Home Letters Constitutional reform needs a decisive, deliberate President as its champion
President David Granger said that if constitutional reform means that the Executive powers have to be reduced, so be it. That is what they call in English, a ‘passive’ statement. As a Historian, Granger knows the atrocities which came with the Executive Presidency and its accompanying powers. He, therefore, should have made an ‘active’ statement on the subject. He should come out and say that he thinks that the powers of the Presidency should be reduced. If there is one thing I have observed about the current President is his flexibility and pliability in allowing Guyana to be taken to another level. I do not see him as a generally decisive person. He comes across as more reactive than deliberate. Two recent examples of this are when he addressed the matter of the audits and now this issue.
I do not know much about President Burnham personally, however, what I have read and heard about him give me the impression that he was very deliberate. I know more about President Jagdeo, he too is deliberate. President Hinds and Ramotar, were both passive in their behaviours. I do not know enough about the other Presidents to compare them in this regard.
This country was shaped largely by the Presidents who were deliberate; Burnham and Jagdeo. They used both the blatant and nuanced innards of the constitution to justify their deliberations. They milked the edges of the constitution for all that its worth. I wish I could say that the country is the better for it.
What I could say – and I have said it before – is that history will not be kind to President Granger if he leaves office and there is no substantive constitutional reform, which includes the weakening of the Presidential powers. He will forever be blamed. I remember that Burnham used to say, “Shooting me is a waste, another Rasta will take my place”. It is because of this that I agree with Nigel Hughes when he says, “My position does not depend on who is the President; my position depends on the powers, not who is occupying the position of the President. You don’t wait till you have a good candidate to decide whether or not you are going to change the powers of the President. You try to protect yourself in the event that you have a bad candidate.”
Granger, therefore, will have to do more than just acquiesce to a “taming” of the Executive powers. For this reform to be speedy and significant, the President will have to be out there representing it, akin to how he represents the pardoning of those young offenders. After all, this issue of constitutional reform is older, with much more ramifications than those judicial pardons. Constitutional reform needs a decisive, deliberate, President as its champion.
Pastor Wendell P