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House Speaker wants List System scrapped

House Speaker Raphael Trotman (left) and Blue Caps’ Clinton Urling in the background seated during an informal discussion in the National Assembly’s Chamber, Parliament Building.

House Speaker, Raphael Trotman on Tuesday called for a return to the constituency first-pass-the-post electoral system to allow for direct election of parliamentarians rather than selection at the discretion of the leader.

 “That is something we have to change and get rid of and it’s been here since 1964 and it has to go, the party list system,” Trotman told a meeting with the recently-formed non-governmental organization, Blue Caps. Under the guidance of city businessman Clinton Urling, that organisation’s major focus is the need for local government election.

Speaking with the group in the Parliament Chamber, the Speaker justified his call for an end to the Proportional Representation list system by saying that often times those selected are not from the more populated areas of the country.

He also said party-leaders select parliamentarians based on favouritism. “It could mean that the people who are really for the people ad of  the people don’t get chosen because the party leader may be slightly uncomfortable with that person and  a person who does the sucking up gets chosen,” said Trotman who is a former MP for the Desmond Hoyte-led People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).

He questioned the wisdom of having a political system in which ordinary Guyanese could not identify with their elected representatives.  He further charged hat race and racism have resulted in Guyanese excusing bad leadership.

He said that was one reason why leadership has not been aligned with the views of the people, resulting in a situation of “ you have to vote me if not the other side is worse so.”

Britain and the United States (US) in 1964 agreed that the electoral system should be changed from the first-pass-the-post to Proportional Representation because the US did not want British Guiana to be granted independence under socialist Dr. Cheddi Jagan for fear he would have set up a Soviet satellite state in the hemisphere, second to Cuba.