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I’ve listened to the debate related to the recent batch of Sputnik Russian made vaccine.
First, be reminded by letters published in the media, I congratulated the Ministry of Health for what I described as for the excellent work being done related to this important life-saving question of Covid- 19 vaccine and recommended as I now do again that all citizens go to be vaccinated.
I’ve read statements and letters and I’m saddened that Guyana and its leaders seem unimmunized against our pandemic of stubbornness and stupidity.
I have publicly said that on the questions of oil and covid-19, that good sense and a genuine interest in the welfare and lives of all Guyanese that these two issues should be delinked from our punishing political polarization.
My pleas and those of others have fallen on deaf ears.
It is the duty of the sitting government to set aside posturing and petty differences to invite the Opposition, Religious organizations and authentic civil society to a round table confab to come up with an agreed agenda and Modus Operandi in dealing with these two issues, oil and Covid 19.
I am saddened by the spat between the Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister and Chairman of CARICOM, Dr. Keith Rowley and Dr. Ramsammy, Ministry of Health.
The intemperance and unnecessary salvos by both sides must have caused the founding fathers of CARICOM anguish and to turn in their graves.
An underlying understanding was that when there are differences, as there must be, in every human relationship, we must sit and talk.
Let us sit and talk before making destructive and unnecessary public statements, as one leader said ‘stop being like yard fowls.’
Have CARICOM Leaders lost that spirit of kinship and affection which characterized the initiative and spirit of Dickinson Bay 1965?
Next, if at the sitting of Parliament when simple questions, forthright answers were given, this troubling situation could have been avoided.
For me, the high cost of the vaccines is not the major issue, once there is no exorbitance, you can’t measure the health and well-being of citizens on dollars.
Second, traditionally the main Parties in Guyana (PPP and PNC), to the best of my knowledge have post-independence, enjoyed a comfortable relationship with what was then the USSR.
I recall the efforts I was requested to make to assist with the establishment of the Russian Embassy in a building once owned by Peter D’Aguiar, to the north of Georgetown.
In those circumstances, a joint approach to the Russian Ambassador, supported by both sides in Parliament would have been easier and avoided distrust by engaging middle men from an Arab country and Norway.
The alleged character of these middle men has been call in to question.
Last week, I had my second shot and the present administration deserves to be complimented on the efforts managed so far to protect and save lives of many Guyanese and again I publicly congratulate the Minister and his staff for doing a fine job.
The Ministry must know that among citizens there exist a degree of skepticism on this question of the various types of vaccines and therefore, political perspicacity should demand that there should be openness and transparency to enhance, not reduce public confidence in the process.
It is not too late, but the Government’s side must display statesmanship and take the initiative to involve the Opposition.
The Opposition on the other hand must be equally gracious to respond positively and with alacrity to any positive initiative by the Honourable Minister.
The same approach must be taken with oil. Perhaps, our younger political leaders on all sides, who never tasted the bitterness, bite and brutality of imperial machinations, slavery, indentureship and the Cold War may not recognize that the colonizers did not depart when we hoisted the Golden Arrowhead on the 26th of May, 1966 and the same goes for Trinidad and all the other CARICOM countries.
I hope and pray that both sides of our political divide will dismount their horses of self-righteousness and arrogance and engage each other as equals.
Editor, this is the only recipe that will allow us to diminish the influence of the colonizers and allow this group of political leaders to bequeath our children, grandchildren and great-great grandchildren., a country that is great, a country where the environment is protected and therefore green. A country where our moral rudder leads to glory and goodness.
For if we don’t act together, on this matter by the time the next Election, half of their supporters would have been buried.
Covid- 19 is serious business and not a matter to be dealt with by those who represent half of the population.
We need a holistic and wholesome approach for success.