Sunday, August 9, 2009

All the constitutional commissions should be set up without further delay

All the constitutional commissions should be set up without further delay

Posted By Stabroek staff On July 20, 2009 @ 5:06 am In Letters | 23 Comments

Dear Editor,

The National Stakeholder’s Meeting under the Chairmanship of the President on March 12, 2008, came to the consensus (the so-called Bourda Accord) that six constitutional commissions would be formed to enhance our governance framework in Guyana. The evidence to date is a sad reflection on the quality of our leadership.

This is the implementation rate:

1. Public Procurement Commission – not formed

2. Ethnic Relations Commission – up and running under Bishop Edghill (great organisation that has done some good work)

3. Human Rights Commission – not formed

4. Women and Gender Equity Commission – constituted on May 22, 2009 (11 months behind schedule)

5. Indigenous Peoples Commission – not formed

6. Rights of the Child Commission – constituted on May 14, 2009 (11 months behind schedule)

Look at the performance above, are we really serious about our future as a country when one year after the deadline, we are still running around with no clear plan on when we are going to conclude the commitments made to the people of Guyana. How can a people trust their leaders when their words are not even worth the paper they are printed on?

In my previous letters, I made it clear that Guyana biggest developmental challenge was its social cohesion (not the side issues like Low Carbon Strategy). All the low carbon initiatives will go to zero if the brothers in Buxton or Den Amstel do not feel that they have ownership in the Guyanese system.

Guyana does not need extremists, it needs practical project managers; it needs leaders who can inspire the people, and it needs leaders who can lead by example. Guyana must fix its foundations first before we can present our case to the world. These six commissions can go a far way in helping us to fix our foundation and have the ‘bolted-on’ benefit of giving non-political stakeholders (civil society) an opportunity to support the governance process in vital areas such as public procurement. There are serious concerns with our procurement system and it would be best to dispel that perception by the urgent formation of the Public Procurement Commission.

If Cheddi Jagan was alive, this would have been a done deal. Therefore, why are the inheritors of his legacy playing politics with the core values of the father of the nation – lean, clean, mean, transparency and accountability? Do they not agree with his belief system any more? Is it OK in Guyana today to accept privileges such as the single sourcing of very large, multi-year, non-emergency, long-term contracts without following the letter of the law?

I do not subscribe to the political persuasion of the likes of Mark Benschop or Lincoln Lewis but their recent arrest for a peaceful, public protest clearly revealed to me that ‘Burnham is back.’ Do we not have a right to express ourselves peacefully and publicly any more in Guyana? The official who authorised this arrest is either out to embarrass the government or is clearly on a dictatorial attitudinal path.

My elders like Komal Chand, Nanda Gopaul, Lloyd Daniels, Gordon Todd and Charles Sampson (in Linden) did not fight for these freedoms for the state to erode them today. The people and the press have the right to question their leaders without fear or favour and can use peaceful protest as a method of questioning. Is Guyana now in the space where law-abiding citizens have to fear the bandits as well as the police? Who then is there to protect and serve the law-abiding citizens?

Our indigenous people have always been the most abused in Guyana but the time has arrived for these people to pursue aggressively their rights as an equal partner in the Guyana nation-building process by taking greater responsibility for their lives.

Credit must go to the PPP for all the hard work they have done in repositioning these people in the right space. An Indigenous Peoples Commission can facilitate ‘new-build’ on this foundation and it is an injustice to the original people of Guyana to have this opportunity delayed. Abuse of the indigenous people always is there, but with a commission like this one on their side, it creates the mechanism for them to move forward as a collective.

I am confident that the poor and the working class have lost power since the Jagans left the Office of the President. However, this situation has created an opportunity for a critical mass of leaders within the PPP, the AFC, and GAP/ROAR to regain that lost ground (well the PNC is floating around out there and very lost, so let us keep them out of this). The time is coming in 2011, when the working class must regain power and all the ‘sweetheart’ deals with the special interest groups must be banished from our public system. The special interests have raped Guyana enough and it is the responsibility of the PPP, the AFC, GAP/ROAR and the righteous members of civil society to put systems in place to prevent this raping from continuing. A good starting point is the delivery of the commitment made at the National Stakeholder Meeting on March 12, 2008 (already one year behind schedule).

