Every political party has a main theme that sustains them; a kind of default premise. This government has the theme – A better life for all. (That is yet to be realized, as we see only the Government officials and their family and cronies enjoying that better life). When the current government was in opposition, their theme was that the PPP government was corrupt. The nation can now judge for themselves if, or how much, things have changed.
The current theme for the PPP seems to be a mixture of blaming this government for all the mistakes they made during their 23 years in power and the notion that if Jagdeo gets back in, he will right all the wrongs he failed to right during his 12 years as President.
The mantra for the United Republican Party (URP) is, A Modern and Safe Guyana.
However, I want to go back into history. I remember, in the 80’s, when Dr. Cheddie Jagan, URP and I, with the PCD would sit for hours many days on end discussing the Burnham regime and his dictatorial constitution. We were all a part of the Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD). It is the PCD that met with President Jimmy Carter and persuaded him to come to Guyana.
During those days the theme for Dr. Jagan and the PPP was the need for a reformation of the Burnham Constitution. So we focused our energies on that. We did everything we can to get Burnham out of office, or at least for him to change the constitution so that there would be some modicum of fairness in the governing of Guyana.
We all know the history. Desmond Hoyte came in and he did not change the constitution. However, he made some adjustments to the way the PNC operated and a change in the Government of Guyana happened. We who were in the PCD were all excited because we saw in Cheddie Jagan an objective visionary who was so humiliated by the construct of the Burnham Constitution that he would push with all his powers, to change the oppressive arrangement, called a constitution.
But he did not. Rather, like Burnham, he used the very constitution to manage the country the exact way that Burnham did. Then Jannet and Jagdeo came into office respectively and they marched in line-step. So we have some 40 years of the enactment of a constitution that has brought Guyana to its knees. The voices calling for a reformation of the constitution is now a clarion call. Even the UN and other members of the diplomatic corp. are calling for the Guyanese administrators to change the constitution. They are suggesting that for the government to do less it amounts to political oppression.
I dare say that even as these voices are rising in this world-wind of agitation of the Guyana constitution to be significantly adjusted, I can say proudly that I have been there from the very inception.
I was in the trenches lobbying for changes to our badly constructed constitution from the first day it became the law of the land. I was there in the gutters fighting to overturn it ever since Forbes Burnham cloaked himself in it. I was there working to rectify it when the PPP stubbornly embraced it and owned it. And I am here now, still a part of the drumbeat to have the divisive, backwards, autocratic constitution reversed and amended. So for the records, I would publically like to say that I and the URP are willing to lend any support to any group or organization pushing for a revision of the Guyana constitution.
And yes, I am very proud to be associated with the fact that every honest-minded Guyanese has now admitted that we need a new constitution. I only hope that the President sees the need to accent to the wishes of the Guyanese and the international community.