Birthdays are always a time for celebration and reflection. Many Guyanese will feel happy that we have survived as a united nation. For reasons of partisan politicking, Independence was de-emphasized after Guyana became a Republic on 23 February, the date of the Berbice Slave Rebellion in 1763. It was also conveniently close to Burnham’s birthday on 20 February. Republic Day became the occasion for Guyanese to express their patriotic fervour while Independence Day was all but forgotten, only to be revived after the PPP attained office in 1992. Although there are virtually no celebrations by the public, I am sure that most agree with me that a day off work is welcome. The reason for the holiday gives us the opportunity to reflect on what Guyana has achieved while enjoying time over a long weekend with friends and family and maybe a glass of wine or beer along with favourite dishes. For some, swimming and picnicking out of town are the preferred means of celebration. For many it beats, any day, the crowds and raucous music of the younger and more daring on Republic Day.

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Marxism has been in the news recently with our governing political party, the PPP, finally removing it from its constitution on the ground that it’s an ‘ism,’ a relic of the past. There are good reasons, other than immediate political gain or convenience, for removing Marxism-Leninism from the PPP’s constitution which I have advocated in these columns in the past. In any event, the PPP, seeking to preserve the baby while throwing out the bathwater, declared full-throated adherence to the working class and its interests, did not succeed in exorcising Marxism from its constitution.

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The Congress of the Peoples’ Progressive Party, few and far between, is taking place this weekend in the elevated ambience of the Arthur Chung Convention Centre at Turkeyen, Georgetown. It is the largest in PPP’s history, attended by 3,000 delegates and observers. The number of delegates has not been revealed, so it is impossible to calculate the membership of the PPP, which has always been proportionately low in comparison to its support, and secret. The reasons for this occurred from the early 1970s when membership rules were tightened to create a more disciplined party to contend with its changing nature and the intensification of authoritarian rule. If the same rule of one delegate to three members apply, then a publication of the number of delegates would indicate the size of its membership.

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The issue of presidential immunity reached a high point in the United States during last week in the hearing of a case in the United States Supreme Court brought by former President Donald Trump. Mr. Trump has long vociferously advocated that he is protected by presidential immunity from the prosecution instituted against him against him relating to the violent January 6 insurrection in Washington aimed at preventing the declaration of the election results and, consequently, a transition of power. There is no dispute that, based largely on US case law, a president is not immune from prosecution for unofficial conduct which constitute criminal offences, but is immune from acts arising from official conduct and the “outer perimeter” of such conduct. Mr. Trump’s lawyers argue that his actions in the January 6 events constituted official conduct.



Article 147(2) of the Constitution provides that: “Except with his or her own consent no person shall he hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom to strike.” The next article, 147(3) provides that: “Neither an employer nor a trade union shall be deprived of the right to enter into collective agreements.” Guyana has gone further than any other Caribbean country in enshrining in its Constitution positive references to striking and collective bargaining. This attests to Guyana’s specific history and to the history of the Caribbean where most ruling and opposition political parties have their origins in trade unions.