Has republicanism improved the quality of governance and democracy? 

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Dear Editor

WPA joins with the rest of Guyana in observing the 51st anniversary of our country’s attainment of republican status. Fifty- one years do not represent a long time in the life of a country, but it is enough time to reflect on the journey to date. Guyana became a republic a mere four years after independence and in the process became the first Anglophone Caribbean country to make a clean break with the British Crown. The move to a republic was meant to turn the country away from the ghosts of colonialism and in the direction of a new and improved governance, both at the level of culture and institutions.

The question that Guyanese must ask is this—has republicanism improved the quality of governance and democracy? If republicanism means that sovereignty rests with the people through their elected representatives, has government truly reflected the wishes of the people? Has republicanism helped to heal the wounds of centuries of bondage and the ethnic strife that ensued?

The last fifty-one years have been difficult ones for the country as it lurched from one socio-economic and political crisis to another. The legacy of colonialism took its toll, but some of the missteps were of our own doing. The political parties and their leaders on both sides of the political divide have hardly governed the country as a republic. The disdain for democratic values and the marginalization of the people from the political process are glaring deficiencies that have combined to stifle genuine development.


This year’s observances come on the heels of a contentious election that has left the country in a precarious state. The dream of a united Guyana has been dealt a stunning blow by the machinations of local and global forces intent on manipulating Guyana’s new-found oil-wealth. WPA firmly believes that republicanism and ethnic domination cannot co-exist. We, therefore, urge Guyanese of all political persuasions to use this moment to reflect on the state of our republic.


Working People’s Alliance

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