We noted with delight your article on December 16 headed `Constitutional electoral reforms should be ‘people-driven’ – President, former Presidents say. ‘
While in office, former President Granger had sent a similar message about constitutional reforms, when he said “I don’t want boardroom constitutional reform, I want public debate. I want people in their communities to meet and express their views … we need to approach the people, find out what the people think … we need to listen to them. ”(SN, June 20, 2016)
The Electoral Reform Group (ERG), a citizen-based group launched earlier this month, agrees that citizens must be at the center of reform efforts. As such, we are encouraged by the consensus on a ‘people-driven’ approach to reform among President Ali and the four former living Presidents.
To this end, ERG has highlighted the importance of Article 13 in our constitution, which sees Guyana democracy as “providing increased opportunities for the participation of citizens, and their institutions, in State management and decision-making processes, with special emphasis. on those areas of decision making that directly affect their well-being. “Few would deny that Guyana’s elections directly affect the welfare of citizens.
However, we have found significant levels of citizen cynicism in their efforts to participate in the State’s decision-making processes. Tokenistic consultations, inadequate preparation, no feedback loops, limited implementation of decisions, elite holding – these are examples of what we need to avoid in the future ‘people-driven’ electoral reform process.
In 2021, ERG plans to engage with citizens using high quality stakeholder engagement tools and techniques that demonstrate inclusion, transparency and respect, for example. Within our limited resources we will do our best to ensure that all voices are heard, with particular attention given to under-represented or excluded groups, such as youth, women, Indigenous people, and the poor.
We believe that a citizen-centered approach to citizens will bring out the wisdom of our People and lead, in partnership with the State, towards the most meaningful decisions on electoral reform. To this end, ERG will be working with all interested citizens to lay the ground in 2021 for an election we can all be proud of in 2025.
Yours of Guyana,
Kerry Anne Cort-Kansinally