Tag Archives: guyanese politics

Guyana: Proposed Amendments to Elections Law Totally Inadequate – By Ralph Ramkarran

By Ralph Ramkarran – Conversation Tree Blog – November 13, 2021

The amendments to the elections’ laws proposed by the Government through the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill are woefully inadequate. They are limited to the following: imposing higher penalties for elections’ offences; creating new elections’ offences with high penalties; adumbrating a new structure for District (Region) 4; and establishing new offices for District 4. Having now demonstrated a mindset of where it wants to go by the contents of the Bill, the Government is unlikely to divert from this already decided course, except perhaps with minor amendments.

But much more is required, and this was the opportunity to accomplish needed reforms in other areas of the electoral system, especially since the next elections are four years away. I have written extensively, but vainly, about elections’ reform over several years. I now take the opportunity to repeat some of those ideas.              Continue reading

Guyana: Why Has the Economy Been In Shackles Since Colonial Times – By Ralph Ramkarran

 CONVERSATION TREE BLOG –   – 

Guyana’s is and has always been a primary producer. During its years of Independence, although there was some economic growth, Guyana was unable to significantly diversify its economy by, firstly, adding value to what it produced and, secondly, advancing the process of industrialisation.

Apart from political instability and consequential factors, the absence of an adequate and cheap supply of electricity was the major obstacle inhibiting such development. For a decade and a half beginning in 1957, Guyana saw the construction of a bauxite smelter as a way of triggering and, thereafter, advancing industrial development. Both parties struggled mightily to access foreign aid for projects to increase the supply of electricity. From Tiger Hill to Mazaruni, both failed.      Continue reading

GUYANA Politics: That “Bloated” Electoral List – by Ralph Ramkarran 

  – Conversation Tree Blog 

In 2010 I wrote an article on the overseas vote in which I argued that the Constitution of Guyana permitted all Guyanese citizens over the age of 18 to vote. Since there was no residence stipulation, Guyanese residing overseas have a right to vote. As readers would imagine, it elicited some controversy. I was a member of the leadership of the PPP at that time.

Mr. Robert Corbin, then leader of the PNCR, in a masterful display of irony, accused the PPP of seeking to re-introduce the overseas vote which, incidentally, the PNC had facilitated and grossly manipulated in the 1968 elections so much so that voters were registered as residing at the address of a horse pasture in the UK.        Continue reading

Guyana Politics – EXPLOITING THE SENTIMENTS OF THE ELECTORATE – By Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

SHARED GOVERNANCE

Conversation Tree Blog – January 12, 2019  – by Ralph Ramkarran

In a lengthy article written in 2011 before the general elections of that year, for “Freedom House” on “Countries at the Crossroads 2011: Guyana,” Assistant Professor Joan Mars, of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice of the University of Michigan-Flint, said: “Elections are constitutionally due to be held in 2011.

Calls by the political opposition for shared governance have not been endorsed by the ruling PPP/C administration headed by President Jagdeo; with its consistent absolute majority in parliament, the PPP/C has had little incentive to agree to share power, but the idea may be gathering momentum as a major rallying point in the forthcoming elections.“ Assistant Professor Mars, a former practising lawyer in Guyana, concluded: “The current system of majority rule should be reformed to provide for a power-sharing model that is representative of the ethnic diversity in the population.           Continue reading

Guyana: The Government’s Fall Was Always A Distinct Possibility – by Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on December 22, 2018 – by Ralph Ramkarran – Conversation Tree Blog

What transpired in the National Assembly on Friday evening was always a distinct possibility, with the Government’s one seat majority. Election results mean something. In 2011, the electorate told the PPP/C that it wants that party to join in a coalition to manage the affairs of the nation. The PPP/C ignored the message. The electorate removed it from office in 2015. Then it proceeded to give the APNU+AFC coalition a mere one seat majority.

