I REFER refer to Oliver Thomasí ìThe shared governance debateî of April 25, 2020 in the Guyana Chronicle, particularly the paragraph which reads, ìWhy is shared governance only discussed when there is a major dispute as to the victor of the election?î
Though I certainly do understand the thrust of Mr. Thomasís letter, I beg to differ somewhat with his observation, as to the moments in our political milieu when such calls are made. Yes, he is certainly correct in identifying that particular time of such calls, since they have been a prominent feature of public debate, post March 02. But it is a topic, which always comes to the fore whenever there are socio-political instances that threaten the national fabric. In fact, it has been a very vocal call following the No-Confidence Motion.
However, there is a reality which must be accepted, depending on oneís understanding of our historical problems ñ it is certainly an idea which time has been long overdue, and which should be initiated as a key topic for a national conversation. Further, I agree with Thomasí questions as to what I interpret as to its method of implementation, which one believes can only be further examined, and discussed in the larger ambit of Constitutional reform.
Having said that, there are some hard realities, which must be understood about the question of shared governance, in our historical circumstance. First, there has to be political will, to pursue a process which can only be brought to a successfully conclusive summit, with both the major political stakeholders as willing participants. And here is where the root of the problem lies.
As an example, one refers to the 2006 national and regional elections, immediately after which, there was a meeting between a high representative of the Afro Guyanese cultural community and then president Bharat Jagdeo, where the issue of inclusivity ñ is this the same as shared governance? – was discussed. I stand to be corrected by saying that Jagdeo, in a publicly aired statement, immediately after, said that he believed in an ìenhanced frameworkî for dealing with such a matter. This was a counter to the emissaryís proposal, which effectively threw the latter through the window. It was not a surprise, given the fact that there were already rumours of prior, similar engagements with the leader of the then PNC/R on such a question, but with no conclusive result.
One must now come to the 2015 polls, its results, and President Grangerís public offer of unity talks with the PPP/C, given the fact of the message of the narrow margin of victory, and its reflection of a divided country. It was a proposal, which none other than Ralph Ramkarran, welcomed; but concluded that since it had been rejected by Jagdeo, suggested that President Granger take it to the people, instead. No wonder Jagdeo did his utmost to heighten the racial tension for the entire period from 2015.
In seeking to understand Jagdeoís refusal, one must understand the historical mindset of the PPP/Cís politics of governance: That they have the self-endowed belief of the divine right of rule, because of the perception of statistical dominance of their ethnic base. In other words, this was also politically cultural, as it became the Partyís masthead for the policy of institutional racism, that underpinned racial dominance. This was clearly seen during their 23-year regime, in their ethnic strategy of ethnic marginalization. This was a decided policy of governance, nailing the pretence and lie of former president Donald Ramotar, that inclusive government could only occur, after ensuring ìtrustî. It was a most sordid excuse for his party and succeeding government, not to even attempt to explore such a possibility.
Even in the wider mainstream of the PPP/Cís support base, it is noticeable that none of their senior spokespersons, and even daily horde of letter writers, have made a pitch for inclusive government in their often scurrilous paragraphs. Well, how can they, when their missives are often written from the cesspool of misinformation, lies and fake news!
To highlight the PPP/Cís singular belief in the politics of dominance, one only has to observe the deviousness of their dealings with some of the smaller parties that contested the March polls. Rather than make an offer of a genuine agreement of a joint slate, they simply inveigled them into the net of being surrogates, to execute their treacherous bidding. For the PPP/C, it is ALL THEIR WAY, AND NO ONE ELSEíS. Nothing in the PPP/Cís modern political track record reflects a belief in shared governance/inclusivity.
Let us understand that the question of inclusive governance/shared governance, is very much pertinent to the political future of Guyana. But it must not be held hostage, to the politics of ethnic domination, and become a bargaining chip for those who have since post – May 2015, been seeking to exonerate themselves from the venalities of the criminal state, experienced during their stewardship for over two destructive decades.