2c. Re 61, iv).
Reader: The executive cannot be organised “around a policy malting body, the N.C.P. is not complete without the 2 administrative nuclei.
“The decisive body in the Executive is the National Court of Policy, made up of the representatives of the Consulates, the Leader of the Lower House and the “President of the Senate”.
The National Court of Policy is the policy making body. Neither consul presides, and the President of the Senate, a non-party person, presides and has a casting vote. If he has a casting vote and the consuls are equally matched, he is in effect head of the Executive. To get either consul to agree to this arrangement may not be possible.
There is no apparent Head of State. Unless there is, the question will continually rise between the two consuls and their supporters, “which is greater.” Human experience has not found it possible to dispense with this necessary farce. A man must have the responsibility of initiating the whole process of Government. The President of the Senate is the nearest approach to a head of State. Is this what is intended? The reorganisation of Government into two consulates to meet the specific situation presupposes two candidates of high political morality. The consul of foreign affairs is likely to complain that he is being pushed off the domestic scene and the consul for domestic affairs is likely to complain that his government is being sabotaged abroad. An effective answer to this objection is the programme. But the programme can be an effective answer only if the people know it, understand it and support it. This is not possible without the sincere agreement of parties. The parties are not likely to appreciate the fact that foreign affairs are an extension of domestic affairs.
From a careful study it appears that a constitution that associates the two sides in joint control of all administration will better answer to the political resources.
i). The Executive is defined here as the “doing arm.” Doing is defined as, a) making policy decisions and b) carrying them out and administering them. Hence the National Court of Policy for primary decision-making and the Consulates for implementation and related secondary decision-making.
ii). The Chairmanship of the Court of Policy does pose a real problem. The problem is that neither of the likely choices for Consuls can be expected to be disposed to entertain apparent subordinacy in spite of the fact that it is the effective equality of the two which makes accommodation necessary. Anyway, accepting the facts as they appear to be, it is at once clear that any idea of dividing power on President/Premier basis is likely to be frustrated – the roles, however substantively defined, are too loaded with tradition. The system of co-ordinate Consuls, being new, among other things, stands a better chance but it requires a neutral chairman. Hence the suggestion in 61, iv). c. – a discreet semi-political man of substance, President of the Senate. On reflection however, his casting vote may make him too powerful though less powerful than appears in the paper if an unpublished (and unpublishable) section on suggested personnel is taken into account. The point is that an astute mix of personalities (from both parties) in each Consulate could set up helpful conflicts of loyalty between party and Consulate but may still not suffice to make the suggested Court of Policy operationally feasible.
In this light the need for prior clarification of the programme (especially to the people) is highlighted. A further safeguard can probably be built in by taking the casting vote away from the Chairman and entrenching a provision for unanimous decision by the Court on substantive issues (to be defined with adequate flexibility and firmness). With this, irresponsible dogmatism will be brought to the attention of the people and genuine differences of value will force reference back to the ultimate source of power.
iii) The question as to whether one person should be responsible for initiating the process of Government has to be related to the particular institutional frame. With the system being proposed there is no reason why initiative cannot come jointly from both the Consulates.
- iv) The question of the Head of State is discussed in 61, iv, d. which had been omitted from the original draft. Surely, the nation must “dispense with this farce” not only because it is one of the costs of unification but also because the whole question of democratic symbolism is involved? What better than to institutionalize collective leadership if the needs of a racially-mixed and culturally diverse society have thrown up more than one leader? As integration and development proceed new needs will arise but this is an Interim Constitution.
- v) The political morality or the likely Consuls is important. However, the proper caution required in serious prescription forces the worst assumption to be made. That is why mixed consulates are envisaged so as to guard against sabotage and why the need to take the programme to the people has been stressed (Part VII). This is not to suggest that the political morality of the Consuls is a cause for excessive concern. “Heroes and Scoundrels” are not here considered to be as important as the political forces leading politicians to behave in certain ways. In any case, it has nowhere been demonstrated that the political leadership of Guyana is significantly more or less politically moral than leadership anywhere else.