Eyewitness: Polarising…

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…the Courts

While everybody and their uncle’s politics depends on which party could do the most for the country (and not so incidentally themselves!), in Guyana it all had to do with which race or ethnic group the parties “belong” to. It made for real messy politics for over half-a-century! And even though we’re still knee deep in the stuff, up comes two academics from UWI to inform us that we suffer from another political ailment – the “Judicialization of politics”!! Go ahead…your Eyewitness had to roll it off his tongue a few times too!!

Now, after scratching his head and “googling” the expression he found there are several kinds of “judicialization”. And the charge made by those two UWI academics – one of whom had come in with the CariCom Recount team in our Guinness-Book-of-Records Elections – was that rather than resolving certain disagreements that are purely “political”, our politicians keep handing them off to the judiciary.

Now you may say “what’s wrong with that?” Isn’t it a good thing to have a referee to make decisions when there’s disagreement?? Well, that might be so in boxing. But contrary to what some may think, politics isn’t a “blood sport”!! In politics, since the parties represent real live people there are some disagreements they must resolve themselves to that the people will accept “solutions” that weren’t imposed on them.

So let’s take an example from the furor created in legal and political circles about the role of our Guyanese Appellate in the “Judicialization of politics” charge. The academics simply pointed out that during the welter of cases filed by the politicians from both sides of the aisles after the elections, a clear pattern emerged. The Court of Appeal more often than not went along with the PNC claims and had to be overruled by our Apex Court the CCJ – which would reinstate the decision by our CJ in the High Court. Like insisting that the majority of 65 had to be 34, even though the PNC became the govt with a 33-32 majority!!

Now since the CCJ doesn’t have any skin in Guyanese politics, one has to assume their impartiality and wonder about that of our Appellate Court!! But this isn’t the “judicialization of politics” – the fact that the matter wasn’t settled by the politicians makes it that!! Another is this PNC elections petitions case where the PNC can’t accept they made a fatal error when they didn’t follow the procedure for filing the summons oh Granger.
And they’re now expecting to be bailed out by the Appellate Court. They don’t mind sinking the judiciary for their survival!
And half the country still won’t accept the decision! That’s judicialization!

…the Standing Committees

Well, they finally got a Clerk who’s not afraid to enter the arena when the Public Affairs Committee is meeting!! The arena being the very Chambers in which Parliamentary Sitting are conducted. Isn’t this the place where everyone has to speak through the Speaker and refer to each other as “Honourable” this or “Honourable” that? Even when that female MP from the Government benches was having the vapors as she moaned “No Charrandass…no,” and the fella from Linden was elbowing the said Charrandass something fierce, everyone kept their cool!!

So what was going on in the PAC that caused all the Clerks to refuse attending to keep the minutes? It had to be more than cuss words as your Eyewitness had speculated. We Guyanese are inoculated against salty language…having been exposed to more than our fair share growing up. Was there some yelling as we were told? But that’s the way we usually speak!!
The PAC needed – and finally got – someone who could beard the lion?

…workers

The extremists are really going to town on the $250,000 grant to sugar workers who’d been arbitrarily terminated by the PNC – and are still unemployed. They say “severance” was already paid.
So they expect that’ll to feed them forever?