Aug 06, 2020 Letters
Editor, I note your letters’ column carried a letter from Sean Ori calling for Shared Governance (KN August 4). What exactly is Shared Governance? How does it work?
Shared Governance has been the most mentioned term – not the most debated – in Guyana. And, it has never been properly defined.
I will always consider David Hinds as the person who has promoted this term more than anyone else in the 1990’s. The way he defined it: The prospects of the PNC ever winning an election is nil, given Indians being the majority of the population (probably 51%). Such being the case, he argued that African-Guyanese are “permanently excluded from executive power”. He recommended that PNC and PPP must agree to share the Cabinet – 50% of the Ministers must be PNC, other 50% PPP.
The premise of Hinds’ argument does not exist today. Indians are no longer 51% of the electorate – and the PPP is not guaranteed to win every election. In fact, PNC/AFC won in 2015.
I have always been opposed to Hinds’ concept of Shared Governance. I believe Hinds’ idea is really appeasement and accommodation of “racial voting” and would take Guyana away from the path of forging evolution of real democracy.
Shared Governance is not a solution for what ails Guyana. Perception of parties being ethnic/racial is the real problem. Africans perceive PPP in power as an Indian government; Indians perceive PNC in power as an African government. The solution: both must do much more to change that perception. And, each must try to win over greater shares of support from the alternative race group.
Another name for Shared Governance is consociational or Apanjhaat democracy. It had been tried in Suriname. It blew up in violence in the 1980’s, paving the way for Bouterse to seize power. Africans and Indians play sports together, celebrate each other’s weddings, festivals, drink in the rum shops together. Why can’t they form political parties that are genuinely non-racial?
Ori should spell out what he means by Shared Governance and how it works. Ralph Seeram (former columnist for KN) once listed 25 items that showed Hinds’ concept of Shared Governance will not work; impossible to work.
PNC should assume its role as Opposition party as per the Constitution. PNC should recruit more Indians into its fold and elect an Indian to be its leader. Make itself attractive to Indians and make a serious effort to win over a greater share of Indian support. PNC should apologize to the Indian population for all the fraudulent elections from 1968 – 1985 and the attempt to steal the 2020 election – if only to win their goodwill and begin a political dialogue with that constituency. Reinvent a Winston Murray. That is the key to PNC winning elections in Guyana. Frankly speaking, David Granger came to power in 2015 on a base of Indian support. Shortly after assuming the presidency, he blew-up that Indian base of support – and that’s the main reason why he lost the election in 2020.
Guyana needs leaders who are committed to building genuine democracy. Their first loyalty must be to the State and second to their party.
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