Yours faithfully,
Sasenarine Singh
23 Comments (Open | Close)

23 Comments To "All the constitutional commissions should be set up without further delay"

#1 Comment By gap1 On July 20, 2009 @ 8:01 am

Singh, your views are both naive and condescending because it assumes that Jagdeo really wants to change anything that would make his administation more accountable for Human Rights Abuses or to set up any Public Procurement Commission? My proof? I’ve got four letters for you starting with the letter, F: FOIB (Freedom of Information Bill)

It’s a given fact that the PNC is on its way to either extinction or some fundamental paradigm shift, so given all the above, and that the PPP has been in govt for over 16 years with the only notable social and political change being:

The Value Added Tax, further stressing the poor and middle class.

A Runaway Crime Spree where the police themselves are afraid to show up at crime scenes to stop crimes in progress, where Drug Cartels do “their business” out in the open parading around as ligitimate businesses and driving the official economy nearly into oblivion, where drug cartels even after having confessed to committing crimes in Guyana, are never investigated but Jagdeo’s only answer to that is Bernard Kerik, a convicted felon…

Accussed getting gunned down, denied their fundamental right to face their accusers in court, with the police playing judge jury and executioner.

Some ministers of the govt breaking the very law they swore to uphold with impunity.

Where freedom of speech and freedom of the press is sometimes severely punished by the PPP. (SN, Sharma TV, Mosely et al)

Where Guyanese are imprisoned for years without a conviction based solely on trumped up charges of treasons et al….

Democracy my foot!

And since I suspect that you are aware of all of the above, what makes you think that your condescending ramblings could convince right-thinking Guyanese that the PPP, obviously travelling the identical route that the PNC once travelled, is not well on its way to being, “floating around out there and very lost?”

If you still believe that others view Jagdeo’s deeds seperate from the PPP or that any change of leadership can erase perceptions past or present, I only have the perception of the PNC today, to present to you as evidence that it it impossible to erase any past party misdeeds.

If perestroika can happen, the Berlin Wall could be torn down, once warring enemies could unite under the European Union, Capitalism as we know it, could be breathing its last breath today, so could the PPP and the PNC be a distant horror story in our history in as little as only a few years, so please, support the PPP if you must but don’t assume that most Non-PNC supporters are blind or are supportive of the PPP, in fact some of us dare be proud Guyanese and not party hacks or racial majority or minority, whoever that is these days, and please…please, please, please…don’t insult our intelligence!

#2 Comment By Kingshark On July 20, 2009 @ 8:11 am

thats right sasenarine we all belongs to the working class but this government is not for the working class anymore

#3 Comment By NeNe On July 20, 2009 @ 11:49 am

Sase, you have highlighted some very good points. Sadly, nothing will change in Guyana- not anytime soon. The leadership and the mindset of the people are wanting. It is a terrible tragedy.

Last night I watched a special{Lost World: Land of the Giants} on Guyana’s pristine and healthy rain forest and the majestic beauty of the falls – untapped resources. The two hour series ended with the commentator saying that the President Jagdeo approached the British Government with a proposition to preserve the Rain Forest in exchange for Economic Aid. The British government yet to respond. There is nothing left to be said. The country always looking for handout while give away its natural resources for free. Poor leadership – very poor indeed!!!!!

#4 Comment By Sase Singh On July 20, 2009 @ 11:58 am

Hello Gap1:

I wish more of you guys have the belly to write under your real names. However, I must correct some misconception I think you have.

First of all, the PPP is an asset to Guyana, while the PNC is a liability.

Secondly, the PPP, AFC and GAP/ROAR are genuine multi-racial parties.

Thirdly, the PPP, AFC and GAP/ROAR has many good people within their party leadership still and we must not be naive to call for the throwing away of the baby with the bath-tub.

Fourthly, if the PPP strategically choose an young Afro-Guyanese as its next Presidential Candidate, it will bury the PNC once and for all. There is no better person that Robeson Benn. He like Roger Luncheon, have the political & technical skills to lead, they have the right pedigre and if properly put to work, these men can make a fundamental difference in Guyana.

Now all of these ideas are revolutionary, but if anyone who read American and Chinese history, they will find that it was revolutionary thing that made these countries great.


#5 Comment By Cochore On July 20, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

Extracted from Sasenarine’s letter above…
‘If Cheddi Jagan was alive, this would have been a done deal. Therefore, why are the inheritors of his legacy playing politics with the core values of the father of the nation’….

Sase, you need to re-examine your eyes again my friend, because you are not seeing the stubborn truths of Guyana’s political reality. I wholehartedly agree with GAP1’s comment about your suspicious naivety with the PPP and how they operate, but that’s just the half of it.

