OP-ED | Nowhere did I say Indo-Guyanese are mentally lazy

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Amanza Walton-Desir

By Amanza Walton-Desir

The PPP/C’s most recent attack on me is a frightening indication of the fact that they are content to continue to stoke the fires of racial and ethnic strife in Guyana.

In their haste to excoriate me for a statement I made during the course of a one -hour discussion, the PPP/C has not only misrepresented my words, but they have unwittingly demonstrated to this nation, in no uncertain terms, that race baiting and the promotion of ethnic insecurity remain the chief weapons in their arsenal to control their supporters and continue their dangerous divide and rule politics.

Some weeks ago, I appeared on the programme Politics 101 with Professor David Hinds in which we discussed a plethora of issues pertaining to the political landscape in Guyana.

During the course of the discussion, I made the point that the maintenance of true freedom requires that each citizen must be willing to assume the responsibility and the work that comes with being truly free. I said that in this regard we have mentally lazy people and that the PPP/C understood this very well, counts on it, and continues to capitalize on it. At no time did I say Indo-Guyanese are mentally lazy.

The point that I was making, perhaps inelegantly in the moment, was that the PPP/C takes advantage of the fact that by and large we simply allow propaganda to take root in our minds and neglect to enquire and investigate for ourselves. In so doing we allow lies, because they have been so often repeated, to become our truth.

What is interesting is that later in that very programme, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, the Leader of the Alliance for Change and himself an Indo-Guyanese, commended me for the anti-racist theme in my politics.

Why then have the PPP/C deliberately chosen to misinterpret and malign?

The interpretation that the PPP/C and their sycophant surrogates have chosen to place on my words, confirms that they are content to continue the ruinous, racist, rhetoric that has plagued Guyana since her independence and one which continues to arrest her development.

Their propaganda machinery has been put into overdrive to paint me as a racist; yet in their crazed frenzy to deliberately twist my words, they have forced every Guyanese to ponder this one question: Is the PPP/C suggesting that they consider only Indo- Guyanese to be their supporters?

It is no secret that since my entry onto the political landscape, I have made it clear that the issue of race and race relations in Guyana is the single most defining challenge of our time, and how we as a people choose to address it will determine the quality of life of the future generations of Guyanese.

This is our hour of decision. We in this moment, as a people, must now determine whether we will confront and dismantle the social constructs that keep us in fear and discrimination or whether we will make a conscious decision to refuse to continue to reap the bitter harvest of the seeds of ethnic strife planted so long ago by those who once held us in bondage.

There remains no doubt in my mind that the conversation on race is one that some in our society remain unwilling to have. We therefore must ask ourselves this question; is it that a Guyana perpetually mired in racial and ethnic tension is preferred and promoted by those who wish to use the tension and the confusion to distract and divide our people while they plunder the patrimony of our beloved nation?

The conversation about the race and the advancement of people of colour (and make no mistake- we here in Guyana are all considered people of color); the conversation is one that the entire world is having!! And we must not shy away from it!!!we must refuse to be left behind!

We must tackle, head on the myths and misconceptions about each other that have been handed down from generation to generation.

We must reject the manipulations of the unscrupulous, that would cause us be controlled by hatred and fear, whilst they rape the treasury and enrich themselves and their friends, leaving the ordinary Guyanese to fend for themselves.

We must face some inconvenient truths but we, our children and our children’s children, will be better for it. For them, we must begin to truly chart our course to becoming one people, in one nation with one destiny.

Brick by heavy brick we must begin to tear down the thinking that paints us as irreconcilably different, that makes us believe that we are unable to live together in the same space, much less thrive.

We must demand that the crushing knee of race-based thinking and race-based politics be taken off Guyana’s neck so she can breathe again!

We must resist allowing those not interested in peace and unity but only in power to think for us; we must covet and promote independence of thought and we must be willing to put in the time and effort required to arrive at informed decisions and conclusions. We must make friends with facts and reject the miasmic mutterings of mendacious men.

As a people we must commit to building this new Guyana great and free, a land of glory and of hope a land of love and unity, we must though imperfect, strive for a more perfect love for our fellow Guyanese.

The APNU/AFC coalition has demonstrated that it is a coalition for ALL Guyanese, irrespective of race or creed. We understand that Guyana is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society and therefore we consider it our sacred duty to create a society which fosters a sense of belonging, promotes trust and affords each Guyanese the opportunity to earn an honest living, a Guyan a where families can thrive, where differences are appreciated and positively valued rather than exploited for cheap political gains.

It is my firm belief that it shall not be in vain that we will strive to build this new Guyana, great and free.

The new day for Guyana depends on this. The future of Guyana depends on us. May we all be blessed and strengthened by our respective faiths and beliefs for the task ahead; to unify ALL the peoples of our dear land of Guyana.



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