Today we should be celebrating this beautiful nation 54th year as an independent nation, which makes one wonder about what it means to be an independent nation. When you think of what makes a nation independent, one must examine the contents of the Montevideo Convention. In this convention, the first article highlights the four main criteria that are required for a nation to be considered a nation-state: first a permanent population, secondly a defined territory, third a governing body, and fourth the capacity to entire into relations with other states. Guyana safely has met the first two criteria. The third and fourth is currently very questionable. Our government is an interim one as we await election results. The fourth is dependent on the third as threats of sanctions and talks of pariah state loom, based on the credibility of the elections.
As we observe this day, one can reflect on how we acquired our independence. Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, from the 1950s lobbied for the British Guiana to become independent. A constitutional conference was held in London and May 26th 1966 was set as the nation’s Independence Day. At this time, Burnham was the leader of the colony and became the first Prime Minister. Burnham at the constitutional conference is quoted as saying: “Constitutions, I suppose, are implemented or run by politicians but in the final analysis, constitutions are not for politicians and political leaders and political parties, constitutions are for people, that is why we insisted that any constitution that was to come out of the conference should be such that would be acceptable to the majority of the people. Compromises we were prepared to make, compromises we did make, but certain principles could not be compromised on. Such a principle is that of proportional representation.”
Reflecting on all of this today, makes one wonder how can members of Burnham’s precious PNC have the country is such turmoil, claiming they won the elections and it was credible and now at the recounting process finding make-believe faults. Burnham must be rolling in his grave.
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