Eyewitness: Of Reports and omissions…


…from ERC

With great fanfare, the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) was created out of the Constitutional Reform process – precipitated by the PNC bludgeoning the PPP to a Herdmanston “Accord”. It was supposed to fix the central contradiction in the Guyanese body politic – the political struggle between the two major groups with its ever-present potential for breaking out into violence.

Under Article 212D of the Constitution, the ERC was given TWENTY-FOUR functions – covering every ethnic contingency under the (Guyanese) sun! This included a mandate (#10) to investigate complaints from citizens across the country where acts of alleged ethnic discrimination have been committed. And (23) to “Make recommendations on penalties, including the prevention of any political party or any persons from participating in elections for a specified period, to be imposed for any breach of this Constitution or of any law dealing with ethnicity.”

So, from 2002 to 2011, representatives of every possible combination and permutation of group-identity you could find (or invent) in Guyana started the ERC’s work. But the PNC – as is their practice – boycotted them, because the Chairman wasn’t to their liking. The PNC does have a thing about control, don’t they?? Control freaks? But then that’s part and parcel of their anti-democratic essence! Anyhow, after a lapse of 7 years, Granger reconstituted the ERC in 2018 with one of his childhood school chums – the Rev John Smith from the Assembly of God – as the Chair.

So, guess what? The good Reverend has just presented the “Reports” of the ERC from the time it was constituted to its end in 2020, to the Speaker of the House. And you have to give Jack his Jacket – the Speaker didn’t mince words to express his disappointment with the ERC failing to fulfill its mandate at a most critical juncture of our history. All of the contradictions of our divisive ethnic politics hadrisen to the fore, but the ERC was distinguished for its deafening silence.

Remarked the Speaker when he received the Reports, “So, the programming aspect of these Commissions, I don’t see the proactiveness of them. And if we’re to move forward as a country that is serious about the issues that confront us, whether gender or age, we have to ensure there are professional programmes in place to achieve objectives.” And that is the nub of the matter, ain’t it?

How come the ERC didn’t say anything about Granger stirring up protests in West Berbice after the unfortunate murders of the Henry cousins? Hundreds of Indian Guyanese were beaten and harassed on the Public Road??
Your Eyewitness wonders whether the report describes Granger attending the Chairman’s birthday bash – while the elections were being rigged!!

…by the World Bank

When most folks hear about the “World Bank”, they have this notion of such a huge institution that it just has to transcend the average peccadilloes of what, for instance, we know occur in places like Guyana. Then up comes this report by an external vetting entity of the Banks’ practice of issuing annual “Doing Business” Reports. Now, these are a “make or break” matter for most struggling countries – since a bad report could doom their “attractiveness” for investments.

And the Report’s conclusion is that the scores were seriously RIGGED in favour of several countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia!! And now you KNOW it’s not coincidental that these countries have VERY deep pockets!! This should remind us that every institution – even the ones established with great intentions, and having all sorts of rules – is ultimately staffed by PEOPLE!
And all people have their weaknesses – which countries will exploit to push their own interests!
It’s just how the world and the World (Bank) works!!

…by the Police

Now, the Guyanese public – not just the strident PNC “leaders” scoring points while pushing personal agendas – wants the Inquiry into Boston’s killing to be impartial.
The Govt should use its discretion to buttress the Police Office of Professional Responsibility.