BY NIGEL HUGHES
I read with some bemusement of the government, peopled exclusively by PPP/C members and supporters, seeking the intervention of the Courts on the basis that the “Composition of the Committee of selection is violative of the principle of proportionality as contemplated by the Constitution”.
Less than six months ago when the same government was in office, albeit under a different parliamentary configuration, the principle of proportionality seemed to have eluded the consideration of the government on the issue of distribution of the state’s resources , building of capacity in communities not considered traditional supporters of the government, transfer of state assets, appointment of ambassadors, allocation of state resources, removal of the subvention to the Critchlow Labour College and the list goes on.
Now still in office but subject only to potential scrutiny with consequences, the Government cries foul and raises the issue of proportionality.
Well let us walk the talk as a nation, let us begin to discuss the proportional distribution of executive power, proportional distribution of the State’s resources, proportional participation in the decision making process from top to bottom, the proportional and equitable building of capacity in all communities, the holding of local government elections throughout the country, review of previous decisions which resulted in the curious distribution of the state’s resources particularly sea defence and road contracts, house lot distribution and procurement.
In the previous dispensation where 51% of the votes was the equivalent of and guaranteed 100 % of the power, there was deafening silence on the “principle of proportionality as contemplated by the Constitution.”
Now because that those of us with 48% are not assured 100 per cent of the power, the minority or the majority, depending on your perspective, must cooperate with, or at least not tyrannize the minority.
The majoritarian system which is envisaged and embodied by the current constitution does not create winners who share power or want to share power. Politics becomes the battle for total victory rather than a method of government open to all significant groups.
With the Executive without absolute power in the parliament crying proportionality, perhaps the time has come for the Republic to revisit its constitutional structures with some urgency so all her citizens will be guaranteed participation and representation in the Government.
“Unchartered territory” as the fears expressed by the Minister of Finance may be, we should heed the words of that great Guyanese patriot A. R. F. Webber when he urged us a century ago “ Let us look beyond the immediate horizon. Away from the cringing fear which bids us shiver. The night must pass. Panic helps nobody. Let us greet the unseen with cheer.”