Like if you didn’t notice Sase, Jagdeo, Jagan and the PPP are all one of the same, they are all Socialist/Marxist IDEOLOGUES, who subscribe to the same political philosophy of governance. I get the impression that, you guys are desperately trying to reinvent Cheddi Jagan, supposedly, because only now you can see the folly of his legacy as a devout communist IDEOLOGUE who slavishly ‘BELIEVED’(a rigid finished product with room for no new thinking) as opposed to what all successful leaders must embrace, ‘UNDERSTANDING’(being curiously open minded and conscious of change for new growth).

Sase, it doesn’t matter how much you lament, cuss-out or urge Jagdeo and today’s PPP to change its ways, the results will always be the same like it was when your hero Cheddi Jagan commanded your undivided attention. The big difference here my friend is that now you are wiser, you’ve grown-up and see everything differently. You wish efficiency, honesty, independent thinking and competence but that’s not the nature of the beast called Socialism/Marxism, whose prime motivation is governance for total control of the polity.

By the way let me give you a valuable heads-up, which will be much easier for you to detect from miles away. The PNC is suffering from exactly the same affections like your beloved PPP. Corbin and Burnham politics are also one of the same, where they disguise an honest call to do Public Service as an opportinuty to rule and lord over their PNC minions. In short, Guyana politics historically amounts to nothing but TYRANNY of the polity and remember in school we learn that the tyrant releases his grip at his own peril. Both the PPP and the PNC need a time out from leading Guyana anywhere.

#6 Comment By Sase Singh On July 20, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

Gap 1:

Naive, why.

Isn’t the PPP, AFC and GAP/ROAR multi-racial parties?

#7 Comment By Brandon Samaroo (End the PPP Dictatorship Now!) On July 20, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

I am not sure condescending is the right word to describe you Sase its a bit rough, I have to disagree with Gap1, I think your heart and your mind are in all the right places.

However, with that said I do agree with Gap1 that Jagdeo has no interest in working with anyone on anything. He believes he is a one man show and he is the only person and the PPP are the only people who can solve the issues facing Guyana.

He is a sorry excuse for a leader. Any leader worth 2 cents would realize that to solve the problems that exist in Guyana you have to be very dynamic and engage with as many people as you can and inspire as many people as you can to help rebuild Guyana.

You need to create think tanks that come up with solid ideas that are then implemented. If you look at anything Jagdeo is associated with it is a mess. You name one project under JAgdeo that has done well. Even GRA that was doing well for a while seems to be going the way of the dodo bird.

In all my life I have never really seen a leader as poor as this chap he is the text book definition of everything a leader should not be.

#8 Comment By Brandon Samaroo (End the PPP Dictatorship Now!) On July 20, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

The PPP is an asset? I would love to hear you explore your thoughts more clearly on why you think they are such an asset?

My personal thoughts are that both the PPP and the PHENC are liabilities, I would love to hear why you think the PPP is an asset what have they done over the past 17 years to warrant this wonderful honor of being an asset?

#9 Comment By Nene On July 20, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

Sase, you sound a bit confused here, let it go!!!

#10 Comment By Georgie On July 20, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

Mr. Sase ! Stop your foolishness ! You don’t have the knowledge and political skills to engage thoughtful readers. Multi racial parties…! Benn ! EWWWWWWW !

#11 Comment By quibian On July 20, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

don’t worry guys. the pnc and the all fee cee will fix everything when they get into office again.

#12 Comment By Caesar Agustus On July 20, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

Bunk. A commission can be formed anytime.What’s the hurry here?

#13 Comment By Brandon Samaroo (End the PPP Dictatorship Now!) On July 21, 2009 @ 12:15 am

Well somebody ought to the Poo poo poo has failed, you are coming around good to see that you are finally seeing the light!

#14 Comment By gap1 On July 21, 2009 @ 12:46 am

Sase, I am a Guyanese woman and since I blog, I do not have to use my real name. Get with the times and welcome to the 21st century. BTW, you’ve written under your name and I really don’t care. I still do not know you since your name does not move me one way or another.

Sase: “First of all, the PPP is an asset to Guyana, while the PNC is a liability.”

Answer: This is your opinion and nearly have of Guyana does not care even if the PNC and the PPP hook hands and slow dance together.

Sase: “Secondly, the PPP, AFC and GAP/ROAR are genuine multi-racial parties.

Thirdly, the PPP, AFC and GAP/ROAR has many good people within their party leadership still and we must not be naive to call for the throwing away of the baby with the bath-tub.”

Answer: The AFC and GAP/ROAR have done nothing to deserve the dishonor of being lumped into the same bunch with that shameless political soon-to-be political wreck you call the PPP.

