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By Mark DaCosta- In part 1 of this series of articles, three postulates were articulated:
- The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – through its administrative regime – is deliberately driving Guyana away from a democratic system of governance, towards a total dictatorship.
- Guyana has reached a political tipping or equilibrium point – the country is now more of a dictatorship than it is a democracy.
- It is not possible to revert to a true democratic system without the intervention of a force outside the ruling PPP cabal.
This article will examine the first postulate, and subsequent ones will offer proof of the remaining assertions. But first, Guyanese should take note of a few facts and predictions.
- The PPP will continue – for pragmatic reasons – to claim to be a democratic party for many years to come, unless there is a dramatic and earth-shattering international geopolitical shakeup.
- Anyone in the PPP who dares to threaten the power of the inner cabal will either be eliminated or sidelined.
- The PPP cabal will become increasingly brutal, brazen, and authoritarian in its actions.
- The cabal will speed up its attempts to take over and control all aspects of life in Guyana.
- The PPP cabal will continue to tighten its control of Guyana’s resources, particularly oil.
- The PPP cabal will launch a full-scale legislative agenda aimed at cementing its power in law.
At this point, the term, “creeping dictatorship” is introduced. This process is also called autocratisation by experts. It is posited that Guyana is a creeping dictatorship, and is undergoing a process of autocratisation that started slowly, but is creeping up.
An international report by the University of Gothenburg states the following:
“More democracies than ever before are experiencing a decline in democratic qualities, and 60 of the 75 democracies that at some point have gone through a process of autocratisation have ultimately become dictatorships,” says Anna Lührmann, Associate Senior Lecturer.”
The report says, too:
“What is unique about the decline of democracy today is that the process is slow and that it is happening unobtrusively. The military coups and hasty impositions of one-party states seen in previous decades have been replaced by protracted political manoeuvres. In 33 of 47 episodes of autocratisation in countries where democracy has been in decline since 1994, it has been democratically elected politicians who have gradually undermined democratic rule.
“They undermine democracy by gradually taking over power over the media and civil society and by making it more difficult to conduct free and fair elections, for example. Corruption can be one means used to do this, but it is far from the only one. They often also use threats of violence and sham legal processes, such as legislating against certain organisations,” says Professor Staffan I. Lindberg.”
Columnist and political researcher Stephen M. Walt has listed 10 signs of a creeping dictatorship or political autocratization. They are:
- Systematic efforts to intimidate the media
- Strengthening pro-government media
- Politicising the civil service
- Using government surveillance against opponents
- Using State power to reward backers and punish opponents
- Stacking courts and commissions with supporters of the ruling cabal
- Unequal law enforcement
- Rigging the system in favour of the ruling cabal
- Demonising the political opposition.
This article has successfully argued the first premise – that a core cabal at the centre of the PPP is deliberately and systematically driving Guyana away from democratic governance, and towards an autocratic and dictatorial system.
As this series continues, the other postulates and points will be examined.