Guyana Politics: The suspension of the British Guiana constitution in 1953

By Winston McGowan – Stabroek News – October 31, 2002

British Soldiers arrive in British Guiana in 1953

Turning Back the Clock

1953 was one of the most important years in Guyanese history. It witnessed two major developments. One of them was the country’s first essentially democratic election, held on April 27 in accordance with the provisions of a new and comparatively advanced constitution recommended by the Waddington Commission of 1950.

This constitution introduced several new features into Guyanese political life, including universal adult suffrage at the age of 21 and a ministerial system. It provided for a two-Chamber legislature, comprising a House of Assembly of three official and 24 elected members and an Executive Council.         

This Executive Council had 10 members, namely four officials and six of the elected members of the House of Assembly who were granted ministerial powers and responsibilities. In short, the elected ministers had a majority on the Executive Council which was the main instrument of policy.

READ MORE: Guyana Politics- The suspension of the British Guiana constitution in 1953

 

The six Ministers in the Executive Council of the House of Assembly (Parliament) in 1953 with Janet Jagan

(Left to Right): Jainarine Singh, Sidney King (Eusi Kwayana), ​Forbes Burnham. Janet Jagan, Cheddi Jagan, Joseph Latchmansingh and Ashton Chase – 1953

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