OPINION: Eyewitness …Plaster


…for every sore
With all these new political parties coming out of the woodwork (which must’ve been quite termite infested!!), your Eyewitness is amazed that these folks had been sitting idly all the while, when they had the answers to what ails our troubled land, all the time!! The problem your Eyewitness has with these newbies is that they seem to feel that the proposals they’re throwing up like confetti hadn’t been aired before. And if they were, why didn’t they work?
Take this insistence by most of them that “constitutional change” is gonna drive a stake through our dystopic governance. So just putting in all sorts of new instructions on how State power will be divvied up will clean-up the political mess we’ve been stuck in like forever? Well heck!!  Didn’t the PPP and PNC and about ten small parties such as the WPA in coalition with the Guyana Action Party agree to constitutional changes back in 1999??
Didn’t they have nationwide consultations?? Didn’t they include dozens of the suggested changes into the Constitution in 2000? Didn’t they “democratise” Parliament by giving the Opposition a slew of powers in the sectoral committees? Didn’t they form all sorts of new institutions such as the Ethnic Relations Commission and a host of other commissions? Didn’t they reduce the powers of the Executive President? Didn’t they rule that 1/3 of parliamentarians must be women? The changes expanded Burnham’s not exactly puny Constitution to a massive 203 pages!!
So how come two decades later we need more “constitutional change”? Were the folks back then too short-sighted? The question, of course, which the new parties should ask is why those constitutional changes didn’t fix things. After all, the 1797 US Constitution – on which all Constitutions have been modelled – was originally just 4 pages and today is around 10 pages!!
And this brings us to the crux of why constitutional change just ain’t enough to fix our woes: If those we place in charge of our country don’t respect the instructions of the Constitution, we can keep changing and fixing and tinkering with it until hell freezes over and it won’t change a thing. Just look at Article 106 (6) which instructs our government to resign and set new elections in 3 months after a successful NCM. That’s a standard feature in almost all other parliamentary democracies – AND IT’S NEVER BEEN DISOBEYED. Never!! Nowhere!!
So what’ll be different with new changes?? As Madison, one of the framers of the US Constitution, pointed out, government doesn’t only have to control the people –  like our Government insists.
They must first control themselves!! The newbies should take address this!

…for the race “problem”?
Your Eyewitness has an even larger problem with those newbies who insist there isn’t “REALLY” any race problem in Guyana. We’re REALLY all just GUYANESE!! Just say that all the time and the problem will be solved!! Well, of course we’re all Guyanese!! But that’s our CIVIC identity, which is given to us by the fact that we are citizens of the state called Guyana. And this means that we’re entitled to whatever it is that Guyana has to offer.
Aren’t we also Guyanese with several heritages? What do we do about that?? Throw it out of the window?? Especially when you’re being oppressed because of that heritage!! Look at America, where everybody will assure you they’re Americans. But can anyone tell any black man in the US that he ain’t black?? Well, he’ll soon be reminded by the next policeman who stops him on the street!!
And that’s the problem in Guyana. Folks will hang onto their different identities once they’re treated differently because of that identity.
So gwan dat side with “all abee a waan”!!

…for Atlantic’s fury
At last, the powers that be are starting to appreciate the threat we’re facing from the resurgent Atlantic which the Dutch had held off for so long.
And we ain’t seen nothing yet!!