The question I want to consider here is what can be done to improve internal democracy in the political parties in Guyana?
My last three articles focused on the need to radically reform the undemocratic/illiberal nature of the PPP, rooted as it is in old and misunderstood autocratic doctrines such as democratic centralism and vanguard party.
Notwithstanding the present stagnation in the area of political reform, I believe that our political parties are on the cusp of major restructuring and that John Maynard Keynes was perhaps correct when he claimed that: “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood”, for even today, notions like “democratic centralism” and “party paramountcy,” rooted as they were in autocratic political cultures that are either dead or in their death throes, are still being used to explain contemporary issues.
In my previous article I pointed out that one of the reasons given by former Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr.
For those who have some understanding of the nature and workings of political parties, a few weeks ago we were treated to a quite extraordinary exchange between former speaker of the National Assembly, Mr.
If they were unaware of it before, the recent hoopla about the cuts that were made to the 2012 budget by the opposition has certainly enlightened the citizenry as to the limitations on the role of the National Assembly in the budget process.
Last week I completed my article with the contention that the budget cannot be properly scrutinized by the Committee of Supply of our National Assembly.
If the public reaction to last week’s article (Cheddi’s mantra was `give them the books’ SN: 16/05/12) is anything to go by, discussions between the government and the opposition on financial matters will not bear much fruit anytime soon.
“Interest and objectives are two sides of the same coin. They are closely related, yet being able to differentiate one from the other can often make all the difference during negotiations.” (Godefroy C & Luis Robert – 1991 – “The Outstanding Negotiator” Piatkus).
The Stabroek News, quoting GINA, reported that in response to the statement by Opposition Leader, David Granger “that he is ready for Government to seek a supplementary budget provided that certain conditions are met, President Ramotar said that he is not running a `casino-type’ operation and maintains that all decisions will be based solely on what is in the best interest of Guyana and its people.” (“Gov’t to uphold APNU pacts – Ramotar:” SN: 30/04/2012).
What took place in Linden over the proposed increase in the electricity rates for the community is truly astonishing.
Two weeks ago I said that for us to grow into a “normal” political society we should consider putting in place three transitional measures.
Separation of powers is the cornerstone of any list of checks and balances for a shared governance regime (“A shared governance regime must contain strong checks and balances!” SN 4 April 2012).
Mario is a pimp and a heroin addict in Rome. He regularly pays graft.
In 1649 Charles 1 King of England was beheaded largely because he tried to raise taxes without the authority of parliament.
For a country that has remained the poorest in the English speaking Caribbean and one of the poorest in the northern hemisphere notwithstanding its abundant agricultural and mineral, to say nothing of human resources, the prospect of our finding oil in the near future has generated an almost reckless optimism.
The Organisation of American States report on the 28th November 2011 elections in Guyana.
All who care to already know that funding is the major ailment affecting the University of Guyana.
Of the seven Caribbean countries surveyed in the recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Citizens Security Survey, Guyana has experienced the greatest loss in human development caused by inequality between the respective achievements of men and women.
Two weeks ago (“PPP/C has an historic opportunity …..:” SN 25/01/12) I promised to address what it is that politicians can mean when they claim that their policy or actions are based on ‘principle.’ This interest arose from what appeared to be an unusual amount of reliance on this concept in our recent political discourse.
Recently, Newt Gingrich criticised President Obama for being too nuanced in his policy-making and Fareed Zakaria, on one of his CNN programmes, rightly wondered why being nuanced should be criticised.
“I mean, since David Granger opposed Nagamootoo because, ipso facto, the defecting may very well be a ‘spy job’ in the making, then what exempts Trotman from that kind of suspicion (from the rest of the lot)?
Notwithstanding all the opposition talk of seeking to create a new political culture in Guyana, its recent antics are as old as the hills, but the PPP/C is not without fault and should not use the opposition’s faux pas to prevent us from moving forward in a timely and efficacious manner.
The current discourse about the election of a speaker for our new National Assembly has been variously described and assessed but here I will discuss the opportunity it presents us to identify and contemplate some important issues, the nature of which are likely to stay with us as we go forward in the present political context.
