Allow me please to add ideas and offer my support for the furtherance of the outstanding proposal published in your Tuesday, March 10, 2020 on behalf of Eusi Kwayana and Moses Bhagwan, calling for the emergence of a governance formula. A formula that allows for the installation of a unity government in Guyana, as a compromise remedy within the context of exacerbated tensions, divisions and mistrust in our society arising from the conduct of the 2020 elections.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Kwayana/Bhagwan forecast of Guyana going “south” to a dangerously frightening precipice, either way the resolution of the 2020 election goes, is absolutely clear-sighted. Both parties have brought their basses and supporters to the pinnacle of expectant emotions for a favourable outcome, leaving no room for recoil and conciliation. The end results are predictably catastrophic for the elusive Guyanese identity and destiny.
It is my considered view therefore, that this noble call has ran its course in oblivion long enough and must, as a matter of national cruciality and imperativeness, be brought to the fore as a timely and plausible remedy that could potentially allow for the emergence of the One Guyana envisioned and desired by the crafters of our solemn motto, and indeed by the majority of Guyanese.
I propose however, that the Unity Cabinet/Governance Council formula and a concomitantly adopted Parliamentary formula allow for equal division of the combined percentages of the votes earned by each of the two leading parties, the PPP/C and the APNU/AFC, and proportional division or assignment en bloc of the remaining votes, to the other parties winning parliamentary seats.
The Presidency should be rotated annually between the two leading sides, to further the appearance of justice, trust and confidence building apparent in the equal proportionment of seats.
It is also my considered view, that a number of other significant and crucial measures should be part and parcel of the compromise model to be formulated and implemented within one hundred day of the government taking office.
These should include:
1. A restructured Guyana Elections Commission as a purely civic body, without party representatives, with sweeping campaign financing and conduct oversight and punitive powers.
- A restructured Ethnic Relations Commission with a strong mandate to develop and implement far-reaching national, regional, community based and direct contact social sciences programmes, that are expertly grounded in global best practices and geared towards facilitating inter-cultural dialogue and engendering behaviour change at every level of the society. The dismantling of the inherent and learned notions and practices of racism in our society must be foremost on the Commission’s agenda. The commission must also be empowered to administer punitive measures for breaches of a hitherto developed National Racism Code.
- Public Defender Commission to absorb the roles of the various complaints commissions and the inactive Ombudsman’s Office currently in place and, with additional powers to take petitions directly to Parliament on behalf of ordinary citizens who are able to secure a specified number of co-sponsors on matters and proposals of national importance.
- A People’s Empowerment Commission which administers a multi-billion dollar fund for interest-free loans and small grants for every Guyanese citizen born in Guyana. Loans could be generously capped to ten million per person, accessible every five years. While grants could be capped to one million per person accessible every two years. The commission should also be empowered to incentivize gainful occupation by citizens outside of formal employment, in some form of educational institution or skill training programmes and community service.
- A Truth, Reconciliation and Remedial Commission, empowered to examine ancestral and industrial land issues, and other current and historical grievances among the various ethnic and social groups and, provide full and acceptable remedies towards the achievement of national equity.
- A Development Equity Commission empowered to scrutinize all projects and programmes of the government to ensure equity in services, capacity building and empowerment for all of Guyana’s peoples.
- The appointment of an autonomous Contractor General to police compliance at every stage of contract awards and ensure that tax payers get best value for money.
- The new government must also review the inaction of the Constitutional Reform Commission and issue a new mandate, compelling conclusion of its work within two years.
The foregoing commissions proposed should have temporary status covered by whatever provisions are put in place for the temporary governance model, and should be given constitutional authority and autonomous funding rights, directly from the Consolidated Fund, under the new constitution.
This national unity governance model being promulgated should be adopted for a temporary life of five years and institutionalized under the new constitution for permanence, with new elections set for2030.
The much touted “decade of development” could now be expanded to proportionally include ideas from the manifestos of all the parties comprising the unity government and implemented as a joint national plan for all Guyana and all Guyanese.
When the international mediators who are now lining up to come broker another accord arrive, they must find plausible organic ideas and proposals already on the table, allowing the mediation process to produce a solution of Guyanese origin, brokered with just an international touch.
I therefore call on as many Guyanese as possible to dissect these proposals, add and subtract from them and posit ideas of your own, regardless of political affiliation, station in life… real or perceived, or regardless of “your lane”, expertise or no expertise, if you are a Guyanese, you should have a say, for we are all involved, we are all consumed.
Guyanese and proud Lindener