Feb 28, 2012 Letters
Peeping Tom does not understand politics. He clearly does not understand power. His column titled “The PPP is reaping what it has sown” (KN, February 14, 2012) highlights his ignorance of these key realms.
In a situation like Guyana’s where a presidential republican system exists, a minority government can result, meaning the presidency can be controlled by one party and the Parliament by another.
Contrary to Peeping Tom’s misbeliefs, it would be an absurdity and contrary to the concept of separation of powers and the notion of democracy for the parties controlling the Parliament to relinquish power to the party controlling the Presidency.
Allowing the party that controls the presidency to control the Speaker and the Committees of Parliament when that party lacks a majority in Parliament would lead to constitutional dictatorship.
The protocols that exist in non-republican systems with a Prime Minister who is also a Member of Parliament and a ceremonial president cannot be applied to Guyana with a President who is not subject to Parliament.
By its very nature, the current failed Guyanese political system is meant to operate in the manner of the American system. Similar to what we have seen with the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, we can have the Parliament and the Presidency controlled by two different parties.
The doctrine of separation of powers requires the legislature (Parliament) to be separated from the executive (presidency) in this case to improve the workings of democracy. Inordinate power already exists in the presidency thanks to Burnham.
The public squabbling over the Speaker selection shows how misinformed the Guyanese public is about the workings of power.
For those who are confused or who believe power in this constitutional structure must be absolute just think of what happened two years ago to Barack Obama when the Republicans won control of the American version of Parliament.
Do not be corrupted by the manner in which the PNC and PPP have misused power and use it as the guide to how you think power should operate. Do not let dictatorship and autocracy corrupt your ability to think clearly about how power should be distributed for democracy to work.
Therefore, it is imperative that Parliament assert its independence when it holds power separate from the presidency. It is for the good of the nation. Peeping Tom complains that winner-takes-all politics obtains in Parliament.
And it should, because winner takes all obtains in the presidency which gets to select all the ministers, appoint heads to various boards and commissions and select Cabinet.
A Parliament in a minority government must hold the government to account when necessary and cooperate when expedient.
Think America and see how that country works despite its Parliament being controlled by the Republicans while a Democratic president controls the executive.
Both the Parliament and the Presidency must flex their muscles in a minority government while keeping each other in check. The PPP is making a mockery of democracy with its false cries and crocodile tears.
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