Devolution may be the best solution proposed
Stabroek News
August 12, 2001

Dear Editor,

Dr David Hinds keeps writing letter after letter on the theme that power-sharing is the best thing for Guyana's social, economic and political peace and development.

In recent years, Dr. Hinds and a number of other letter-writers and even some of the younger politicians have discovered that Guyana is a plural society. For a plural society to function properly at its optimum, socio-political arrangements mirroring the plural society must be put in place.

Many letter-writers are advocating their own peculiar brand of plural socio-political arrangements for Guyana. Some have suggested partitioning the country; some like Dr. Hinds have suggested power sharing between the major racio-political elements; others have suggested Federalism; still others have suggested Devolution. All these suggestions have numerous flaws and the proponents of each brand of socio-political arrangement attacks the others.

The two major political parties have stood aloof from these pluralist socio-political proposals and debates, pointing out that the imperfections in each of these proposals is worse than the present system to which we are all accustomed. Accordingly, they insist that they have no intention of jumping into an unknown ocean.

Without committing myself to any of the plural models. I may say that devolution seems to be the least harmful. It is one which is not as conflict-generating as power-sharing, does not run the risk of having parts of the country behaving as if they do not belong to Guyana, and leads to less upset in people's habits of thought and assumptions. Devolution seems to be the modern trend and is working quite well in countries like India; China and Russia and several other countries. The United Kingdom with its four nations is being devolved into four regions and Spain, with its intractable Basque problem has moved to devolution in the Basque country.

I would suggest that Dr. Hinds and others spend more time and energy in trying to force the Government to appoint a special Constitution Commission which reviews the constitutional position in Guyana and considers the various plural models appropriate to Guyana and makes its recommendations. Dr. Hinds and others should also lobby the main opposition party, but they would have to try even harder since the opposition has a history and reputation for intransigence.

I hope that Dr. Hinds and others would take up the challenge.
Yours faithfully
M. Bhushan