Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Leader of the Opposition Mr. Joseph Harmon has written the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) seeking mediating effort to have President Irfaan Ali constitutionally engage him. Guyanese will watch to see if CARICOM, that has played a more than outside role in the 2020 Election, will rise to the request. Guyanese would remember it was CARICOM that supported the National Recount by sending a team to observe and report on the process.
Whilst there remains credible disapproval about the quality of the report and the actual observation made by the team based on overseeing an insignificant sample, CARICOM played a role. In short, CARICOM was part of the process and owns the result of the process, however questionable such remains. CARICOM cannot now walk away from Guyana.
CARICOM is presently chaired by Mr. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. The Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, was very vocal during the 2020 Election and this must not stop now, tacitly or otherwise. CARICOM has a duty as Guyana’s first external interlocutor to mediate the facilitating and ensuring of constitutional engagement between the President and Leader of the Opposition. As said by CARICOM in the 2020 Recount they were Guyana’s “most legitimate interlocutors.” They must continue to prove this.
President Ali’s insistence that he must first be recognised by the main opposition, the Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change, is frankly,petulant politics. It is a reflection of the type of politics occupying important seats in Guyana. The decadence is also being reflected in the National Assembly and allowed to run amok under a complicit Speaker. It is a new low for democracy and Guyana politics.
The Constitution of Guyana is explicit, in stated articles, requiring engaging between the Leader of the Opposition and President. When the President is setting aconditionality for engagement outside of the Constitution it typifies requirement not supported in law. And this is the disconnect CARICOM should recognise and speak out against. It is appalling CARICOM remains silent to an eight-month impasse.
CARICOM needs not go far in the politics of Guyana where the opposition has not stated, or vocally stated non-recognition for government, but such did not hinder engagement between the two sides. Going as far back to the days of Dr. Cheddie Jagan in 1964 this has been a characteristic of Guyana’s politics. Yet in spite of Dr. Jagan’s non-recognition from 1964 to Bharrat Jagdeo in 2015, who did not recognise the David Granger government, constitutional engagements continued.
For the record, President Ali’s stubbornness of non-engagement until he is verbally recognised is not only new to Guyana’s politics but a new low. Guyanese will wait to see if CARICOM will rise to the occasion to facilitate engagement or sit on the fence, as Guyana descends into constitutional anarchy. Time will tell.
Opposition Leader Harmon seems to be utilising the various channels to talk sense into President Ali’s head. His effort, in this regard, is applauded and recognised, though there remains sskepticism CARICOM may not act, and ensuring constitutional compliance will require more than appeals to good sense through letter writing. There is growing concern the government will not engage until made to through various forms of legitimate protest actions.