“The literature suggests that among the non-school factors of school achievement like socioeconomic background, parent’s educational attainment, family structure, ethnicity and parental involvement, it is the latter which is the most strongly connected to attainment.” It has long been known that parental involvement is a powerful tool for enhancing pupil achievement and most schools here and elsewhere try to devise ways of involving parents.
If President Donald Ramotar wants to represent change in and modernisation of the Guyanese political fabric, one of his first priorities must be to put a rein on the type of propaganda with which the PPP has been historically associated.
The 2011 manifesto of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) promised “A Good Life for All Guyanese”: now that it is in a position to help to provide one, we shall see!
Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s “Evil Genius” and Reich Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, who is generally believed to be responsible for bringing that seventeenth century Vatican-created term “propaganda” into disrepute, stated that: “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result ….
In early 1990, Cheddi Jagan walked up the steps of the University of Guyana Social Science building, came to the dean’s office and requested that I agree to join the PPP/C slate for the elections that were due later that year.
“Hi Jeff: has APNU `disappear’ the PNC?” Colourfully put, but not an uncommon query.
A few weeks ago, I argued that when considering manifesto commitments one needs to be aware of, among other things, the disconnect that sometimes exists between
Recently, a parliamentary special select committee, minus the Opposition, reported on the issue of campaign financing.
“We need a space for the Diaspora to contribute to national, regional and international policy dialogue and action.” If anything epitomised the goodwill that greeted the 1992 PPP/C government, it must have been the enthusiasm shown by the thousands of Guyanese who indicated that they wanted to return home, invest here or help the country in some other way.
“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
“Studying history . . . helps [us] to develop a sense of ‘shared humanity’; to understand themselves and ‘otherness,’ by learning how they resemble and how they differ from other people, over time and space; to question stereotypes of others, and of themselves; to discern the difference between fact and conjecture; to grasp the complexity of historical cause; to distrust the simple answer and the dismissive explanation; to respect particularity and avoid false analogy; to recognize the abuse of historical ‘lessons,’ and to weigh the possible consequences of such abuse; to consider that ignorance of the past may make us prisoners of it; to realize that not all problems have solutions; to be prepared for the irrational, the accidental, in human affairs; and to grasp the power of ideas and character in history.” (The Bradley Commission on History in Schools established in 1987 given the expressed concerns about the quantity and quality of the history teaching in American schools.) History comes in various types: social, economical, political, diplomatic, intellectual, cultural, etc.
“You can’t win a political campaign without momentum. With momentum, campaigns roll to victory, without it, they linger into defeat.
Collective planning is impossible without an underlying general consensus on the nature of the problem and the proposed solutions.
The AFC is adamant in its refusal to join a pre-election coalition with old parties mired in old politics and its Acton Plan 2011 speaks of its seeking to establish “A liberal democratic culture for Guyana (based on) Western democratic political systems, such as Australia, the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Canada, India, Brazil and others.” These are however all essentially majoritarian systems with a commitment to political arrangements that are – in my view – fundamentally unsuited to an ethnically divided society such as ours.
On 27 December 2006, Dr Christopher Lamb made a request to the British cabinet office for copies of cabinet minutes and records relating to meetings at which the attorney general’s legal advice concerning military action in Iraq was discussed.
“I thank God, we have no free schools nor printing; and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world; and printing has divulged them and libels against the government.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has now been formally launched and has given us some idea of its core beliefs: immediate post election national unity government, constitutional change to implement shared governance, a strict separation of powers and equitable distribution of the national wealth.
“If any generalization about institutional design is sustainable, given the bloody outcomes of countless political systems that appeared to exclude major cleavage groups from power, it is that majoritarian systems are ill-advised for countries with deep ethnic, regional, religious and other emotional and polarizing divisions.” (Andrew Ellis, “Dilemmas in Representation and Political Identity,” International IDEA, 2006).
“Ethnic groups are constructed social forms as opposed to organic entities that developed naturally over time.
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.
Speaking about the Middle East to the British parliament a few weeks ago, President Obama echoed a long list of political observers when he contended that we must not expect those in power to relinquish it without some resistance.