This conveyed another message – that the APNU+AFC coalition government should proceed cautiously and engage with the Opposition.             Continue reading

Guyana Politics: The Familiar Ring of the Elections Season – By Ralph Ramkarran

The Familiar Ring of the Elections Season 

By Ralph Ramkarran – 6th October 2018

Local government elections are to be held on November 12. With it, the never-ending stream of suspicions emerged as the Government established new local government units and merged others. The Opposition argued that these were done to give an advantage to the Government and the Opposition, through one of its representatives, promptly launched legal proceedings. This event provided the explanation for the ‘disappearance’ of the Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, on one of the most critical days of the elections process, namely, the day after the submission of lists, when corrections have to be made and defects rectified.       Continue reading

Cheddi Jagan’s Contribution to Guyana’s Independence – By Ralph Ramkarran

CHEDDI JAGAN’S CONTRIBUTION TO GUYANA’S INDEPENDENCE

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Inspired by events that were occurring in the wider world and influenced by progressive views while he was a student in the United States, Dr. Cheddi Jagan returned to Guyana in 1943, then British Guiana, intent on becoming politically involved on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. He chose the trade union movement as an entrance point. Ashton Chase and Jocelyn Hubbard, both trade unionists, were sought out to join with him and Janet Jagan to form the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) on November 6, 1946, as a study and discussion group.

Branches emerged in various places including Kitty, Buxton and Enmore. My father, Boysie Ramkarran, joined the Kitty Group in 1947. Ashton Chase, at the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the PAC said that my father was the Secretary of that group. Eusi Kwayana was active in the Buxton group.   Continue reading

CLUTCHING AT STRAWS – by Ralph Ramkarran

 CLUTCHING AT STRAWS

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on November 28, 2015   –  by  – ConversationTree Blog

The announcement by Government that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Fedders Lloyd, a reputable Indian company, relating to the Specialty Hospital project, has attracted several negative comments. During the life of the last government, the then Opposition consisting of both the AFC and APNU had refused to support the Specialty Hospital.

The AFC’s opposition was founded on the suspect award of the contract to Surendra Engineering, a spare parts supplier, rather than Fedders Lloyd, which had a track record in the construction of such facilities and had made the lowest bid. APNU argued that Guyana needed improved primary care centres, rather than a specialized facility. One high official suggested that ‘Indians’ were ‘taking over.’ Chinese and Brazilian immigrants, who should be applauded for their valuable contributions to Guyana, were spared.    Continue reading

BUDGET BLUES – By Ralph Ramkarran

BUDGET BLUES – By Ralph Ramkarran

Posted on August 22, 2015 by  – Conversation Tree Blog
Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

The population has learnt not to expect much that is edifying in the annual budget debates. This ritual by the political classes throws up with mundane regularity all that is wrong with our political culture. It gives them the opportunity to reinforce the principles that underlie that political culture so as to fuel it up for another year.

It also facilitates the deteriorating behaviour of parliamentarians in attempting to prevent each other from being heard. They must have tried the patience of Speaker Scotland, whose dignified management of the proceedings, and silence at a most insulting and patronizing reference as the ‘new kid on the block,’ were among the bright spots of the week.   Continue reading

Guyana Politics: Things to do on a Honeymoon – by Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Ralph Ramkarran

Things to do on a Honeymoon

Posted on July 18, 2015 – by Ralph RamkarranConversation Tree Blog

It is only fair that the traditional honeymoon period of three months of the new APNU+AFC administration be exhausted before its performance is assessed. The Government has a plan against which a judgment will be made. It is called the hundred-day programme. Little is heard of it nowadays but we, the people, who are intended to be its beneficiaries, are looking forward anxiously to its fulfillment.

The public is not familiar with the inner workings of Governments and we acknowledge that urgent events are demanding attention. Last week it was the heavy rains and flooding which required top priority – a 4 am Cabinet meeting. It is not known if all Ministers were able to make it.   Continue reading

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