All those who have been mouthing about the need for shared governance but are now trying to demand new arrangements for the governance of Guyana should now be taken less seriously.
Over the years, ever since it seems as if it may be a mission impossible to unseat the PPP through free and fair elections, there have been numerous proposals and models about shared governance.
From executive power sharing to a government of national unity, there has been no shortage of examples of how Guyana ought to proceed so as to resolve what is deemed, its “political problem.”
Those making these proposals however have never pointed to a single example of where power sharing or shared governance has been successful.
And the reason why they cannot point to any example of successful shared governance is because none exists.
All the attempts that have been made have ended in frustration and a resort back to traditional ways of governing. Power sharing has been a dismal failure in Fiji, in South Africa, in Northern Ireland and even in Zimbabwe.
It has simply not worked and will not work because in most instances those who claim to be interested in power sharing are really only interested in power, not the sharing of it.
In Guyana we have had our full share of power sharing proposals. One person even suggested that we start at the lowest common denominator, but this was rejected on the grounds that power at the top is what is important. That rejection in itself suggests that power rather than its sharing seems to be the predominant driving force behind the proposals that were advanced in the past.
The people of Guyana, at the 2011 elections, have provided the political forces in this country with a model that will test whether those speaking about shared governance or power sharing are really serious.
By virtue of the ruling party not gaining a majority of seats in the National Assembly, one party now holds executive power while the combined opposition holds legislative power. Is this not a power -sharing model?
And is this not something that could lead to the sort of political compromises and political unity that has been so preached about? Or is this new arrangement which the electorate of Guyana has caused to bring into being not agreeable to those who claim to want shared governance?
As things presently stand, the government will rule but cannot pass any laws, including its Budget Bills, unless it gains the support of one or both of the opposition parties.
This means that there will have to be greater consensus on matters before the Assembly before the government can effectively govern. This is shared governance, is it not?
So why then are those who have been calling for power sharing all these years, not jumping with joy? Is it because the real objective has never been about sharing power but instead about gaining power? The next few months will tell.
The next few months will also decide whether the failure of the government to secure a majority in the National Assembly will lead to gridlock in the administration of the affairs of the country.
Will the fact that the party that has won the presidency but not having a majority in the National Assembly leave it hamstring in its ability to govern Guyana?
Will the new arrangement under which one party has executive power and the combined parliamentary opposition has legislative power, going to make Guyana an ungovernable state with gridlock in decision making? And will this experience cause the Guyanese people to reject power sharing in its entirety?
Make no mistake about it. It is not the future of the PPP that is at stake in Guyana. The PPP is likely to rebound from its electoral humiliation of falling just shy of a parliamentary majority.
What is at stake is the future of power sharing or shared governance because if over the next few months, the Guyanese people witness political gridlock, if the government becomes paralyzed because of the failure of the political parties to reach agreement in parliament, if by next March an agreement cannot be reached to pay public workers, then the people of Guyana are not going to reject the ruling party. The ruling party when it had a majority paid the workers every month on time.
The Guyanese people are going to reject totally shared governance and they are going to do so by pointing out that power sharing has not worked anywhere in the world.
And when the people of Guyana reject power sharing, there is going to be a political fallout for those who were touting it all these years.
Power sharing is on trial. The next few months will decide whether it is ever heard from again in Guyana’s political history.
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