Technically, “Parliament” includes both the President and the National Assembly. But since the Presidency’s already locked away, he’ll discuss the National Assembly where the Opposition has 32 of the 65 seats. It’s one of the three branches of Parliamentary governance, and is a repository of power that can be flexed. And all Guyanese know it as “Parliament” …as in “wha’ foolishness goin’ on in Parliament nowadays”!!
But it doesn’t seem the PNC Opposition think Parliament’s worth the bother. All your Eyewitness hears about from their more voluble wing is “boots on the ground”!! Meaning – coming out into the streets like Desmond Hoyte’s “slow fyaah; mo’ fyaah” – to bring the PPP Government to its knees! Because Aubrey Norton’s had a visible role in those protests, most feel it’s why he was elected PNC Leader ahead of “Lil Joe”.
But your Eyewitness thinks that “radical” wing is misreading the ground reality as President Ali unleashes his blitzkrieg of initiatives in their bases. While there’s a chance they can collect (PPP) birds in the hand, they’re not going to be rummaging through bushes. They KNOW Norton ain’t got no birds up his sleeve!! Most of them will still vote for the PNC, come the next elections, though, and that’s where Parliament comes in!!
The margin between the Opposition and Government is razor thin. And Norton gotta remember that if he hopes to win an election, any “boots on the ground” strategy’s gonna drive away those swing votes he needs to pip the PPP. What he gotta do, therefore, is use whatever means is at his disposal to convince swing voters that whatever the PPP does, he can do it better!! Remember that song??
Hence Parliament. While it’s true the Government have a majority and can pass any bill they chose – like the NRF – that simply means the Opposition can identify flaws that’ll soon become visible. And the swing voters will remember when they enter the voting booths in 2 years. Similarly, while it’s all well and good to point out screw-ups in the Public Accounts Committee – that’s history!! Who really bothers about what happened in 2017? Besides, that’s when the PNC was in power!!
Once again, your Eyewitness raises his hands to the heavens and ask why the Opposition aren’t using the Sectoral Committees that were created just for them in 2001? They have the power to summon ANYONE IN GOVERNMENT TO GRILL THEM ON CURRENT PROGRAMS!! Two of those Committees are chaired by the Opposition on a rotating basis. Meaning the entire gamut of governmental activities are open to scrutiny in real time!! They don’t have to “throw talk” or make allegations about discrimination etc. Summon and grill them on pain of contempt!!
That’s power, baby!!
…and the Judiciary
The President of the CCJ – Justice Adrian Saunders – is a very urbane fella. Coming from the island of St Vincent, he’s not caught up with our intense racial internecine warfare. Sitting at our apex court and dealing with our cases, however, has to’ve opened up his eyes on the aforementioned warfare. Especially in the almost continuous series of appeals during the last elections – about which we say no further!! Just to note he handled them with much aplomb.
Well, at a black-tie dinner sponsored by the Bar Association, he waded into the battleground by suggesting that we need to appoint a permanent Chancellor and Chief Justice. Rather than having them act for longer periods than Will Smith!! And HE’s been acting sooo long, he literally flipped!! But we know it ain’t gonna happen, don’t we? Even in that bastion of democracy the US, each of the two adversarial parties nominate their Supremes Court Justices based on their party’s ideological orientation.
As they say, it’s always “outcome-determinative”!!
It was expected that the US would try to convince all nations not to buy Russian oil. What was unexpected was India’s reply: that US’ European allies buy more Russian oil in an afternoon than India buys in a month!!