DR. HENRY Jeffrey in his “Future Notes” column that was published on Wednesday, December 14.2018, in the Stabroek News (SN), captioned “Guyana has never been the home of all Guyanese”, gave his response to the observations I made in relation to his shared governance proposal in his previous SN column on O7. 11.2018.
Interestingly, in his defense, Dr Jeffrey resorted to putting the onus/responsibility on me, and readers of his column, to believe that he had not intended to convey the impression for the president to act unilaterally and not to consult with his party, his allies and the PPP. Dr. Jeffrey in his letter contended that it was absurd for me to think that the president will ‘make an offer without first having some discourse with the PPP…’
Many years ago when I ventured into writing politically for public consumption, I was advised by brother Eusi Kawayana, that care should be taken to avoid writing in a manner that puts the burden on the reader to guess your intention. This advice is something I believe that Dr. Jeffrey should give consideration to and, if he sees merit in it, adopt in his writings.
Dr. Jeffrey is an academic of high repute and should be aware of his obligation to his readers as a writer. If he had assumed that obligation in the first instance, as he has since done in his reply, I would not have engaged the proposal and would not have felt the need to point out the pitfalls in his well-intended initiative.
Dr. Jeffery said, that I was utilising, ‘…devices such as consultation and unilateralism‘, to defend the government’s inaction on its election commitment to constitutional reform and national government – shared governance. This was never my intention. My primary concern was the possible consequences of the president acting unilaterally given the implications for African and national politics. Having cleared the air on that matter, I will now address Dr. Jeffery’s primary political question, which he posed to me in his polemic.
He wrote: ‘…. and perhaps informed us whether he, a long-time supporter of shared governance, has now become a rejectionist’. Without hesitation, I wish to assure Dr. Henry Jeffrey and the nation that my commitment to shared governance and my conviction that this is the solution to the national historic race/politics and winner take all governance, has not wavered one iota post-2015 defeat of the PPPC. Almost on a daily basis in discussions with people, activists, and non-activists, I deliberately seek every opportunity to point out that the solution to our political and economic problems require shared governance. I see no reason to do otherwise, given our known reality.
I have for some time, refrained from public advocacy or polemics on shared governance. This position was explained in a letter which I had written very early in the life of the present government. Notwithstanding the fact that I cannot, at this moment, locate the letter, I distinctly recall saying that the bad blood which flows between the two forces post elections, the PPPC ‘s insistence that the elections have always been rigged to deprive them of power, and the obvious triumphalism among APNU+AFC coalition leaders and supporters post 2015 elections, make advocacy for shared governance in the present situation, wishful thinking, since neither side is really interested in that form of governance. I had also pointed out that the PPP’s attitude toward shared governance will only change if that party loses the 2020 General and Regional elections.
It is my considered judgment that the attitudes of the major political parties to shared governance remain unchanged. But since Dr. Jeffery, who is better informed than me on the PPPC’s disposition on the matter advises otherwise, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept his opinion that my position on the PPPC/s perceived non-interest is too rigid.
Finally, the local government elections are over and the results are known. Dr. Henry Jeffery now has his work cut out. My question, now that the PPP had strong showings and many victories at the just concluded LGEs, is Jeffery still optimistic that the results of those elections can be the basis for meaningful shared governance discussions between the two major parties? The victorious and triumphant PPP leader Bharrat Jagdeo, is on record as saying that the PPP is now turning its attention to the 2020 elections. Presumably, the APNU+AFC are in the same mood. It is anyone’s guess where this leaves Jeffery’s very patriotic proposal.