Dictators have discovered democracy
After the storm of the Speaker of Parliament controversy dies down, let it be known that this columnist suggested that the PPP should be given the Speaker’s position. I submitted this recommendation with strict legal conditions. I suggested that the Opposition should be generous and offer the Speaker’s chair to the PPP and in turn the PPP should become historic and offer the presidency to the opposition.
The PPP never, I repeat, never, mentioned anything about an exchange during the controversy. The PPP simply and calmly said to the nation, that they should be allowed to choose the Speaker. Not for a moment did PPP leaders offer a realpolitik exchange that went like this; “Let us have the Speaker’s mantle and tell us what you want so we can accommodate you.”
Nothing like that came out of the mouths of any PPP supporter throughout Guyana. The PPP demanded what they wanted to have.
Then the PPP went about the game in its usual comical way. While requesting to have the Speaker’s chair, at least it could have tried to fool the nation and the Opposition. Behave as if you are moving towards democracy. Try to trick the opposition. Change course at Chronicle and NCN.
Check out a public sector corporation and catapult a known Opposition supporter in the CEO role. Do a little thing here and there and make the opposition murmur to themselves; “Boy, Donald changing, we better see what we can do about this Speaker thing.”
Even the commonsense to fool the Opposition the PPP lacks. This is because the only political strategy the PPP knows and understands is absolute power. Citing the tradition of Commonwealth democracies where the Speaker goes to the majority party, the PPP was in a bullying mood. Not even a little window-dressing were these people prepared to engage in to win the Speaker’s role. It was simple and plain language – we want what we want and what we want we must have.
Anyone who wants to fool themselves about the intention of the PPP after November 28, 2011 is entitled to do just that. But if there is any indication that the post-election government is going to pursue absolute power then the PPP’s attitude on the Speaker of Parliament issue is graphic testimony we are in for Jagdeo-style hegemony. My point is extraordinarily simple.
I am contending that the PPP was not prepared to give anything to have the edge in Parliament. It was not willing to even temper the excesses and nastiness of the Chronicle just to appease the Opposition.
We come now to the comic strip part. The nation is told by PPP leaders that in Commonwealth democracies, the Speaker’s chair goes to the majority party. But is Guyana a Commonwealth democracy? Cathy Hughes brilliantly answered that question. She said that there is no Commonwealth democracy that has an Executive President with the kind of constitutionally unrestrained power as what obtains in Guyana. At least the PPP could try and reply to that.
If my memory serves me right, Commonwealth democracies have an Ombudsman. At least the PPP could have engaged in some open deceit and rush and appoint an Ombudsman and then yell from the rooftop that Guyana is a democracy; it has an Ombudsman. Even such basic commonsense the PPP lacks. Let us see what other Commonwealth democracies have that Guyana lacks.
There is the Freedom of Information Act. Commonwealth countries have this. What Guyana has is a caricatured version. Do they allow party leaders to become Parliamentary Secretaries in the Commonwealth? The answer is no.
In the Jagdeo Government, three PSs were in the PPP’s Central Committee. At the moment the Ramotar Government has two. Again if my memory serves me right, Commonwealth democracies have Human Rights Commissions. Where is that in Guyana?
Here is the one I like. In which Commonwealth territory is there one radio station only? The answer is none. But wait! There is more. If my memory serves me right once more, the present Guyana Government which is citing traditions in Commonwealth democracies has been in power since 1992.
Now what could have caused them not to see, after nineteen years in power, that there isn’t a Commonwealth country that has just one radio station? It is tragic and funny that as PPP leaders open their mouths to speak about politics, they end up looking like circus clowns. If the circus was in town during the election season, the PPP leaders would have employed it in their election campaign.