Sase: “Fourthly, if the PPP strategically choose an young Afro-Guyanese as its next Presidential Candidate, it will bury the PNC once and for all. There is no better person that Robeson Benn. He like Roger Luncheon, have the political & technical skills to lead, they have the right pedigre and if properly put to work, these men can make a fundamental difference in Guyana.”

Answer: My god, how could one man write such shameless political puke! Tell you what…since you really believe in all this garbage that somehow you seem to think others should do, let me be kind to you…as far as the PNC and the PPP…you can have them both. God knows you deserve it!

#15 Comment By Sase Singh On July 21, 2009 @ 12:57 am


I have no problem with anyone getting personal. That is their problem not mine.

I have a right to my belief and so do you. We have a right to agree to disagree on issues.

I still believe that the PPP, AFC, GAP/ROAR are assets to Guyana. The PNC is a liability since it is an extremist party.

I am aware of a determined effort by the original leadership of the PPP to understand, engage and embrace the mainstream Afro-Guyanese and their issues. There still very good people within the leadership of the PPP and they must blossom come 2011. Donald Ramotaur, Roger Luncheon, Robeson Benn are just a few of the good people in the leadership of the PPP and there are many more. But of course, there are the pseudo Burnhams in their midst who are only interested in themselves. All political organisations have those but time exposes these people and they are usually flushed out.

Guyana has had enough of selfishness, vest interest, special interest. Too few people have plundered Guyana for too long and this has resulted in the gap between the newly rich upper class and the rest of the nation arriving at its wide level ever in our history. Cheddi always highlight his concern about this situation and it is a tragedy that this is happen under a PPP Government. This is not what he wanted; his developmental model involved all getting wealthier, not just a few. The Czar is Russia was overthrown for this kind of stupidness because there is only so much pressure the working class can take and the reality with the Czar, is that he lost all the wealth he plundered.

I sense from my readings that the AFC and GAP/ROAR is no different with Ramjattan, Trotman and Ravi Dev being very balanced leaders who really care about Guyana’s issues. Ravi Dev even spoke at the Cuffy Square in his attempt to reach across the racial divide (some may say he committed political suicide, I will say he had the foresight enough to understand that there is pain in all communities in Guyana and it was duty to reach out and preach his message to all peoples).

When Simon Bolivar was preaching his message, he was widely condemned and it was only over a hundred year after when historian found the true value of his message did he become a hero in most of Latin America. So let’s focus on the message and not who is na├»ve, etc. We have to work with what we have but we must speak out, we must expose special interest, we must state clearly our concerns when people’s right are being violated and we must move away and expose the racist agenda of some political leaders. Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese must stop being cannon fodder for the vested interest, they must rise up and conquer the oppressors (I am not talking about political parties here, I am speaking about power drunk people with bad attitudes)

There is a lot of work still to be done.

#16 Comment By gap1 On July 21, 2009 @ 4:16 am

Sase, the reality out here in the real world, and your views seem stuck somewhere in la-la land, is that the PPP is an Indian party and the PNC is a African party and since we know that to be true, have known that to be true, how could you be so naive as to expect anyone to believe that inspite all that, Guyanese are incapable of spotting their various window dressings whenever they are in power?

And I wish that you could appreciate that every time you throw out the name of a African Guyanese, lumping them there as “elders” among a list of East Indians to prove racial neutrality, you are achieving the exact reverse. It seems to me that you have your own little “list” of window-dressings there yourself, Sase. Touche!

Not good.

And, that you really believe that a Luncheon or some other African Guyanese in the PPP as the presidential candidate would make Africans vote for the PPP is insulting the intelligence of African Guyanese. Why would you think that they could not spot that little charade a mile up the road? Suddenly Africans would become less disrespectful, less distainful, less disgusted of Roger Luncheon or the other window-dressings in the PPP if they are placed at the top of the ticket? Do you really believe that or are you this condescending to them?

You can tell that tale to any African-Guyanese child who is seven years, three months, three weeks old and he might stare at you in puzzlement. Anyone older than that will either laugh their faces off or let go of one of those long suck-teeths that in translation would mean: Don’t be rediculous!

In this day and age of political savvy and enlightenment…shame on you!

#17 Comment By NotFromGT On July 21, 2009 @ 10:48 am

gap1 et al

Why don’t you people stop using this forum as your own private bully pulpit. Are you incapable of getting your point accross without getting personal. Ever heard of tact and diplomacy? “Get with the times and welcome to the 21st century”. There is a new way of communicating. We can trade barbs all day and get nowhere.

