It is clear that our current PR system of governance is not working. In fact, it has failed us and so should be thrown out in a garbage bag. The current system is very toxic and is only tearing us apart as a people. It brings out the worst in us as it pits one ethnic group against the other. I see and hear people say things, which I never expected from my fellow brothers and sisters. Yet I forgive them as I believe that the system is to be blamed. We are all in this together and we can only move forward as a nation if we are united as a people. We depend on each other now, and we need each other to build a better, brighter Guyana tomorrow.
Our current winner-take-all system of governance in highly untenable. It generates a lot of distrust and we need to arrest this situation. It is naive to think that because one ethnic group slightly outnumbers the other(s) that they have total authority to rule over the other(s). We cannot have a system of governance that makes one ethnic group the winner and the other the loser and expect it to be business as usual. No one wants to feel like a second-class citizen in their own country or subservient to their fellow Guyanese with whom they do not share the same ethnicity. We all have our dignity and pride and we need to recognize and respect that. They say when a man would have lost his dignity and pride, he has nothing to live for.
We need a new system of governance, that allows us to fully utilize the skills and talents of all Guyanese regardless of ethnicity. I strongly believe that we need to pursue a first-past-the-post system, where the party that wins a region forms the Government for that region. We do not necessarily have to have 10 regions it can be less – maybe 6 or so. Each region will have its own budget and government. The regions will manage their own affairs – health care, education, utilities, infrastructure, tender boards, judiciary, etc. Each region will be responsible for its own development and have the power to engage foreign investors and grant tax holidays as they deem necessary. There should also be a federal government that will be responsible for things like national security, foreign affairs, federal laws, federal taxes, etc. This way although one party wins the Federal Government all is not lost for the other parties. This system would provide the platform for us to utilize the talents of all Guyanese irrespective of their ethnicity. It will also help to bring us closer together as we move forward in love and unity.
I think for the next five years we should have a Government of National Unity, comprising of all political parties. We should use this period to work together to set up this new system of governance under which we will have new elections in 2025. Each Province in Canada has its own Provincial Government, and each state in the US has its own State Government. This system has worked well for both of these countries and I think it will work miracles for Guyana. I am sure that we can seek help from the international community to help us in this process.
I do not speak here for the PNCR as I have no authority to so do. I speak in my personal capacity as a Guyanese citizen who wants what is best for Guyana, and all my fellow Guyanese brothers and sisters.
I pray that our leaders will put their differences aside and put Guyana first.
Artie Ricknauth, MSc, MBA