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.

Opposition parties should lead a reform movement

From all indications we will soon have national and regional elections, and all those who wish to see Guyana actually fulfilling its potential rather than its resources being drained away to far off places (the Bai Shan Lin affair) for the benefit of others, must now concentrate all their efforts on developing a strategy that would relieve the PPP/C of government at the next elections.

APNU appears looking to scram!

The PNCR congress has come and gone, but the major issues that faced the party, some of which arose at the congress itself, will have repercussions for years to come.

The PPP has far more questions to answer

Last week, in response to the Alliance for Change (AFC) letter stating its intent to move a motion of no-confidence in his government under article 106 of the Constitution, President Donald Ramotar stated that he and his party were ready for any eventual elections, and then he did a very strange thing, which suggests the opposite.

A people must keep its powder dry

Arguably the most important issue raised in Mr. David Granger’s independence sojourn in New York was his statement of the kind of governance he would like to see developed in Guyana, and in my view, unless we want to unwittingly end up in an autocracy worse than any we have had so far, the Leader of the Opposition had better make his position much clearer and we had better pay attention to it.

The Prime Minister’s Pusillanimity

According to Prime Minister Hinds, Cheddi Jagan believed that national unity between the races and classes was so important to nation building that throughout his political life he attempted “new, bold and courageous alternatives to bring our people together” but died without his goal being realised.

All is not politics

Underlying the political culture of all countries is the view that morality is different in private life and politics.

LEAD without leadership

“Advances for human rights and democracy depend first and foremost on the courage and the commitment of men and women working for reform in their own countries.

When is the next Rodney inquiry?

A few weeks ago, after reading the press release “GHRA [Guyana Human Rights Association] not convinced about purpose or process of Commission of Inquiry into death of Dr.

Democracy without political virtue

“The finance minister in a Third World country should have the ability to present his annual budget as a package that cannot be amended, only approved or denied as a whole ….

The PPP disassociating from its ‘glorious’ past

When the PPP decided to proceed along its current course of political dominance, it did not know that it would lead it to having to deny important aspects of its “glorious struggle” against PNC authoritarianism, for which so many of its supporters have suffered.

Optimizing education cash transfers

The records of the Ministry of Education will show that in 2003/4, when I was the minister, it began “discussions with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security (MLHSS) to discuss areas of possible collaboration, e.g.

Distributive justice in a political context of distrust

The major political quarrels in Guyana are reflective of a fundamental structural distributive difficulty: our society, founded as it is in an entrenched racial division that frustrates regime change, does not and will not allow any single political party to be perceived as fairly distributing the results of our collective national endeavours.

Local people should control the selection of their MPs

The leaderships of the political parties in Guyana talk a good democratic game but do very little to enhance the democratic processes in their own parties; give local people more control over their own lives and over those who claim to represent them nationally. 

Trade unions unity is not critical

On 27th February, the People’s Progressive Party, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change without the permission of the Guyana Trades Union Congress divvied-up the latter’s property and processes.

The Sovereign’s incomplete agenda

The regime may feel that the sovereignty of the Guyanese people can only be violated by foreigners, but in this it is mistaken, and no one will take its cry of national sovereignty seriously if it is itself seen as a violator of the sovereignty of its own people.

What is to be done when the sovereign is ignored?

Since Dr. Roger Luncheon invoked political sovereignty in response to the United States’ refusal to discontinue the leadership and democracy project, I began to pay a keener interest to this concept and my observations should be of interest, particularly as we celebrate our Republican status.

Facts, perceptions and nation building

Although it was something of a challenge trying to decipher precisely what Justice Charles R Ramson (“A focus on the facts;” SN: 28/01/2014) was attempting to convey, lest it be considered bad form not to consider his contributions, which are never without substance, I have given it a shot in the hope that I have not totally missed what he was attempting to say.

Transformative opportunity missed when Cheddi died

Unfortunately, we cannot cherry-pick the vicissitudes of fortune. Thus, when the PPP came to government in 1992, it inherited both Desmond Hoyte’s Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) and the industrial relations environment it had helped to create to obstruct the ERP’s establishment.

Cheddi should have done better in relation to GPSU

The most important problem in the present relationship between the public servants and the government is not whether the former should be paid a 5%, 10% or 100% increase; it is about the government following established collective bargaining procedures; meeting the union at the negotiation table and if that fails proceeding to binding arbitration.

The President, the law and national security

If it is the intention of the president and his government to provide maximum security for this nation, as the main law-givers whose activities are widely publicised, they should take note of how respect for the law has plummeted and of the part their actions are most likely playing in this process.

Sri Lanka/ Guyana: tenacious ethnic problems

Guyana and Sri Lanka are usually categorized as bi-communal societies, and recently the latter has been in the international news because some countries boycotted the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference which was being held there, and the British Prime Minister used his presence in the country to call for an international investigation into the recently concluded civil war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lanka/Guyana: tenacious ethnic problems

Guyana and Sri Lanka are usually categorized as bi-communal societies, and recently the latter has been in the international news because some countries boycotted the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference which was being held there, and the British Prime Minister used his presence in the country to call for an international investigation into the recently concluded civil war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Guyana: Waiting to become a nation

“A nation is an imagined political community. … imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.

Granger: National unity and elite cooperation

In 1976, President Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, whom international capital had helped to power in Guyana, felt sufficiently confident to tell the Guyanese nation that: “…the People’s National Congress is seeking to lay the foundation of a socialist society based upon Marxism/Leninism” (Forbes Burnham, “Report to the Nation”).

Informing the budget process

It is good that this year the Minister of Finance has decided to give the opposition relatively good notice of the tripartite budget consultations.

Education apartheid: an improbable catalyst

The Oxford dictionary gives the definition of apartheid as “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race (and) segregation on grounds other than race.” I believe that this accords well with our everyday understanding of the concept and also indicates why policies of social segregation are normally frowned upon.

Local government reform: Solving or creating a security dilemma?

The local government reforms of 2013 appear grounded in what Desmond Hoyte pejoratively referred to as “local government per se” (reforming local government for reform’s sake), and in this spirit I will begin this examination of the Bills that were recently passed by the National Assembly but are still to be assented to by the president.

Subsidiarity, autonomy and local democracy

Given our long association with local government, the idea that it is a good in itself comes naturally and so the temptation to believe that any working system of local democracy is better than none is ever present.

Ideology and local democracy

The nature of the local government system of a country largely depends on the ideological orientation of those responsible for its establishment.