Sir Shridath expects adherence to Constitution, Constitutional Reform
DISTINGUISHED Guyanese diplomat Sir Shridath Ramphal has said that once the proceedings before the High Court regarding Guyana’s electoral situation are ruled upon in accordance with the Constitution, political parties in Guyana must be able to move forward, knowing that the Rule of Law crafted decades ago prevailed, and avenues are there for improvement.
In a statement on Sunday, Sir Shridath said: “If events next week are treated with the solemnity and purpose asserted in every Constitution of Guyana since independence, based on commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and in the spirit they proclaim of ‘reconciliation and cooperation’, our nation has every opportunity to overcome and prosper. When the Court pronounces next week, it is upon what is truly constitutional that it must pronounce. By so doing, it will allow all the parties and the people of Guyana to move forward lawfully, and in fulfilment of their solemn pledge to each other.”
Sir Shridath, who had a hand in writing the Constitutions of Independent Guyana in 1966; the Republic of Guyana in 1970, and the 1980 Constitution, said that in each of them the same declaration rings through, “Guyana shall be a sovereign democratic State.”
He said that the 1980 Constitution, which stands today, declares that Guyanese are proud crafters of a system of governance that promotes “concerted effort and broad-based participation in national decision-making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community, based on democratic values, social justice, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law.”
The fundamental laws were adopted, amended over time, and inspired by the “collective quest for a perfect nation” which holds true to the characteristics of the said Constitution.
Sir Shridath said that in these words lie the DNA of Runnymede, the French Revolution, the American founding fathers, the genes of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America and the Anti-Apartheid struggle in Southern Africa, in which an impoverished Guyana played a noble part.
The “collective quest for a perfect nation”, he pointed out, remains the collective goal of the Guyanese people. However, he noted and encouraged the return to the 1998 Herdmanston Accord, which he said called for constitutional reform and outlined the process to achieve it.
CARICOM brokered the Herdmanston Accord with the Leaders of Guyana’s two main political parties following the post- December 15, 1997 election unrest. It included an agreement to complete the reform of the 1980 Constitution.