#18 Comment By tkhemraj On July 21, 2009 @ 11:12 am

Sase, this is a half-hearted attempt on your part. You seem to have a lot of faith in the PPP and the present Constitution. Sase, the latter is no good and it has to go. The PPP’s Democratic centralism and the voting structure have given it the upper advantage to abuse the Burnham Constitution as Burnham himself had abused it. It has to go as it is no good for a society as Guyana.

#19 Comment By Gerhard On July 21, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

Sase, please answer me on the blatant window dressing and disrespect for Blacks (Brothers, please advise if my usage is acceptable) in the PPP. Remember when there were the Linden protests and poor Uncle Sam rode in to a hostile crowd with nothing to offer – as per instructions from the administration, only to have the President ride in the next day on a big white horse, full suit of shining armour on, and immediately doling out the same monies that Uncle Sam was forced to say wasn’t there?

What about the shameful practice of using female Black Guyanese sounding names for their Ghost-writers’ Club (GC)? Wait and see, there will be more names like Susanne Green, Janet Reid, Sarah John, etc., etc.. You mean this self-proclaimed racially encompassing administration cannot find any reputable Blacks to defend them? Isn’t this disgraceful practice a part of a greater guilt complex?

gap1, I totally understand your anger…

#20 Comment By gap1 On July 21, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

Sase, again, you need to engage on what is, not what you hoped the politics in Guyana is. As to getting personal on this forum? Depends on your definition of personal, some people won’t know what personal is even if it comes up and slams them in the mouth. Do some research “Chaps”.

I think I have made my point here. I will let others judge who have their blinders on, and who do not.

The only way forward for Guyana is a third party, however much that may be difficult. Cheddie’s dream for Guyana is gone forever in this failure we presently call Mr president. Accept that and move on.

I have said my peace here, “Chaps”. The ending is quite funny actually…

#21 Comment By colin2nice On July 21, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

Sase like you smoking the thing they give you to drink; Or you drinking the thing they gave you to eat?

#22 Comment By Sase Singh On July 22, 2009 @ 1:58 am

Gap1, Gerhert:

Chap I understand you anger, but contribution to Guyana’s evolution into a better nation does involve the PPP and the AFC. I am sorry we different on this point of principle but that is still my belief. This does not mean the AFC and GAP/ROAR does not have a role to play. They do?

Guyana’s enemy is not the PPP. Guyana’s enemies are the servants of vest interest, the servants of special interest and the servants of personal agranddisement, the servants of corruptions, the servants of vindictiveness. I agree there are many indivduals in Government who will fit these caps but the entire leadership of the PPP are not servants of these enemies. I say again, there remain good people in the leadership of the PPP and I will name again Roger Luncheon and Robeson Benn as two who come to mind immediately but there are others.

Case in point, Corbin has not demonstrated on iota of leadership to his supporters yet he will not vacate the office of the Leader of the Opposition. Why? Because of the perks associated with the office (including free medical treatment) is more than his commitment to service to his constituents. The same can be said for this charade called REDD and Low Carbon Initiatives. Do you think anyone out there in the world is hearing Guyana on these issues. The mainstream powerbrokers are focused on other things and pressing ahead with their agenda and we are failling to fix our social cohesion problem at home. Since 1997, this problem should have been looked at nationally. The fires will never stop, the racial suspicion will never stop unless we fix our house. But there is no centrally driven initiative on out social cohesion problems. None.

Further, some are advocating that the PPP must go, but they must respect the views of the overwelming majority of the people who continue to vote for the PPP and this does not including Indian alone, it includes Amerindian, and Afro-Guyanese (19% of Region 10 – Linden voted for the PPP in 2006).

This is facts and we cannot wish this away. I wish if the AFC can become the official opposition in 2011 since the PNC has underserviced those who did not vote for the PPP, but the fact remains that the PPP got the majority in 2006.

#23 Comment By brandon samaroo On July 23, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

hahahhahhhaha gap1 tis getting hot in here hot in here.

Sase bwoy listen up I am tired of telling you folks PPP and PHENC are one and the same, why do you think bharat loves the dictatorship constitution.

17 years gone by how more educated are our people? how many more opportunities for jobs and quality of life have the PPP brought to bear on our people? I think the answer is very very clear.

Guyana will continue to be in the state it is in as long as those 2 parties are in govt. Time for the AFC to blossom where you can see everyone embracing each other as sisters and brothers who are Guyanese, Respect for people’s opinion and consensus is key.

Just look at the FOI act that the AFC proposed. Look at the decency in Mrs. Sheila Holder that when Janet Jagan died she introduced a bill to honor her work for Guyanese people. This is class, this is the kind of character we need in our people not the madness you see luncheon and freedom house carrying on with.

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