Home Letters What constitutes democracy and why it’s important for Guyana’s to remain intact
With everything that is happening right now regarding the election’s impasse and threat to our democracy, I find it fitting to share with the readers my little understanding of what constitutes democracy and why it’s important for Guyana’s democracy to remain intact.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, democracy is a form of Government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free and fair elections.
The elected Government is tasked with managing the affairs of the State, this would include foreign diplomacy, military defence, maintenance of domestic order, administration of justice, provision of public goods and services, promotion of economic growth and development, and the operation of social insurance and social welfare programmes among other things. It is also worthy to note that the administration of the State should be done so that the majority of citizens can benefit, not just a select few. In Guyana’s case, our elections are held every 5 years and it’s during this period that the citizens get to determine if they are satisfied with the performance of the current Government or if they need to elect a new Government who they perceive will act in their best interest.
Elections, in my opinion, serve as a form of checks and balance on the executive, which minimises the Executive’s ability to abuse the trust that citizens placed in them.
Now if we go back to the definition of the term democracy we would see that the power to elect the Government is in the hands of the citizens. On March 2, 2020, the citizens of Guyana exercised that right and voted to elect a Government of their choice, whether specific individuals or parties agree with the outcome, it’s not for them to decide, it’s for the majority of Guyanese to decide and based on the legitimate Caricom observed recount, it clearly shows that in excess of 15,000 Guyanese want the PPP/C to govern the affairs of the State instead of the current caretaker APNU/AFC Government. This is the results which reflect the will of the people as provided for in a democracy, hence the will of the people should be respected if we want Guyana to remain a democratic State.
I assume that the current APNU/AFC caretaker Government is of the view that they are better poised to govern Guyana, but unfortunately for them, they are not the ones to decide. And if they continue in their attempts to suppress the will of the people and take away the right from the citizens to elect a Government of their choice, Guyana will be moving away from democracy and heading towards a dictatorship.
Now some readers may ask what is a dictatorship, using the same Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a dictatorship can be defined as a form of Government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique.
Using the current scenario and if Guyana is to slip into a dictatorship it means that the PNC, which is disguised as APNU/AFC, will have the absolute power to select who will rule the country, as they are currently attempting to do and there would be no electoral process. Thus, a President will be forced upon the citizens whether they approve of the individual or not. The citizens wouldn’t have a choice in deciding who governs the country.
Many of you may recall the unilateral appointment of Retired Justice James Patterson in October 2017, which was done by Caretaker President Granger, luckily the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was there to intervene and rule that the appointment was unconstitutional. However, if Guyana is to slip into a dictatorship, the dictator/s would take away any jurisdiction which the CCJ currently has. And the APNU/AFC dictators will be the ones making the laws and enforcing same. They will also be free to employ their family and friends in strategic positions and pay them large salaries.
So we must ask ourselves if this is the Guyana we want, where our leaders are not held accountable and are free to do as they please.
If it’s not then we must reject the brazen attempts at transforming Guyana into a dictatorship which the APNU/AFC is currently seeking to do.