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In Guyana, as in the majority of countries in the world, we celebrate Christmas this week.
The tradition is for us to send greetings offering peace and goodwill to all mankind and as such on behalf of my wife, family and community wish everyone a joyous and happy Christmas.
But Dear Editor, having dispensed of this necessary courtesy, if we are to really make a reality of these wishes as a nation, we must first try to understand that nowhere particularly in the plural society has harmony and the spirit of Christmas characterized societies, all of the three hundred and sixty-five days of each and every year.
GHK Lall’s letter is flawless and of the highest standard.
We need applaud the group that constitute the Constitutional Reform Group (CRG) and we would believe that our political leaders in and out of office are truly committed to constitutional reform.
If all of the above bears fruit and I hope it does, it will only be but one small step on the winding road to reach the plateau of harmony, justice and decency that we all hope for.
Our dream for a country, where the bounteous and valuable natural resources (minerals, marine resources, fertile lands and now oil) are harvested and distributed in an equitable manner and in our case, reverse the growing gap between the haves and the have nots.
The time has come for us as a small country to learn and benefit from mankind’s sojourn on planet earth.
The key is for educational and religious institutions to produce leaders wedded to the moral law.
We learn from the teachings of the Universal Peace Federation that “‘Divine Law, the immutable law of nature is inherently moral.
It embraces in one principle the cosmological, ethical, social and legal spheres.
Religion, therefore, cannot accept the modern distinction between fact and value, rather the moral law governing human life is as absolute as the law of gravity.”
Brilliant and thought-provoking but from our ancestors down to our contemporaries we have tended to be errant, selfish and wayward.
That is why all of the Sages, Saints and Prophets have thought it prudent to lay down laws to direct the way we behave and treat each other such as Moses coming down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments.
I say to those who are proposing constitutional reform that we need to direct our energies in producing leaders, who are morally erect and deep down believe in justice for all of their people, irrespective of their race, colour, creed or political affiliation.
The educational system must be retooled to highlight our common weaknesses and failures if we are to avoid repeating past mistakes.
To explain, for example, why do people revolt?
To explain the genesis of popular uprisings, such as Russia 1917, Cuba 1959.
To explain National uprisings, such as Greece 1820, Vietnam 1946 -75.
Even where there existed man-made Constitutions, there was the power of ideology as we witnessed in England 1642-49, France 1789 and America 1776.
In all this, pressure and influence of external forces ought never to be ignored.
In our Guyana, our two greatest National Heroes, Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham faced the stress and strain of the all-consuming Cold War 1945-1985 fanned by the flames and muscle of ideology.
The fact that our two leaders reacted differently to this international, political epidemic is of course another matter.
Beyond Guyana, we have seen the many alliances, treaties and agreements between and among national leaders and their States ignored because one or either side were not wedded to moral principles, leading to wars, conflicts, destruction of property and loss of millions of innocent lives.
The big question remains, when will we learn, when will we recognize that decisions made ought to be guided by moral law?
I expect during this week both our Head of State and Leader of the Opposition to extend greetings, but how should hundreds who have been summarily dismissed react?
How should the family of the tortured Henry cousins have a Happy Christmas?
How could of the friend of the family, teenager Haresh Singh who was murdered have a Merry Christmas?
How do we expect them to have a Happy Christmas when sections of our Police Force established to serve and protect are seen to be harassing members of the Henry family, who were returning to their homes after attending a meeting at the Brickdam Cathedral?
How can we cope with the unnecessary attack on the Ethnic Relations Commission, by no less a person than our sitting Head of State?
How can we celebrate when the perception by members/supporters of the Coalition feel as Marcellus said in Shakespeare’s Hamlet “something is rotten in the State of Denmark?”
How can we truly celebrate with our frontline health workers and security forces, who with this massive flow of oil money are offered a pittance as they seek to secure our well-being against Covid-19 and to protect citizens and secure our porous borders.
How can we toast this season faced with irresponsible and lazy leaders on both sides of our political divide?
For the season to be meaningful, the Public Accounts Committee must be energized, the Integrity Commission must no longer be a toothless tiger and the Public Service must be free of the habit of what are clear political appointments, not based on experience, competence and qualifications.
Here, both the PNC led coalition and the PPP are guilty, robbing the public service of being manned by men and women, who thanks to their qualifications can discharge their functions fearlessly and maintain the highest level of professionalism.
Those who are beating their chest about Constitutional Reform need also to ensure the GECOM Membership is based only on identification of persons of unquestionable integrity and patriotism.
We for too long have had the ludicrous situation, where on every important issue the chairman has been placed in an uncomfortable position to break the recurring deadlocks, or should I have written dreadlocks.
The Judiciary is supposed to be vital and independent, but yet both governments seem unconcerned.
The persons functioning in the key positions of Chancellor and Chief Justice could win the Hollywood Grammy Award for acting.
I am an optimist and therefore wish all members of the media and Guyanese, Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.