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.

The PPP’s narrative needs major revision

Important elements of the wider strategy that finally brought down the PPP were: internal subversion to discredit the regime; various forms of economic pressure which, contrary to PPP propaganda, at best led to economic stagnation; more electoral manipulation, this time in the form of the imposition of proportional representation which favoured the opposition forces and the resuscitation of the long concluded Guyana/Venezuela border dispute as a backstop in the event that the PPP was still able to prevail.

The forgotten alliance

If the APNU/AFC coalition can seek succour in the failed Jagan/Burnham attempt to form a national movement, it would well be reminded that it also has much in common with the 1950s alliance between Forbes Burnham and Dr.

It is time to fix the road

Even those of us who are not particularly religious have been socialised into putting great store upon the notion of individual responsibility, based essentially upon a belief in “good” and “evil”.

Stealing is not the worst crime in politics

It appears to me that the political parties that were involved in the APNU/AFC coalition formation proceeded as if the PPP is so broken and discarded that its responses would not matter or would be worth very little.

A time-bound coalition programme is essential

Last week I argued that to be successful, the opposition coalition must be bolstered by a creative strategy in which the first order of business must be the establishment of a comprehensive and properly focused programmatic platform.

The coalition must be bolstered by a creative strategy

Readers of this column will know that it has continuously advocated coalition between the opposition forces as a possible and necessary condition for the removal of the PPP from government, and the institutionalisation of a more adequate national governance arrangement.

The PPP will not be a pushover

After the opposition won the majority of seats in the National Assembly in the 2011 general elections, I was left bemused by the notion that had it taken the advice of those of my ilk and formed a pre-election arrangement with a single list, the PPP/C would have lost government.

Double jeopardy?

Double jeopardy? Most of us adhere to some basic moral principles that we take for granted and which, if we are observed violating, can result in all manner of moral, legal, conceptual and practical difficulties and confusion.

Rohee cannot weasel out of his responsibility

When a seasoned and combative politician such as Minister Clement Rohee, who is always on the lookout for public kudos, took off at the speed he did in denying any involvement of himself and his ministry in the promotion of two of their employees, it is a sure sign that he suspects that all may not be well with the promotions and that he sees no advantage in being associated with the process.

Mr. Hughes’ suggestions limit the vision for change

Last week’s column showed how similar our constitution is to that of the United States of America when it comes to the power relations between the institutions that we call “supreme organs of democratic power” (in my view this phrase is nothing but archaic socialist hyperbole).

Retribution or national unity?

“Questioned on if he would seek to advocate the punishment of those who committed alleged wrongdoings during the PPP elected period, an animated Granger… said ‘Of course!

Anticipating prorogation might have prevented it

A chief characteristic of globalization is time-space compression, one expression of which is a generalized CNN effect, namely the capacity of news media, nationally or internationally, to report in real time and pressure policy makers to make quick decisions in a particular direction.

The PPP government will last a thousand years

Delivering his contribution to a PPP congress about a decade ago, Mr. Clinton Collymore, executive member of the PPP, was rewarded with much applause when he said that the PPP would be in office for a thousand years.

The government is expanding the scope of its illegitimacy

Born in questionable democratic circumstances in 1992 but with seemingly reckless abandon since the 2011 national and regional elections, the PPP/C regime has proceeded to dangerously reduce the scope of its legitimacy to a point where many more people now believe it to be an illegitimate government.

Fiji: a permanent state of coup!

“The real question is whether Fiji could handle a genuine democracy with a free press, or if the country needs an ultra-authoritarian strongman like Bainimarama to keep control.

Sub-optimal policing

The Guyana Police Force cannot seriously believe that by publishing piece-meal quarterly statistics it is proving anything.

Dirty tricks and the clean hands maxim

Perhaps because he was a lawyer, when President Forbes Burnham was suspected of using all kinds of machinations, including peoples’ tax records, to gain their compliance, he loved to – improperly I believe – import the clean hands doctrine into politics: he who sought to criticize and challenge him or the state must come with clean hands.

Measures to prevent coalition dictatorship

It is good that more people, including letter writers and bloggers, are demanding that those who are calling for the formation of a national unity government give more details of what it is they intend.

Constitutional reforms must take us as we are

“[P]ublic arguments over policy often reflect the instinctive worldviews of the antagonists rather than honest dialogue to find the best possible solutions” (“What really happened in Bangladesh”, Foreign Affairs, July/August, 2014) Nowhere is this clearer than in the present discourse about constitutional reform.

Some suggestions for constitutional reform

The general direction of my last two columns has been that as things stand, the most likely outcome of the coming general election – whenever it happens and if the major political parties go to the polls individually – is that the PPP/C will obtain sufficient votes to be returned to government, i.e.