There is a tension between multiethnic cohesion and the imperatives of the winner-takes-all electoral system we have embraced. That tension is being played out in the current political impasse. Some people have invoked the absoluteness of the electoral system as laid out by the constitution. They argue that consideration of any other construct must come after an outcome of the winner-takes-all election. On the other hand, it is argued that the very fact that after four months the winner-takes-all election has not thrown up a declared winner, points to its inadequacy in meeting the democratic needs of the country.
Those of us who advocate for a power sharing executive as a solution to the impasse do so out of concern for the stability of the country. It is by no means a disregard for democracy. In fact, it is meant in the final analysis to strengthen democracy. It, of course, responds to a broader form of democracy that goes beyond the formal simple majoritarian democracy under which the election was contested.
That reasonable proposition is seen as anti-democratic and is framed as a move to deny victory to those who have claimed it for their respective parties. Yet, despite those claims, after 19 weeks we are still to have a declaration of the winner. Whatever the reasons advanced by both sides for the delay, the fact is that the formal system has not thrown up a declared winner. Whether we do so now or next year, we must at some point accept that something is wrong with our system of choosing a government.
From my standpoint we must begin with a critique and abolishment of the winner-take-all system. The implicit embrace of potential and actual one-party dominance encourages a zero-sum competition which in turn leads to the electoral gridlock we are currently experiencing. But the lure of absolute power makes it exceedingly difficult for our leaders and their followers to even begin to consider an alternative form of contestation and governance. This explains the six decades of debate of power sharing without any actual positive outcomes.
This inability to move beyond winner-takes-all is further fuelled by the unreasonable advocacy by some that racial sentiments are akin to false consciousness. They reason that people vote along racial lines because they are encouraged to do so by racists and by the major parties. There is also the new narrative that there is no need for power sharing since there is no longer a majority ethnic group. This means that we can have frequent turnover of governments, thus bringing us to the end of race in Guyana. In this post-racial Guyana, the insecurities and fears of the ethnic groups will evaporate, and Guyana would achieve its aspiration of one people, one nation, one destiny.
I am not so optimistic that there is a causal relationship between the decline of a majority group and the death of racial elections. In fact, I believe the situation would be hardened as the 2020 election is teaching us. It is for that reason that I believe that power sharing is a superior option to one-party governance and could get us out of the current impasse.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
More of Dr. Hinds’ writings and commentaries can be found on his YouTube Channel Hinds’ Sight: Dr. David Hinds’ Guyana-Caribbean Politics and on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.news. Send comments to [email protected]
Aug 11, 2020The Americas Board was informed about the decisions of the FIBA Executive Committee regarding the FIBA Calendar for World and Senior Continental Competitions in case the November window of the...
Aug 11, 2020
Aug 10, 2020
Aug 09, 2020
Aug 09, 2020
Aug 08, 2020
Clement Rohee has a letter in the August 1, edition newspapers. When you read it, you cannot help but think that Rohee is... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]