Theory without practice is sterile. Theory becomes a material force as soon as it is absorbed by the masses.

Team Benschop’s Agenda

To adequately manage local government, or anything else for that matter, one should have some general philosophical understanding of what local government should be and is and, given existing resources, what can be done to help it towards its goal.

Benschop unchastened

Etched in the public mind about Mark Benschop is his incarceration, for five years, in solitary confinement for treason followed by an unconditional pardon by then President Bharrat Jagdeo.

Benschop for mayor?

I’d bet my bottom dollar that a substantial number of those who wanted to see the PPP/C out of government and supported the coalition are now extremely disappointed with the performance of the latter.

The absence of a salient vision

Say what you like about Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, they and thus their governments had holistic and audacious views of Guyana and its development.

Raiding the public purse: pay and patronage

Last week I stated that during my presentation to the Public Service Commission of Inquiry I argued that after only a few months in office, the present regime succumbed to ethnic entrepreneurship and began undercutting its stated principles of what a public servant should be.

A neutral public service

I have some pretty definite views about the Guyana public service, born of some theoretical understanding of how and what it should be doing in modern times and a quite lengthy sojourn in it.

Brassington

On the morning of 4th June last year, I was at the Guyana Revenue Authority headquarters on Camp Street to collect my driver’s licence and had an interesting encounter with the now besieged Mr.

Participatory possibilities in law making

Last week, in commenting on the controversy that arose when the government sought to bulldoze three pieces of legislation (the Municipal and District Councils and Local Authorities (Amendment) Bill, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill and the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill) through the National Assembly at one sitting and the government’s response that the PPP/C’s regime had acted similarly, I concluded by suggesting that the current government and its supporters would do best to reference their behaviour against regional and international best practices rather than past PPP/C behaviour.

A strong line should be held against ministers

A few weeks ago, a furore arose over the regime’s stated intention to push three pieces of legislation (the Municipal and District Councils and Local Authorities (Amendment) Bill, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill and the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill) through parliament at one sitting.

The Paris agreement: throwing in the towel is not an option

After the First World War, armed with a ‘progressive’ fourteen-point plan that called for, among other things, the formation of a ‘general association of nations’, United States President Woodrow Wilson landed in Europe and was able to convince the relevant world that such a body (the forerunner of the United Nations) would be a useful international tool.

The Paris climate change agreement

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) which concluded last Saturday 12th December in Paris succeeded in delivering a universal framework agreement that concretises the direction of the climate change discourse and more importantly affirms the scope of the problem and the directions in which solutions should be sought.

Power relations at the Climate Summit

Notwithstanding the fact that most states are said to be independent and sovereign and the governments of small and weak countries are usually not bashful in laying claims to this status, global political economy suggests a different story.

Paris Climate Summit requires raised ambitions

On 30th October 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) published its Global Response to Climate Change Keeps Door Open to 2 Degree C Temperature Limit, which synthesized the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) from some 146 countries, including all the developed and three quarters of the developing countries, including Guyana.

Managing the global commons

A few weeks ago, this column drew attention to the upcoming Paris Climate Summit (COP 21), which will be held under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) between November 30 and December 11 (UNFCC Paris 2015: the meaning of success.

UNFCC Paris 2015: the meaning of success

A few weeks ago, in accordance with its commitment made under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), Guyana published its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), stating how it was prepared to help to prevent the climate change disaster that is likely to engulf humankind unless we immediately take more radical action to protect the earth’s resources and utilise them more carefully (Gov’t identifies three priority sites for hydro -ignores Amaila.

Should Guyana join the Rio Pact?

What President Granger recently referred to as the “extraordinary and abnormal” presence of Venezuelan troops on Guyana’s border and the Venezuelan government’s flagrant incursions into Guyana’s territory with maritime presence in the Cuyuni river, when added to Venezuela’s decades’ long harassment, which has stymied Guyana and particularly the Essequibo region’s development, are clear indicators of the level of intimidation our larger neighbour is prepared to reach in pursuit of its spurious territorial claim.

What did PM Nagamootoo mean?

If the leaders of the opposition, Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, and his close associates have stolen even half the amount of public funds they are alleged to have, they would have had the good sense to employ some of the best minds in the world to hide it.

The Guyana/Venezuela Border Controversy – Who’s Who

On 3rd December 2014, as Guyana and Venezuela were still wrangling over Venezuela’s audacious entry into Guyana’s territorial waters, the towing away of the seismic survey ship the RV Teknik Perdana and the arresting and charging of some of its crew, thousands of miles away, the portrait of Friedrich Fromhold de Martens (1845-1909), whose alleged activities stand at the heart of the modern border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, appeared on a stamp of the Russian Republic in recognition of his contributions in the field of international law.

Contextualising the education sector

A 2010 McKinsey follow-up study, ‘How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better’ made the obvious but yet noteworthy point that improvements in the education system are possible from any level of development.

Best school systems in the world

A path breaking study by McKinsey & Company for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) repeated what has now become received wisdom: ‘The capacity of countries … to compete in the global knowledge economy increasingly depends on whether they can meet a fast-growing demand for high-level skills.

The minister should eschew short term fixes

As the Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton completes his fact-finding walkabout, sooner or later he will have to put to us some holistic organisational solutions to the problems in the health sector as he envisages them.

Political majoritarianism must be broken

While facilitating a necessary changing of the political guards, in terms of creating the level of national cooperation that is required if Guyana is really to take off, the recent elections have not provided the minimum of what was expected.

New government should avoid the wrong fork in the road

Political relations in countries such as Guyana never cease to surprise. What at first appeared to me only a political ruse by the PPP/C to save face has been transformed into a significant problem which, if a political solution is not quickly found, is likely to undermine the entire programme of the new government as we go forward.