At the heart of his argument is the desirability of bringing to village and township communities real control over their affairs. This is seen as a counter to the competition for state power that has brought Guyana to a state of continuous, simmering ethnic civil war. But Seecoomar recognises that Guyana’s problems cannot all be solved at the local level. His proposal for ‘alternating’ government at the national level is both novel and provocative, addressing the need both for access to power for competing ethnic groups and for responsible opposition. He argues, too, for consultative styles of leadership in contrast to the tendency to authoritarianism that has been a malign element in Guyanese politics.
With an appendix of valuable documents setting out a variety of Guyanese approaches to the issue of power-sharing, Seecoomar’s book is an important resource both for concerned Guyanese and for students of approaches to conflict resolution in ethnically divided postcolonial societies.
Judaman Seecoomar was born July 15 1932; he died March 26 2006. He had recently completed a PhD on inter-racial conflict in Guyana.