I refer to your editorial of Sunday August 14 captioned “Civil Society and Change” and wish to take the opportunity afforded by your columns to make the following contribution by referring to the constitutional provision relating to this matter.
Article 13 of the 1980 Constitution provided for the involvement of civil society in the governance of the State in the following terms – “The
principal objective of the political system of the State is to extend Socialist democracy by providing opportunities for the participation of citizens in the management and decision – making processes of the State”
In the Constitutional revision undertaken in the post 1992 period, Article 13, without its expressed Socialist objective, now reads as follows – “13 The principal objective of the political system is to establish an inclusionary democracy by providing increasing opportunities for the participation of citizens and their organizations in the management and decision – making processes of the State with particular emphasis on those areas of decision – making that directly affect their well-being”.
The reality is that the aspirations of Article 13 have not as yet been realized. It may be, that laudable as the concept of civil society representation in the decision-making processes of the State maybe, the decision makers, in my opinion, perhaps envisage difficulties in implementing Article 13 effectively in Guyana having regard to the several entities representing interests falling under the umbrella of Civil Society and likely to claim to be involved in the process.
Presumably, the National Assembly will determine the number of persons to represent civil society in the legislative body.
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