[GUYANA is a Republican state and surrounded by Republican neighbours; Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana also shares Republican status with other Caribbean islands friends; Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic and Haiti. Other sisterly Caribbean countries chose to retain the Queen as the Head (a Monarch) and are independent with a Prime Minister but not Republic with a President; Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica and the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Guyana was not a member of the 10 territories of the West Indies Federation Association formed in 1958 and collapsed in 1962, being weak and limited to making decisions for internal affairs only. Despite the association as Commonwealth nations, a knitted body as CARICOM, the tantalising question haunts many in the West Indies, who is better off being independent versus republic?
The great son of Guyana’s soil, the honorable Sir Ron Saunders, had once op-ed on a conversation between Sir Lester Baird, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and, Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, back in 1994, shortly after the countries had established diplomatic relations. Sir Lester had indicated to Castro that he was contemplating on relinquishing the monarch as the country’s Head of State and Castro had inquired why. “Does she interfere with your government?” Castro asked. Sir Lester had replied in the negative and added that her role was performed by a local representative and only ceremonial, having no executive authority in the government. Castro’s response shocked, surprised and left all flabbergasted and baffled. Castro advised, “In which case, you might consider remaining as you are. The Queen doesn’t interfere with your government and she provides to foreign investors and others a level of confidence in the constitutional arrangements of your State.” Interestingly, Barbados is considering going Republic this year while Australia and Canada prefer not to and remain independent sovereign countries. The underlying question bothers allied Caribbean sisters and brothers, why try to fix a system that is not broken?
After the introduction of Universal Adult Suffrage in the elections of 1963, Cheddie Jagan as premier was allowed to rule for only 133 days and was forcefully removed from office by the British and replaced by an interim government. The Proportional Representative formula enforced again by the British permitted a coalition between the PNC and UF parties to gain more votes than the PPP party to form the government in 1964. The hands of the British and Americans stabbed the back of the PPP party and dirty money deployed by the CIA, saw the violence fanning a flame which burnt the good relationship which had existed between the Indo and Afro-Guyanese. Both Britain and America are responsible for separating the unity of all ethnicities in Guyana, having supported the sly accomplice, Peter D’aguiar and, the crafty and cunning Burnham, who deviously out foxed Cheddie Jagan.
Guyana gained independence from Great Britain on 1966, 26th May and the PNC party ruled for 28 years until 1992, having rigged all the elections. Independence, with a French and Latin connation, is defined as a person, nation, country or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self- government and usually sovereignty over its territory. The PNC party kept the PPP at bay and foiled the exuberance of the UF party’s optimism. Burnham immediately proceeded to hurriedly dismantle the British systems and deployed his own methods and, impatiently removed “scars” of the British affluence and the master-servant touch. The Europeans and Portuguese in Guyana were silently taking a cue and began their exodus. Independence brought about the dismantling of a country of six races and the beginning of a reign of terror by a charismatic but shrewd leader. In a question of hindsight, was an immature Guyana ready for freedom to escape a safety net, endangering hospitality with hostility?
A Co-operative Republic of Guyana was declared on February, 23rd, 1970 and Burnham quickly ventured into the many nationalisation of industries and his party members joyfully began filling round holes with square pegs, compensation of loyalty to Burnhamism. A republican state is a form of government, one in which power rests with the citizens and their legally elected representatives. The country is considered a “public matter” and not the private concern or property of rulers. A rigged “referendum” was held in 1978. Burnham established the paramountcy of the PNC party over the State, Parliament and the Judiciary. The primary positions of power within a republic are attained through democracy or a mix of democracy with oligarchy or autocracy rather than being unalterably occupied by any given family lineage or group. Burnham governed as a dictator with a party’s policy of divide and control. The police force, the army, the public service, state agencies and all government offices were employing PNC members and were installed with 90 per cent of Afro-Guyanese. One people, one nation and one destiny became a myth, a front, a farce and a slogan as a whitewash to promote propaganda in name and nature only.
Feed, clothe and house was a concept ingrained to accommodate PNC party members through cooperative agencies with the presentation of party cards from holders. As Guyanese began to awake with their backs against the wall, mass migration began and Burnham was only too happy with his evil plan. National Service was conceptualised with the hope of a factory producing a master byproduct to change the landscape of Guyana’s impetus. But man proposes and God disposes. Burnham thought he would have lived forever as he was making an empire with a kingdom fit for himself as a permanent king and a messiah! His plans were abruptly foiled and got cancelled in 1985. Guyanese need to ask the pertinent question, did becoming a republic state place a great value on virtue or more stress on a strained status, to remove stability and unity from the fray of politics?[/b]
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