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The reported cases of interpersonal violence, something leading to death, should be of concern. That people are opting to resort to violence, verbal and physical, instead of seeking civil means to settle disputes is not a good sign for society and development. It suggests people either have poor conflict coping skills, don’t know where to turn to address their dispute in a civil and amicable manner, or are assuming violence is the best way to get things done.
Not much difference is offered by the national leaders. Instead of leading the nation by example when they differ with their political opponent or rival they opt for verbal assaults. Leaders set the tone for those they are entrusted the responsibility to lead. This is from the most basic unit, which is the family, to the most national, which is the Government and President. The saying, leadership by example, is well worth a revisit for its undisputed value.
Anyone looking on from the outside at Guyana’s conflicts, most importantly the political, because these are national in scope with internal and external implications, they would probably think it’s a battleground. It would be difficult to convince those, who do not know Guyana’s history, that the vast majority of Guyanese are the descendants of people who were enslaved, indentured and colonised.
The similarity in deprivation, albeit at different levels, should result in common recognition of what to despise and what not to do to each other. But it seems as though whilst Guyanese have succeeded in ridding themselves of past oppressive systems, modern day leaders prefer a return in behaviour.
From the simplest of issues, especially when it will impact on all, to the largest, there is this false sense that the government knows it all and has the answers for it all. But their résumé will show the contrary. No one individual, group or government knows it all. This is a fact being ignored. Ignoring the inability to know it all, accepting that others can add to making decisions better, and accepting that leadership does not confer automatic autonomy are contributing to the conflicts.
Instead of seeing wisdom in respecting the rights and views of others, and evaluating the soundness of other’s arguments, some prefer to engage in verbal assaults. Political immaturity is now being passed off as hubris, a hubris that ignores pride comes before a fall. COVID-19 is being poorly managed as evident by the infection numbers and deaths yet the government refuses to deal with the crisis in a collaborative manner.
It makes absolutely no sense to create and sustain conflicts around a pandemic when the world organisations and other first world countries are utilizing collaborative approaches. It makes absolutely no sense ignoring the calls by Guyanese to renegotiate the existing oil contracts. Experiences around the world have shown when the people in resource-rich nations are divided it is the corrupt and multinationals who profit as the masses remain deprived.
It is misguided to think the Government could successfully govern without the input of the Main Opposition and vice versa. The conflicts at the national level are showing no sign of resolution. It is disgusting to say the least and begs the question- how could the ordinary man and woman civilly settle their conflicts when national leaders prefer the never-ending combative approach? People are not seeing many showing interest in the civil approach to conflict resolution.