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Guyanese are in effect powerless

first_imgDear Editor,Reference is made to a letter from Hydar Ally titled “Term limits consistent with norms of good and accountable governance” regarding the Caribbean (CCJ) ruling in the so called third-term case.But the issue before the CCJ was not whether there should be term limits; the issue was whether the people are sovereign over Parliament or whether Parliament is sovereign over the people. To make it even more simple to understand the issue, the case was whether term limits could be approved by Parliament or must be approved by the people.The Guyana courts ruled that people are sovereign and must approve term limits in a referendum. The CCJ overturns that ruling granting sovereignty to the Parliament.The matter could have been settled very easily by holding a referendum rather than spending tens of millions of dollars on legal fees and other costs.The people could have been empowered to decide the issue.As experience around the world has shown – including Zimbabwe, to which Ally makes reference – that government must never be trusted. People should have ultimate power and not their governments or the Legislature (Parliament).In countries where people are empowered, the countries do well. For comparison, in the US where hundreds of thousands of Diaspora Guyanese live, the US Supreme Court ruled in precedent setting cases that the people are sovereign.The US Congress (Parliament) cannot make amendments to the Constitution on its own. Many attempts to amend the Constitution by Congress failed.The Supreme Court would have none of it with the peoples’ role.The American people play a leading role to meddle with the Constitution.In the US, the people can also directly amend the Constitution without any role from Congress or the President by holding conventions state wise (statewide) and nationally. Congress or the US Government cannot play any obstructionist role in preventing the people from amending their Constitution. For Guyana, Prliament towers over the people. Guyanese are in effect powerless.Why can’t our Government allow Guyanese voters to decide on constitutional amendments or in altogether drafting a new Constitution that addressed our unique situation, including enshrining term limits?Yours faithfully,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

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