Ramphal says Guyana must choose between a ‘good path’ or ‘failed state’

Sir Shridath Ramphal

Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Sir Shridath Ramphal has weighed in on Guyana’s political crisis and called for the court to follow the Constitution in making its judgment or else the country will become a failed state.

“By so doing it will allow all the parties and the people of Guyana to move forward lawfully and in fulfilment of their solemn pledge to each other – a significant part of which should be to return to the recommendations of the 1998 Herdmanston Accord which called for constitutional reform and outlined the process to achieve it,” Ramphal added.

He noted that in each of the three Constitutions – 1966, 1970 and 1980 – the first Article made the same declaration: “Guyana shall be a sovereign democratic State”.

“The 1980 Constitution [which was part of the project for “Modernisation of the Justice Administration System”] which prevails today, declares: “We, the Guyanese people, proud heirs of the indomitable will of our forebears, in a spirit of reconciliation and cooperation, proclaim this Constitution in order to…. forge a system of governance that promotes concerted effort and broad-based participation in national decision-making in order to develop a viable economy and a harmonious community based on democratic values, social justice, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law.”

He further stated that as citizens of Guyana, we adopt these fundamental laws and make provision for their amendment to reflect changes in our society that is inspired by our collective quest for a perfect nation whose characteristics include the commitments, concepts, and other principles proclaimed in this preamble.

“These were new words, but not new ideas or values. The values and rights, themselves, are changeless. In them are the DNA of Runnymede, of the French Revolution, of the American Founding Fathers; the genes of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America and the Anti-Apartheid struggle in Southern Africa – in both of which an impoverished Guyana played a noble part.”

The former Foreign Minister and Minister of Justice of Guyana further added that as the country is expected to choose a path that will lead to either a good Guyana led by a credo of values and principles, or a failed state that has abandoned it.

“Former Minister Dominic Gaskin’s statement prompts me to remind Guyanese that at the moment of independence, we collectively pledged to each other what we would be.”

He noted the thrust of the former Minister’s sentiments and hopes that there is a younger generation of outspoken people like him who can save Guyana.