A wide cross-section of the society would agree with TK on the need to overhaul the Constitution. Unfortunately, neither the ruling coalition nor the opposition PPP seems interested in such a transforming action.
Here is the issue. Do we even know what it is that we want the constitution to do. If we don't know then revising or rewriting will not change much.
There was supposed to be dialogue with Civil Society, which the coalition gov't has now "forgotten" about. It seems to me that left to the politicians we will not see an effective constitution which puts Guyana's political/ethnic environment on a positive trajectory.
I suggest that Guyanese need to get over their fears of ethnic insecurity and I mean Indians, Africans and whoever these so called "mixed" people are.
It is quite clear what the Amerindian dilemma is. That of these other groups is subjected to conjecture as we can see right here on GNI. The Indo KKK scream that Roger Khan is a hero because he "saved Indians". The impact of this on non Indians isn't something that they wish to discuss. So it is evident that people from each of the two major groups, and those who claim mixed ancestry have radically different ways of analyzing Guyana.
The fact remains that ethnic issues dominate our politics and who gets hired or promoted in BOTH the public and the private sector. Allegedly also who gets loans and who gets contracts. Guyanese always like to blame the politicians, or insist that they are no problems except at elections. This being their response to being afraid to discuss this issue openly. Clearly ethnicity is a 24/7 issue in Guyana.
We don't even agree as to what a "Guyanese" is and how we should view our multi ethnic/cultural/religious society.
Some argue (mainly non Indians) that we are a salad bowl, each touching the other and so having impact on each other and blurring the sharp lines of ethnicity.
Others claim that its about 5 separate nations that merely share space, this being the Indo-supremacists like Ravi Dev and the IAC. Where that leaves Guyanese who have multi ethnic/cultural families is left to debate. But Ravi Dev and others loudly object to any suggestion that there has also been some "creolization" of the Indo Guyanese/Caribbean person. Ravi Dev will even imply that a culturally blended Indian isn't a true Indian and so must be put into the "creole" space, that being a euphemism for "black people".
Until this ethnic issue is discussed I don't know that we are ready to discuss the constitution issue. Clearly a revised constitution should have as its goal mechanisms to reduce the ethnic paranoia so if we don't know what this is and why it occurs what do we do.
In fact Indians and non Indians even define racism differently. To Indians its about racist attacks by blacks that they feel occurs because the armed forces are almost exclusively black, so not bound to protect them. They don't want to join these entities yet they rant that they main "too black".
To Africans its about economic access and the notion that they must have political power to counter Indian economic dominance. Not much acknowledgement that its only 5% of Indians who enjoy this dominance . And that Portuguese are actually more economically powerful, even if invisible, than is generally realized. To the African its therefore important that "we party win de election" not considering how incompetent this group is or whether they in fact benefit from this group being in power. Its that there is a need to keep the Indians out of gov't to offset their supposed dominance in other aspects of Guyanese life.
So how do we address these issues in what its a transitional multi ethnic/cultural/religious society where these perspectives do not even neatly break down based on ethnicity, geography or social class?
The Constitution is NOT going to do the work that Guyanese seem afraid to do on their own.