BY: DR. TARA SINGH
While some people seem to be comfortable with the decision of Gecom’s Chair to set aside Lowenfield’s Elections Report of July 11, 2020 which shows the PNCR coalition with a one-seat lead over the PPP/C, others continue to be apprehensive and express disenchantment over the protracted delay in the declaration of the winner. Today marks 135 days since the elections were held on March 2, 2020. This has been the longest time to declare a winner of elections in any democratic state of the world.
At yesterday’s meeting of the Elections Commission, the Gecom Chair Justice Claudette Singh instructed Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield a fourth time to submit his Elections Report using the recount data as reflected in the 10 certified regional statements of recount. She also said that if Lowenfield continues to defy her instructions, she will request DCEO Myers to prepare the Elections Report, instead. What is clear is that whoever prepares the Elections Report, they have to use the recount data.
While this part of the elections process is being played out, there is a continual conversation on the dire need for shared governance. One of the leading proponents of this idea is Dr David Hinds. He had previously argued that the elections should be scrapped and that an interim government be established with David Granger as the President and presumably Irfaan Ali as the Prime Minister. And between 18 to 24 months after, regional and national elections could be held under a system of shared governance in which the dominant thrust is executive power sharing.
Even if Guyanese accept this unlikely formula, why would they agree to have Granger as interim President and not Irfaan Ali? There are other conceptual issues which I have discussed elsewhere but I will elaborate on a few here. Would Hinds‘ concept of Executive power sharing be confined to the Cabinet? Is he admitting that below this high tier the distribution of power is distorted in such institutions as the armed forces, state boards, the public service, etc? Would an arrangement for executive power sharing also include simultaneous efforts to redress the imbalance in these institutions?
Does Hinds consider whether NDCs, for example, should have greater autonomy and power, especially to raise taxes and local laws? Could he explain how Executive power sharing will lead to the empowerment of the masses? In short, what evidence is there to prove that shared governance is superior to the Westminster “winner-takes-all” (WTA) system?
I would be interested to learn of the performance of a country which has almost similar demographic features as Guyana, and where shared governance has been in force. Above all, how would competition, which theoretically brings out the best results, be realized in a situation of shared governance?
I am open to any new idea or initiative that holds promise for a better life for people. Much more work and analysis are required on this subject. Which among these systems do people need most? Shared governance, inclusive governance or WTA?
A brief definition of inclusive governance is a condition in which the winning party allocates positions to opposition parties at different layers of the government; but that such a system is not necessarily a part of any constitutional arrangement.
In conclusion, I believe that ideas must first be critically researched, analyzed and tested for their efficacy before even thinking of implementing them. It’s not a good practice to foist untested and under-researched ideas upon the people. But let’s continue the conversation.