Granger leans economy towards Burnham’s socialist control system
…imagine what will happen to oil resources – Ralph Ramkarran
The APNU/AFC Coalition Administration is silently leaning the economy towards Forbes Burnham’s socialist control system — to co-operativism and poverty — where the sugar workers suffer and the private sector has no influence.
This is the damning view promulgated this past week by former Speaker of the National Assembly, Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, in his online media outlet conversationtree.org.
Examining some of the pervasive divisions that still exist in Guyana between the two dominant ethnic groups – Indo- and Afro-Guyanese — and their perceived political representatives in high office, the former longstanding Executive Member of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said the manner in which these ethnic blocs represent what they perceive to be their interests has evolved over the years, but a central theme keeps revolving around the idea of agreed united political action.
Looking at the possible adverse consequence of this prolonged status quo in light of the imminent influx of oil revenues,
Ramkarran concluded that with the developing oil economy and vastly more resources available, “these problems will intensify and multiply, unless there is a political solution in Guyana.”
The former Speaker recalled that in 2002 the PNC accepted ‘shared governance’ in principle. He drew reference to the fact that, in 2015, the APNU/AFC coalition accepted constitutional reform, which should have seen separate elections for president. The vice-president should have been the person receiving the second highest votes in the presidential elections, and all political parties gaining more than 15 per cent of the vote should have been part of the Government.
This situation is yet to be obtained, and while the coalition promised to start the process of constitutional reform within one month of its election to office, the foundations for this are yet to be materialized, he said.
On the matter of the systemic complaint of corruption locally, Ramkarran posited that this phenomenon did not emerge with the PPP.
“One reason that caused its expansion was the expansion of public spending from $3 billion a year prior to 1992 to $20 billion-plus thereafter. With the oil resources, which will multiply public spending several times over, and one political group in control, imagine what will happen,” Ramkarran posits.
Ramkarran observed that the dominant narratives in and about Guyana are conditioned by slavery, indentureship and their consequences.
“One major consequence is the existence of two ethnic blocs which have been socialised differently and separately…Guyana consists largely of two different societies, in watchful competition, but largely at peace, existing under the same national roof,” he posited.
The Senior Counsel reminded that during the 1950s, two major industrial events – namely, the Teare strike of transport workers and the Enmore strike of sugar workers — pushed the restive middle class into a national alliance under the PPP.
“The underlying idea was that cooperation to achieve independence and socialism will benefit all who were represented under the big tent of the PPP…That idea of a single big political tent did not last, and it should be no surprise that it did not,” He declared.
According to Ramkarran, “We need to accept the existence of the PPP and PNC, and work to bring (political unity) by way of constitutional reform, which both political parties and the diplomatic community in Guyana support.”
He suggests that while this will not solve all problems, it is the basic prerequisite for the reduction of discrimination, corruption and the other identified ills.