PRESIDENT Granger has alluded to the end of winner-takes-all politics in Guyana, into a system that will expand into shared governance that includes political parties who have won seats at general elections in the administration of the country. This will not be an easy task to develop, but it can be done; it has been done before in other parts of the world, but it must take the interests, requests and arguments of the positions of the citizenry as its sole platform, thus, placing the human, social and cultural anatomy of Guyana into real context and not just ‘neat’ superficial cabinet catalogue file headings void of any functional substance. The proposals of shared governance cannot be constructed on political slate inferences; we have seen the betrayals, shape-shifting, petulant revenge vexations and tag-along culture that inhabits many of that lot, though there are a select few that do make grounded contributions, which indeed fill the void. ACDA from its inception has recognised that wider participation is inevitable to avoid marginalisation in areas outside of the mental and cultural make-up of the other, should the ‘other’ be the sole authority of our distinct differences and partition creeds. Since ACDA’s formation, it has argued and demonstrated throughout the past two decades-plus how much a reality that these disparities are.
Halim Majeed in his book “Forbes Burnham-national reconciliation and national unity 1984-85,” gave us a straightforward narrative of that attempt with a useful bibliography; that would have evolved to a possible state of ‘Shared governance’ had former President Forbes Burnham not passed. However, that may not have had the required ingredients to address what politicians may interpret as the mere administration of Ministries. A far more in-depth, practical and realistic approach has to be added from the overwhelming evidence which at times politicians prefer to ignore. Policies evolve from systems put in place through thorough participation with persons who represent and have acquired experience, and in collaboration with persons who may have invested time and scholarship in anthropological and investigative research in related areas.
Guyana, like most old colonies, evolved a cultural expression and identity unique to its Old and New-World experience, upon the threshold of its modern era. From the 1630s to the 1850s the creole culture was established through a Dutch and Anglo- Saxon interaction with its multi-African and Indigenous fusion. The period of indentureship found fixed cultural norms, related to a vast New World (The Americas) cultural landscape divided by borders and languages that included Spanish and Portuguese, but with common cultural indexes at various levels.
Narrowing to Guyana, the landscape is multi-cultural but without clarifications for separation and development, where necessary, because all are conveniently dumped into one national indexed drawer, to be devalued or supported based on who is politically in charge, whether they understand or not, to be treated as a disinterested ritual of duty or annoyance. A vast area of cottage industries, cultural industries and the Arts suffer if the mentioned do not fit into the interests of the specific political culture. Resulting in marginalisation that severely impoverishes groups not identified as part of their constituency, or even in favourable political management by the wrong people in the right place. Thus shared governance must take into consideration ‘Partition Creeds.’
The country is divided by two political factors, the APNU+AFC and the PPP. Their real constituencies are culturally in separate creeds and factions, also are smaller factions enveloped in inherited colonial partition creeds. What constitutes ‘Partition Creeds’? This cannot be discussed in flowery language. The PPP has always been the national and cultural underdog (I can publically debate this if necessary) and this is not a race issue though racism did emerge to become a pivotal weapon. Janet Jagan-Rosenberg was not a Guyanese and there was nothing that indicated that she had any interests in the culture or history of Guyana. Her philosophy and purpose resided in Stalinist communism and unfortunately, we were her ceramic studio through the PPP.
Comparing the 1992-2014 PPP/C period against the 2015- 2020 APNU+AFC to date, a concise analysis can be easily made concerning the spirit breathed into sports, culture, relative developments in keeping with historical precedents, and the overall national identity of Guyana by the latter, which did not emerge as even recognised by the previous PPP/C administration, nor was a willingness to collaborate when the necessity demanded, as with 1823 Parade ground debate among other examples too many to include in a limited article. Shared governance in Guyana will have to confront the thinking of the politically sustained race-based caste-tenets that are a part of the Indo-Guyanese heritage as against the tenets of the tribal heritage of Africans, Amerindians and others. The term ideological racism has been introduced with supporting overwhelming evidence into the public consciousness by Frederick Kissoon and cannot be dismissed as ranting. No current propaganda ethnic face dressings can alter the administrative methodology executed in that evidence provided and independently observed.
This article is the first with respect to shared governance as advocated by ACDA from our beginnings, and recently indicated by President Granger. What must be understood in closing is that in exploring ‘Partition Creeds’ is a process long due, towards evolving with functional principles towards co-existence, the divisive fictions must be addressed. What is still relevant is a national information centre, housing and disseminating information through screened booklets on national business, rather than by the half-truths of politicians and other public attention grabbers. This is the idea behind the National Heritage Commission.