EYEWITNESS: Changing…

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…the Constitution

A Constitution basically describes how the powers of the state’s gonna be distributed in the institutions of the country. So, dear reader, whenever folks talk about “changing Constitutions”, they’re talking about changing the power distribution, right? And if this is so, it doesn’t take too many grey cells to figure out there will always be two sides to these calls — those who benefit from the present power distribution and want to keep the status quo, and those who want to change it.

So this talk about changing the Constitution — that’s once again rising — has been going on forever. But your Eyewitness isn’t surprised that the parties to this exercise don’t tell the folks out there it’s a never-ending process. If only for the simple reason that whenever anyone proposes a better way for governing ourselves by redistributing power, there will always be politicians who will bend those rules to further their own interests — even those politicians who made the calls in the first place.

Take the British, who gave us our first Independence Constitution along with a new way of electing the government: through Proportional Representation, rather than “first past the post”. It was supposed to allow a proliferation of parties in our Land of Six Peoples, and so split up the votes to the extent that parties would need to coalesce to get into State House.

At the time, however, Burnham said he didn’t care what Constitution he got, he knew how to ensure he kept power. He placed his bets on human nature, which really never changes.

He did coalesce his PNC with the UF…but immediately started manoeuvres to make the latter impotent. Buying out the UF MPs (and some of the PPP’s to boot!!) was only one of his moves. But it was based on his certainty that everyone has a price, and it’s just a matter of negotiating with the ones who can be bought for the least price.

Negotiating is always about personal perks. So when we fast forward to the present, and agonise why the constitutional redistribution of power after the changes of 2000 failed, we don’t have to only look at the Constitution and its rules. The fault, dear reader, also lies in the greedy ones in the game.

The initial hope of PR forcing coalitions was based on the expectation that coalitions would force compromises to spread around the power so it doesn’t end up in one spot — which was the problem to begin with, in the first place.

But when you have folks who can be bought with baubles and SUVs, the status quo will remain. And constitutional change will be demanded again!

…the guppies

After all the background stuff above, your Eyewitness figures he might as well connect the dots on what’s playing out in the power game right now. And don’t forget it’s ALWAYS about power, OK? The politicians will keep up the sharp patter of those street hustlers with their three card monte, but keep your eyes on the prize!

So we had the guppy parties coalescing with the PNC to form APNU. But they were never bargaining to redistribute power, were they? Each of them simply hoped for a piece of the action. So when we hear the WPA wasn’t involved in Roopnaraine’s appointment as Education Minister, why is that surprising? It was always about the personal perks. Ditto about those who became “Presidential Advisors”. And even though the AFC “negotiated” the Cummingsburg Accord”, that became a useless piece of paper when Nagamootoo and Ramjattan didn’t pull out when no power was really redistributed.
Was it because they knew many of their erstwhile comrades had been bought out by then?

…the bean counters

Two years on, Finance Minister Jordan can’t explain why the Government hasn’t been able to find the “billions and billions” APNU/AFC had claimed the PPP “siphoned off”.
What to do? Blame the auditors!! Off with their heads!!

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