Taking citizens for granted

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Even to the passing observer, internal and external, the last few days in Guyana have been that of social upheavals. It is either the Government of Guyana is indifferent to the concerns of citizens or think political capital could be accrued in an unstable environment. There is too much anxiety, disappointment and animosity in areas that should not be.

To disagree for many mean they must be disagreeable, engaging in insulting those whom they disagree with. They forget that such behaviour reflects them and not the ones they disagree with. Following the conversations in the various media, social and mainstream, it is difficult to fathom whether there is any respect for dissent. And if dissent exists it is better to seek to examine the point of dissent rather than insult and denigrate. There seems to be no appetite or limited ability to participate in reasoned discussions.

The coronavirus vaccination campaign has attracted strong views to the extent where those who are expressing hesitancy in taking the vaccine are being assailed with insults and attacks on their intelligence. This should not be. It has been seen that hesitancy or rejection to the vaccine is not confined to the illiterate or poorly educated. There is no intellectual limitation here. It is to the government’s interest and the good of every Guyanese, particularly those who are urging taking the vaccine, to recognise this.

Preservation of the social fabric of any society requires understanding the views of even those who you disagree with. But this requires the ability to listen and respect others. There is no monopoly on knowledge and each one teaches one. There is a reason, appreciated or not by others, that is causing the rejection by some to be vaccinated. And this is what the government should seek to understand and craft meaningful and constructive responses. Positive relationship is based on respect for others.

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Government cannot continue to take citizens for granted and expect a uniformed response to vaccination. The vaccines are being administered to adults. Adults do not respond amicably to any action where they think their rights are being violated, they are being bullied, or being treated as children. This is Politics 101. There is no need to sit in a politics class to get it; it can be grasped from political management of people-centred governments and organisations around the world, and particularly in the handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and vaccination rollout.



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