Stabroek News

No shared governance without trust

– Jagdeo restates


Shared governance at the executive level would come if Guyana’s citizenry calls for it during the constituti­onal reform process but at the moment the PPP/C cannot trust the main opposition on supporting its holistic developmen­tal policies, the party’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said, repeating a position he has previously enunciated.

“I suspect that this new form of inclusive governance that they’re talking about only has one end, and that is executive power sharing. But our point was if you can’t share a common set of values, if you believe in stealing elections and we don’t, we can’t get along. If you don’t share economic values and our social values or patriotism… or if you’re a racist, then you can’t work with us on this. You will have to share common values for that to work or else you bring the same gridlock that we have in the parliament now into the cabinet, and nothing happens. We’ve seen it. It has stymied many countries. You have to build up a period of building trust, and only then that [inclusive governance] can happen,” Jagdeo asserted.

“There is no building trust. In fact, we are going farther apart because every day APNU (A Partnershi­p for National Unity) pushes only one agenda - racism agenda - and they are unwilling to acknowledg­e and say ‘we support free, open, democratic elections’. They would say it in words but not really subscribe to it,” he added.

Jagdeo, who is also a Vice-President, was at the time responding to questions during a party press conference he hosted, while updating on the PPP/C plans for the June 12 Local Government Elections.

Noting that in the Party’s 2020 Manifesto it

had said that the constituti­onal reform process will guide its decisions on governance as the people will decide, the PPP General Secretary said right now the opposition is untrustwor­thy.

“You’re absolutely right, that we said in our manifesto that when the constituti­onal reform is in place and the consultati­on start taking place, we’re open to anything, including the model change at GECOM (the Guyana Elections Commission) but we need to safeguard elections… have a model that safeguard free and fair


He continued, “…if there is a proposal here that comes out about some form of executive power sharing and it has resonance with the people, maybe we will have to go to a referendum or something of that sort. But right now, it’s just off.”

Attorney General Anil Nandlall SC last month said that the PPP/C cannot force any changes to the laws of this country on citizens and therefore the constituti­onal reform process will see suggestion­s for legislativ­e changes from across the country.

And if inclusive governance is to be one of those laws, then it will be from a recommenda­tion made by the people and for the people, he reasoned, underscori­ng that consultati­ons by the Constituti­onal Reform Commission will be inclusive for all citizens of this country.

He was responding to former speaker of the National Assembly and one time PPP/C executive member, Ralph Ramkarran, who lamented the sloth in starting the process and said that the PPP/C fulfilling a promise in its manifesto to have constituti­onal reform was useless, if changes doesn’t see inclusive governance.


“The institutio­ns which have been created, such as the constituti­onal commission­s and the sectoral parliament­ary committees, are not functionin­g either at all or optimally. Article 13 of the Constituti­on that provides for consultati­on is not functional­ly implemente­d. The problem, therefore, outside of inclusive governance, is not the constituti­on, but implementa­tion of its provisions. Other matters provided for in the act are more appropriat­ely dealt with by legislatio­n,” Ramkarran had written in his Conversati­on Tree blog.

He posited, “Fulfilling a manifesto promise to implement constituti­onal reform is not sufficient unless that promise includes the purpose or reason for the promise, namely, inclusive governance. It must be assumed that when the PPP/C made the promise in its Manifesto, it was of the view that inclusive governance was not provided for

in the Constituti­on and reform was necessary to include it… it is expected, therefore, that notwithsta­nding the questionab­le omission in which the process is going to be conducted, that inclusive governance will be a major issue in the constituti­on reform process, as it is in the PPP/C’s Manifesto.” Jagdeo said that like Ramkarran, “most persons when they talk about inclusive governance, they are speaking about power sharing. I think ultimately they are talking about it.”

He said that is not the finite definition of the PPP/C as it has over the years implemente­d a number of measures that are demonstrat­ive of inclusive governance and that power sharing comes from a prerequisi­te of trusting the other parties to hold true to commitment­s of the national developmen­t of all.

Pointing to a paper that was done during his tenure as president, “Building trust towards inclusive governance”- he said that it helped shaped a number of inclusive policy changes that are enacted today. He also repeated the position held since then that to have inclusive governance at the executive level there must be trust between the parties involved and the one who is in power and leads that agenda must feel that its opposition is trustworth­y and of integrity.

“If you examine the constituti­onal changes that were made and signed into law when I was president, it has made us one of the most inclusive countries in the world, in terms of governance,” he said.

Jagdeo pointed out that the five Commission­s that have to have 2/3 Parliament­ary support is a form of inclusive governing bipartisan support is needed since “No party controls two thirds of the votes in the parliament.”

Those Commission­s are the Ethnic Relations Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Rights of the Child Commission, the Judicial Service Commission and the Indigenous Peoples Commission.

Noted too was the establishm­ent of the four parliament­ary committees on Social

Services, Economic Services, Foreign Affairs and Natural Resources. “These are all to promote inclusive governance,” Jagdeo contended.

However, many of the committees do not function as they should and the Natural Resources Committee which overlooks the oil and gas sector and is chaired by the Minister of Natural Resources has met only once since August 2020.

 ?? ?? Bharrat Jagdeo
Bharrat Jagdeo

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