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Democracy is built not only on free elections, but on Justice and Human Rights

By Lincoln Lewis

As we commence a new year under the PPP administration, and in particular, the Jagdeo Administration, it is expected those of us who seek to analyse, critique and highlight its usual transgressions and violations will continue to be told that Mr. Jagdeo and the PPP were democratically elected.
As such we have no right to speak. In fact the government and its cohorts will tell us that the PNC was never democratically elected, and they and others have no moral authority to speak because the PPP was elected through the process of free elections.
The issue of free elections has ever since been described as democracy. Today I take time out to raise a few issues about free elections and the results that can necessarily emerge from it. Democracy is seen as power of the people at work for the benefit of the entire society. Democracy can bring about a government elected with the participation of all the country’s citizens. Democracy can see the election of a government that only pursues the interest of its group; put measures in place to curtail or remove the rights of minorities; legislate laws to silence critics; suppress media, dissent and independence; and distribute state assets to their families and friends.
Being democratically elected does not give any government the right to transgress law, trample on the rights of citizens, and make unjust laws. Those who argue for the upholding of the law, justice and respect for human rights are accused of being undemocratic. The time has come for those who label critics undemocratic to revisit that argument.
Democracy can be placed in the hands of dictators, fascists and racists. Let us not forget Adolf Hitler was the democratically elected Chancellor of Germany. Hitler’s belief in the superiority of the Aryan race and the inferiority of Jews led to their marginalisation, torture and elimination. This experience informs us that we should be wary of tyrannical democratic governments, and we should only support and respect a democracy that is built and sustained on justice and fair play. It should also inform us that as citizens we have a duty to watch for these telltale signs and speak out when we see them emerging. Our failure to do so can have dire consequences for all of us.
Over the years the Jagdeo government has run roughshod over the citizens, particularly the African community. These transgressions are overlooked or justified under the pretext of democracy. For instance, this government has destroyed the bauxite industry pension fund, the largest single pool of money owned by the African working class; terminated the state subvention to Critchlow Labour College which provided education to a student population comprising 97 percent Africans; terminated the Trades Union Congress’ subvention after GAWU and NAACIE left the Congress in support of the police shooting of unarmed public servants; tortured citizens; refused to investigate the murders by the police and the death squad of hundreds of young men; and allowed thousands of jobs to be lost without any attempt made at alternative employment or retraining to meet new skills need.
The time has come for those who think persons should not demand a better society to clearly understand that the democratic governments of Hitler and Jagdeo were/are driven by polices that have been racist, tyrannical, intolerable, undesirable and destructive to groups and society.

The views expressed above are those of the author/s and do not in any way reflect those of the publisher or members of the Boston # 1 PNC group.
Copyright (c) 2007. Maintained by TJ Productions, USA. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced or otherwise duplicated without the prior written permission of the publisher, except for a brief acknowledgment.