Unfortunately, since I last wrote, further controversies seem to have arisen regarding the electoral count. Time is now of the essence. There still remains a golden opportunity, perhaps the last opportunity, for our two great Statesmen, President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo, to make a truly heroic, historic advance on a cancer that has plagued our homeland for many decades. Indeed, one might even say that we have lived with racial distrust and animosity for the past 182 years, ever since the British replaced African slavery by Indian indentureship.
Let us now, at last, Gentlemen, have the courage to break out of this colonial straightjacket, to bequeath a more hopeful, cooperative, independent future to a new generation of Guyanese. It can only be a win-win outcome. After the past 70 years of strife and stagnation we should surely now understand the vital importance of free and fair elections being complemented by constitutional reform for a more inclusive form of democracy and governance. Winner-Takes -All is simply not a long-term, sustainable, workable, fair system of governance for Guyana.
President Carter who played a vital role in bringing about free and fair elections in Guyana was himself well aware of this, and did follow up on this concern in his subsequent work on Guyana, especially in later 1990s, up to about 2001. Unfortunately, it did not then bear fruit. Regrettably too, the opportunity was lost of putting the matter upfront, as a precursor to all the elections since 1992, and especially to the most recent elections in 2015 and 2020.
As the recount proceeds, it becomes increasingly urgent for the parties to commit themselves in advance to constitutional reform for inclusive governance, for example, in the form of an addendum, with time-bound targets, to accompany the announcement of the election results. Some such procedure might create a feeling of enhanced confidence in a future of real political participation by all. President Granger, with keen foresight, has opened the way for a new beginning, by committing his party unequivocally to an appropriate form of democratic, inclusive governance, declaring that, on his side, it’s the end of Winner-Takes -All politics.
The modalities for such a form of governance can be complex, but there are numerous precedents around the world. We could benefit from international technical assistance. One possibility might be the Carter Center who have been involved in our political affairs for more than thirty years. They were the only monitoring team that complemented the need to correct electoral flaws with the need for the parties to return to constitutional reform. The tasks of democratic reform will sooner than later also have to tackle other casualties of our dysfunctional system of governance over the past seven decades- the legal system, the electoral system, the parliamentary system, education, the human rights apparatus, among others. The sooner we get our house in order, the sooner we can begin the task of bringing Guyana into the community of modern, responsible, democratic nations.
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