Before Guyana started collecting millions of dollars for the exploitation and subsequent sale of its oil resources, there were great expectations about the potential this money holds to transform the country for the better.
But from all appearances, the advent of oil has only served to exacerbate Guyana’s problems. Expressing this opinion recently was seasoned Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Nigel Hughes.
During an interview on Kaieteur Radio, the lawyer specifically said, “…Oil has not made any difference. All that has happened is where you had a hairline fracture; you now have a complete break…fault lines that were already there are now acute…”Hughes contended in this regard that two of Guyana’s issues which oil has exacerbated are its ethnically divided society and the terribly flawed structure of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The lawyer said, “We have real issues here and the solution is that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) cannot be structured the way it is. The problem with Guyana is that if you put up someone (to Chair the body), and they are not of the same ethnicity of one side, there will be perceptions that that person is not going to be fair or that the person would be biased. And it’s a good thing (the GECOM Chair) Ms. (Claudette) Singh is dougla.”
Hughes noted that whoever heads the Commission would be put in an unfair and horrendous position because they have the power to cast a vote. When that person does cast a vote on electoral issues, the lawyer said the Chair would be seen as taking a side. “So it is a matter of which way do they go?” Hughes added.
Taking this into consideration, the lawyer said that Guyana needs to change this state of affairs through Constitutional reform because the current structure is flawed. He insists that it only does more harm than good while reiterating that the oil has made this quite evident in the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Hughes was keen to note that if Guyana is to have another five years without constitutional reform, consequences such as corruption would only continue but on a higher scale.