I am not a lawyer but I have learnt from my long years in social activism that Eusi Kwayana was as good as any lawyer in interpreting laws. Kwayana fought many cases in court himself. A non-lawyer is capable of understanding laws just as the learned attorney can. My reading of the 1980 constitution is that the fulcrum of the government is the executive presidency.
So powerful is the presidency that he/she presides over a Cabinet that constitutionally serves at the behest of the presidency. Under the 1966 constitution, the Cabinet had more independence than the 1980 document. For a brilliant exposition on the difference in the role of the Cabinet under the two constitutions, see chapter 5 under the heading, “presidentialism in the Guyana constitution” in the fantastic book on the Guyana constitution by professors Rudy James and Harold Lutchman titled, “Law and the Political Environment.”
WPA wrote that the only government before and after Independence that did not arrest or jail or murder its critics is the Granger government. I rejected that and counter-argued that the Cheddi Jagan government has that record. In my rejection as contained in my column of Friday, October 4, 2019, with the caption, “Is the WPA distorting the Jagan presidency for racist reasons?” I wrote the following; “This fiction is either motivated by racist sentiments or psychological instability. The Cheddi Jagan presidency 1992-1997 was a far more popular administration than the current APNU+AFC regime. No political critic during the Cheddi Jagan government was ever arrested muchless murdered. In fact, critics of the Jagan presidency had less to fear than the current environment we currently live in.”
I used three different labels to describe the Jagan regime of 1992 in my repudiation of the WPA’s distortion in that quote above. They are “government,” “administration,” and “presidency.” I believe and still do and will maintain that all three descriptions are identical in meaning and legally interchangeable. The Jagan government, the Jagan presidency and the Jagan administration in my opinion are referring to the same entity.
In replying to me, David wrote; “The WPA sticks by its observation. It is a matter of classification. WPA is talking about governments while Freddie is talking about presidencies.” I beg to differ. Are the government of Guyana and the presidency of Guyana two different formations? They cannot be different in terms of power and authority because these variables reside in the executive presidency which is the apex of the government.”
There is no conceptual and political difference in the following two statements; “it was under the Harry Jones government the capital of the country was renamed” and “it was under the Harry Jones presidency the capital was renamed.” I would like someone to educate me in showing me how a government with an executive president can rename its capital but it would be incorrect to say the capital was renamed during the presidency of the Jones but instead under the Jones government.
I am not going to pursue this imaginary difference but end the polemic by a pellucid adumbration. Here it is. The Jagan government (if that makes David happy) of 1992-1997 did not even attempt muchless arrested, jailed or murdered even one of its critics. In this regards, I believe the Jagan government (the word government again), is morally superior to the Granger government.
It was under the Granger presidency and the Granger government that a grenade was thrown at the publisher of the leading newspaper. If it had exploded, death would have occurred. Now a mischievous mind can connect the attack which occurred in July with the paper’s reporting on the China trip of Minister Joe Harmon. Out of that kind of reporting, government supporters picketed the newspaper.
The following question is plausible; is there a connection? I don’t know. There is no evidence so far that there is a link. But people in Guyana use their imagination for sordid political reasons. To date, there is no proof that Charrandass took a bribe to vote yes in the no-confidence motion. Prominent names are not willing to discount the possibility. Tacuma Ogunseye of the WPA and former PNC parliamentarian and UG lecturer, Sherwood Lowe, are in this group. Moses Nagamootoo and Barrington Braithwaite are more assertive. They wrote in the Chronicle that Charran was indeed bribed.
So would these gentlemen tell us what is the motive behind the grenade attack? Was there a political factor at work? However you look at it, there was an attempt on Mr. Lall’s life during the government and presidency of David Granger. No such evil occurred when Jagan was president or when there was the Jagan government.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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