Opinion: EYEWITNESS: The standard…


…is on show

As you dear readers would know, your humble Eyewitness greatly admires the rule of law tradition, which the British bequeathed to us – albeit a tad late in the day after they’d cast aside our ancestors like sucked oranges. The foundation of the rule of law, of course, lies in the British Constitution – which remains the gold standard not just for us in the detritus of the Empire, but the world. No fistfights in the commons, thank you…even though the speaker may sometimes be forced to bellow “Ordah!! Ordah!!” in such stentorian tones, the walls literally quiver!!

All of which is made more remarkable since their Constitution is unwritten!! That, of course, reminds us that when we create institutions and enact all these laws then expect our people to follow them, we’re barking up the wrong tree. There can be no real change in people’s behaviour before there’s a change in their moral and cultural consciousness. And that, brings us to the point your Eyewitness wishes to make: the refusal of the bullying PNC-in-power to obey the tenets of our Constitution very much WRITTEN in black and white!!

Back in 2014, the AFC had threatened to move a motion of no-confidence in the PPP government. The latter had only 32 seats to the combined 33 of the APNU and AFC – but had captured the Presidency and Executive because of our peculiar plurality system. The No-Confidence Motion had been copied from the British Constitution, where it had been used on several occasions. President Ramotar, however, used his prerogative power in the Constitution – derived also from the British Constitution – to prorogue Parliament and schedule elections by his initiative. He did so within six months rather than the 3 months specified by the NCM.

But all hell broke out!! And most interestingly, then UK High Commissioner to Guyana Andrew Ayre criticised the prorogation and called for President Donald Ramotar to reconvene Parliament. He warned that while the Constitution did give the President the power to prorogue Parliament, “it also gave in Article 106 part 6 the right for majority of MPs to dissolve the Parliament essentially and have new elections”. In the eight months since our own NCM was passed, it is more than passing strange that the present quite voluble High Commissioner hasn’t demanded that the PNC government have “new elections” by the same Art 106 (6)!!

Now, over in ole Blighty, PM Boris has also prorogued Parliament so as to avoid a No-Confidence Motion on Brexit. Will the HC offer a comment on Boris’ action?  If he’s unclear of his unwritten Constitution, maybe he can use ours?  The PNC government hasn’t been using it much lately!!

…on electoral lists

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!! The PNC insisted that they wanted new H2H Registration to produce a new voters’ list because they were concerned that the old list was too “bloated”. But now, of course, it’s ok to merge another 350,000 new names to the old list and that won’t be “bloated”??

But one has to wonder about this new GECOM Chair running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, under the guise of “giving something to both sides”. Which part of “elections must be held within the shortest time” she doesn’t understand?? Why didn’t she order that the H2H exercise cease IMMEDIATELY?? Why the extra four days?? And then to rub salt into our wounds, she allows the Secretariat to increase the working hours of the field officers to register even more voters!!

GECOM has to adhere to the Constitution, as interpreted by the Courts. Singh’s decisions are nothing more than another thumbing of the nose at that Constitution.

…for oil extraction

The FPSO, Liza Destiny is here. Well, actually in Exxon’s Stabroek Block, where it’ll be getting ready to start pumping out our light, sweet, crude oil for the world market.

Your Eyewitness figures we won’t have elections before first oil!!