OPINION: Consultation not an abstraction, Mr. AG; not a favor to the people, sir (due consideration for law)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 6 April 2022, 10:50 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

I agree partially with Guyana’s Hon. Attorney General when he said, “Article 13 not enforceable; Govt. doesn’t have to consult with anyone -Nandlall” (Demerara Waves, April 5).  I have to watch myself, as I first agreed with the President (worker shortage), and now the worldly-wise AG on his trickiness with consultation.  I must be getting mellow(er) nowadays.  I can deal with gentility more than I can with the hallucinatory and stupidity, which is what I think cloaks this latest offering from Guyana’s AG.

I leave the hallowed courts to determine what about Article 13 is enforceable or not.  And the AG being the AG that he is did cover his tracks with, “Consultation is an important component of good governance.  It’s a prerequisite in a democracy.”  Like most things from well-conditioned PPP operators, there is that silky balancing touch, which means naught, hot air that is found chilling in its homage to hypocrisy.  Though his thrust is legalistic, he should know when that aspect is best left alone.

I believe the AG has it right when he said that “Govt. doesn’t have to consult with anyone.”  Stalin didn’t.  Hitler didn’t.  Vladmir Putin and Kim Jong-un certainly don’t.  According to them, the law favors.  Now just look at how much trouble they have piled upon their peoples.  So, the PPPC Government and the AG of Guyana is in outstanding company where consultation is concerned, as liberally interpreted.  The man is right: dictatorial governments and demagogic leaders don’t have to consult, and they usually don’t.  The laws provide cover.  But that no-obligation-to-consult position of the AG is of a strain of democracy and transparency and accountability (His Excellency, again), which is peculiar to Guyana.

From my perspective, it is a hallmark of good government (and leaders), a characteristic of confident government (and leaders), a necessary, if not mandatory, element of open and honest government (and leaders) that consultation be the order of the day.  In some respects, the AG paid tribute to those, some only.  Now I reiterate this: consultation is not just a nice thing, it is a standard of good governance, of fearless, principled leadership.  On the big things that possess in them the tangibles of national destiny, and what are related to those.  Those are aces above all else, notwithstanding possible provisions of law.

What do the people think, what do the people have to say, what are their anxieties, as all expressed in their reactions?   Honest government wants to hear that.  Oil management and clean governance and genuine reforms come to mind immediately because of their meanings to every citizen.  A good government listens, not to its empty barrels (no names), but the voice of the people.  If I were really to get exercised, I would throw in such vitals as the constitution, the police, and the environmental safeguards needed.  Incidentally, since government doesn’t have any obligation, does not see it fit to consult when such displeases it (to put meaning to the AG’s posture), then the new acting Commissioner of Police should have been instructed to send out an email.  The EPA did take a page out of the AG’s book” doesn’t have to do anything….

If I were to take the AG’s position to its ultimate end, then there is no need for political manifestoes, unidirectional consultation by itself: from party to people.  Since the people count for so little that public consultation is only engaged in and only endured as a favor to them, a necessary nuisance, then I repeat there is no need for manifestoes and campaigns.  Maybe, even GECOM, if the AG’s stand is taken to the limit.  It is why I discern that the public consultations that the PPP Government and its agents participate in are nothing but outright deceptions, total farces, and nothing but low comedy.  In a sense, the AG is having his say and his way: with those kinds of consultations that Guyanese have had, there was no consultation, the “value” of which he mutters.  Thus, his government didn’t only put him up to say that (“doesn’t have to consult), it actually does just that.

When I consider this, I congratulate the AG, for he is now in good company, being of the ilk of those legal poodles John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez, who never let a pro-Bush vision go passing by, without prim legal cover.  As they saw it and interpreted it for the benefit of not nation or commonsense logic, but of leader and party.  On this score, Guyana’s own legal magi, its AG, has stumbled over his feet in his haste to do what keeps him in favorable graces.

Perhaps, the AG is so busy with official business and real estate matters (Middle Street) he forgot, government of the people, for the people, by the people.  Those components are not in a vacuum; consultation is not an abstraction, or charity doled out to the people, Mr. AG.  Or is it, doctor also?  Therefore, it should not be treated so cavalierly, reduced to the unreal.  If the AG knows anything, he knows better than what he took to the airwaves to articulate.  C’mon , man get with the 21st century!  This is not the era of Henry VIII.  Consultation is like human rights and that other magic word inclusion, or as the President said in his inaugural – unity.  Remember that one.  Consultation, if I may lecture the nation’s chief legal brain fleshes out the reality of what we have and what we don’t.  Not because he says so.  Consultation is a two-way street, not top down as if from heaven that is the norm here.

I wish that PPP Government stars from the head-of-state on down would refrain from climbing on these high horses, only to end up getting trampled by them, due to these, ahm, er, idiocies.  To consult, or not to consult, is not a matter of law above all, it is an inalienable right of the people, Mr. AG.