PART VII: Operations in 1963-64
It has often been noted in this paper that Guyana may have reached the point of no return in 1962. The Riots of February may have strengthened the forces of disintegration and disunity to such an extent that a ‘miracle’ may be needed to save the country from an immediate future of disorder and stagnation . . . a Haitian future. These ‘notes’ are prompted by the conviction that the society has within itself the resources and the resourcefulness to create this ‘miracle’. As such, the coming months of 1963/4 are regarded as a decisive period for which a concrete programme must be worked out, a programme to restart the process of unification and reconstruction.
- A vision for the long-run bas been sketched in Part VI and some suggestions for
an Independence Constitution thought to be compatible with political stability have been put forward in Part IV. Now an attempt will be made to spell out some steps in a programme of action for 1963/4 on the assumption that the proposals in Parts V and VI and the analysis in Part VIII will create a climate favourable to reunification and provide a basis upon which the terms of accommodation can be agreed.
Three phases of the programme are envisaged:
- The discussion phase
- The phase for getting a mandate from the people for the long-run programme.
- The phase for selling the long-run programme abroad.
- During the first phase, attention will be devoted to discussions between the two
wings of the popular movement. Two tasks must be accomplished during this phase. First of all, a mood of goodwill must be created and, secondly, a joint programme which can be put to the people must be worked out.
- Three acts are essential to the creation of a climate of goodwill and as a
declaration of serious purpose:
- The Houston election must be held. The rural wing of the popular movement
must refrain from putting up a candidate and both groups must use their platforms during the ‘campaign’ to analyse the history of the country (with special reference to retrogressive tendencies in the period 1953-63) and to promote the idea of reunification.
- The urban wing must publicly disavow any intention to ally itself with groups which oppose independence and radical reform of the Colonial social and economic order.
- Plans for the establishment of a National Army must be made the responsibility of a non-Governmental Committee comprised of appointees of both wings.
- As to the work on the joint programme (including an agreed Constitution), a
number of working parties, jointly appointed by the leaders of the two wings and comprising technicians and political analysts with an overriding commitment to Guyana, should be set to work and a joint public relations Committee established to keep the public informed on developments.
- This first phase should last at least four months. The ‘Notes’ have been set out at
length and in a hurry for the precise purpose of providing the coalition negotiators with material that they will have to settle down and think through seriously, even if they ultimately reject it all. (Thus, if the talks break down after a short while, the nation will know that the leaders have sabotaged its interests by not applying themselves seriously). The phase should end with the announcement of agreement on the terms of a coalition on the Independence Constitution and on the joint programme.
- In the second phase, the leaders must take the terms of the agreement to the
people. The Constitutional arrangements must be made clear and a lucid exposition of the joint programme and of what it demands in terms of national effort must be attempted. The leadership of the two wings should for this purpose tour the country together. They should spend at least three or four months on the tour and should prepare the population for the rigours and the joys of Independence and the effort of building a new Guyana out of the morass the Imperialists have left.*
- During this phase, presumably, the Boundaries Commission, comprised of
reasonable Guyanese nationals and perhaps of some technical advisers from the University of the West Indies (who know the problem and are themselves partly involved) should be set up to draw up the new electoral boundaries (and to make whatever adjustments to the electoral system which are required). Also the arrangements for the graceful withdrawal of the British Governor should be made. A Guyanese care-taker Governor (who should be the President of the Senate-designate) can take over in the interim before the introduction of the new Constitution.
- The phase would end with the election. The election should be a managed one
with the candidates selected in advance and on an agreed formula by the two sides.
- In the third phase the leaders will go abroad together. Their aims must be:
- to sell the idea of Guyana as a ‘bridgehead for peaceful coexistence’ in the Americas to the world;
- to explain the international implications of the joint programme to the peoples of the world;
- to seek assistance for their programme.