July 9, 2020 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
Will This CCJ Ruling Be Obeyed?
Based on the troubled Political Past in Guyana as it relates to elections. The 64 million question is: Now that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled there is no other court to appeal to … what next? This should be the end of the legal process. Is this so? We are Not sure. Under normal circumstances it would be like night follow day that the Opposition Leader would automatically be sworn in as Prime Minister. Guyana for some reason seem to do things differently. Ethnicity and not straight ideology is the subculture in Guyana. Will examine this in more detail later.
For starters Guyana has a President and not a Governor General like say Barbados, Canada or Jamaica. Their Constitutional arrangements are different from the straight Westminster model that was handed down to former colonies of Britain.
To appreciate the way things are approached in Guyana, a closer look at the structure of their society will reveal some interesting facts.
The key thing to bear in mind is ethnicity.
Guyana is officially known as the Co-operative Republic of Guyana which is located North-East of South America. The main language spoken is English and it has two distinct ethnic classes … blacks and indians. Their pigmentation is mainly dark skinned or varying shades of Black.
The population is approximately 800,000 in 2018. The capital is Georgetown with a land mass of 214,970 sq km. (The largest of the former British Colonies.). Its currency is the Guyanese dollar (GS). Guyana is part of CARICOM and interestingly the CARICOM Secretariat is located there.
They recently found oil which seem to have changed the place … things will never be the same. This new found wealth is a blessing in disguise and could even be a curse also. The current political issues may be the root of the problem as the political players may want to control this new found wealth. So in my perspective this could be the hidden cause of their political troubles. They also have class and other socio-cultural issues which lie under the surface. So things may not be as they appear to the naked eye.
Cricket is one of their top sporting activities. Players like: Clive Lloyd, Lance Gibbs, Basil Butcher, Roger Harper, Rohan Kanhai, Andy Roberts to name a few readily come to mind. They have all been a real credit to very successful West Indies teams.
Two Party System
Guyana is a democratic republic with a presidential structure. The president is head of state with a multi-Party system …. legislative power is vested in both the president and the National Assembly of Guyana. Ideology is not so distinct … it is ethnicity Indo-Guyanese connected to the People’s Progressive Party and Afro- Guyanese People’s National Congress.
In Jamaica we have 97 percent of the population is black. Not so in Guyana. There is a large afro-guyanese faction and a large Indo- guyanese faction. So ethnicity runs deep. The ethnic background is similar to that which exist in Trinidad and Tobago. The place is also sparsely populated with a very large land mass. Many rivers to cross and waterfalls to see. Some places are only accessible by boat.
Dr. Adrian Saunders, from St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the 3rd Chief Justice of the CCJ in it’s 15 years of existence. He and his fellow Justices handed down the unanimous ruling on the Guyana election issue.
It is now up to the chairman of the electoral commission to do the lawful thing. This would mean that he declares the election as a win for the Opposition. Will this happen and when?
President David Granger has been described as a “demagogue.” It was a scathing assault on the president of Guyana by the Opposition Leader.
Guyana sits in limbo
We will have to wait and see what happens. We hope there will be no bloodshed.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior National & International Correspondent for Vision Newspaper.