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.

The President’s ‘straw man’

Whatever gave President Donald Ramotar the occasion, during his opening presentation to the 30th Congress of the PPP, to rail against shared governance, I believe the fact that he has done so requires some immediate attention and is a good enough reason for me again to defer my continued discourse on local government.

Local government should be liberating

I began this discourse on local government reform with the contention that elitist behaviour in this kind of matter has not served us well, and the events in the National Assembly last Thursday have reinforced this.

Local government: A bird’s eye view

Our local government system has its roots in the immediate post-emancipation period when the new freedmen sought social and economic liberation from the plantocracy by purchasing plantations and forming independent villages.

Plurality: A humbug to democracy

The single issue over which all Guyanese, and more so all opposition supporters, should unite and forcefully and immediately seek to remove is the constitutional provision that gives the presidency and its not inconsiderable trappings to the party with the largest plurality, and makes it possible for someone to become the president even if his party secures less than 20% of the votes at a general election.

APNU must lead charge against marginalisation

Let us not fool ourselves, all things remaining equal, and taking into account the outcome of the 2011 general elections, for the PPP/C to lose the executive at the next general elections, at the very least APNU cannot lose a significant number of votes to the AFC, and will have to take more than 15% more votes from the PPP/C.

APNU is disappointing many

Recently, the leadership of APNU has been coming in for some all-round battering, largely I believe because it has not developed and/or has not been able to transmit an acceptable vision of the future, and its political antics have left many confused and with the belief that the party is comfortable with its new parliamentary stature. 

Unhappiness at Independence

We are now in our 48th year of independence and the most cursory analysis of our dailies will leave us in no doubt that, notwithstanding the claims that we have made significant progress since 1966, and particularly since 1992, for many, Guyana is a very unhappy place.

Federalism and racism

Perhaps because I came to federalism by way of my undergraduate study of US government in the 1960s, when state rights was the cry of every racist bigot in the Southern states of the USA, and in one form or another the federal government had to continuously intervene to protect the rights of African Americans, I do not have much faith in federalism’s capacity to play a positive role in the drive for sensible ethnic living in divided societies.

The Prime Minister’s utopianism

I thank Prime Minister Mr Samuel Hinds for taking the time to clarify some of the comments I made in this column last week, in his letter “Shared governance not shared government” (SN 19/04/2013).