Yog Mahadeo, Ramon Gaskin lead Civil Society group to advocate for inclusionary governance

A new Civil Society group dedicated to achieving the noble goals and aspirations set out in the Constitution of Guyana has been launched by Guyanese including Consultant Yog Mahadeo and economist Ramon Gaskin. The name of the group is ‘Article 13’ and sets out to seek the establishment of an inclusionary democracy that requires the State to provide every citizen the opportunity to participate in decision-making affecting their well-being.

Its objectives include advocating for good, transparent, accountable, and responsible Governance as well as identifying and proposing solutions which advance Guyana and Guyanese.

The mandate of the group is in keeping with Article 13 of the Constitution which states that “the principal objective of the political system of the State is to establish an inclusionary democracy by providing increasing opportunities for the participation of citizens, and their organisations in management and decision- making processes of the State, with particular emphasis on those areas of decision- making that directly affect their well-being.”

In a statement, the group said its members are individuals and organisations engaged in diverse areas of work but united in their commitment to the ideals set out in the Preamble to the Constitution, including the creation of a harmonious community based on democratic values, social justice, human rights, and the rule of law.

“More than forty years since its pronouncement in the 1980 Constitution and almost two decades since that objective was elevated to a right protected under Article 149 (2) of the Constitution, Article 13 remains an unfulfilled Constitutional mandate. The modest goal of our group is to advocate for these aspirations and rights to be realised, for a land and a country of which wherever we roam, we can hold our heads high, stand tall and proudly proclaim that, as a nation, we live our dreams,” it noted.

It added that Guyana’s politics “is more about political party competition and power than our people,” while the country’s economic model is based on low wages and worker marginalisation.

“Development strategies continue to divide the national bounty unequally against the interest of most of our citizens,” the group said.

Positing that the country’s wealth is accruing to foreign entities, homeland security is being diminished by damage to the natural environment and sea defence and the rule of law is too often selectively applied, Article 13 said it will prepare for discussion Position Papers on these and other matters and advocate for their adoption by its parliamentary representatives.

It also highlighted an increase in crime and other issues which need to be addressed.

“Our group, Article 13 has been created to ensure that the people of Guyana are represented and heard at all levels in debating Guyana’s development and in achieving a thriving and sustainable society,” the group said in its statement.

The group will be collaborating with the private and public sectors, the Government, the Opposition, the Legislature, Guyanese at home and abroad and regional and international groups to advocate, educate, promote and lead the quest for transparency, good governance and inclusionary Government in Guyana.