In the long struggle of mankind to rise out of a brutal past, which began in caves – bopping folks’ heads with spiked clubs to settle disputes!! – “Government of the people, by the people and for the people” might’ve arrived rather late on the scene. But when we get right down to it, democracy’s done all right, innit?! In our case, we don’t have to go as far back as the Stone Age, cause the chattel slavery – the foundation of our country – wasn’t much different in its brutal social relations. If you call treating human beings like cattle “social” relations!!
Well, yesterday was “International Day for Democracy” (IDD), and it behooves us to reflect on the state of our democracy. As the UN declared back in 2007, when it launched the commemoration: “International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world. Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of the international community can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality.”
We don’t have the space to reflect on the “world” – save to say that democracy looks pretty bleak right now in Haiti. Guyana’s democracy faces enough travails to fill a whole book – and they still ain’t settled!! And when you mull that over, you can’t help but conclude that the biggest challenge democracy faces in Guyana is the PNC! That’s right!
Even though the British finagled matters to oust the PPP – like changing First Past the Post to Proportional Representation – we could’ve still had a functional democracy if Burnham had accepted a coalition Government with the PPP. But he was anti-democratic to his very core, and refused to appreciate that “government by the people” meant their votes ought to be counted to select who’d govern on their behalf! So, he started rigging elections as far back as 1968. From then on, it was a case of “once dog start suck egg ‘e cyan stap!!” And Burnham went to the grave in 1985 not stopping!
And that brings us right up to March 2nd 2020, when the PNC went to the polls under Burnham’s protege, David Granger. He promptly decided he was going to follow in his master’s footsteps when he realized he’d lost!! And as the UN Declaration had prophesied, “only with the full participation of the international community can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality”. And they certainly did – the US, UK, EU, Caricom, Commonwealth, OAS, and practically the entire UN stood down Granger and the PNC!
But they haven’t given up yet…have they? Nope, they’re now protesting the PPP campaigning amongst African Guyanese for votes as “slave catching”! Not democracy!!
The theme this year for IDD is “Empowering the next generation.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?? The social world is constantly changing, and it’s always the new generation – the Yutes who’re gonna inherit it – who gotta ensure that the world serves their interests. And this means upholding democracy and democratic norms so that their voices are included in the decisions that impact them. So how are our Yutes doing on the democratic front right now??
And “right now” is an important qualifier, since, just 3 years ago, those Yutes witnessed the frontal attack on democratic norms that would’ve set us back decades politically. So, what’s the lesson for them?? First, they must accept that attacks on democracy ain’t something that only their parents and grandparents should worry about. There’s a clear and present danger to democracy from a PNC that just can’t accept free and fair elections.
Secondly, they must accept that democracy can’t be separated from human rights – which is what being human is all about; innit, Yutes?
…in International Relations
Pressie’s in Washington setting straight the distortions a bunch of PNC partisans have been spreading about our dear Mudland. Mainly that the Govt’s creating an “apartheid state” here!! He met the US Black Caucus and spiked that whopper!!