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Prime Minister Mark Phillips seemed only too obliging to front the Irfaan Ali regime’s denial they are not practicing discrimination in response to United States (U.S) Congressman Hakeem Jeffries’ admonition the U.S, “will not tolerate racism,…will not tolerate discrimination,…will not tolerate injustice and will stand together” with the people of Guyana. Said remarks were made at the Anti-PPP Racism Rally held in New York last Sunday.
As I read Phillips’ pathetic response to Jeffries’ remarks I harkened back to stories passed down from our forebears of their own stymieing the struggle for freedom. They referred to these character types by all sorts of names. Mark is no stranger to these stories. Today I cry shame on him for carrying the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s (PPP/C) bitter chalice.
Since he accepted the role to deny the existence of racial injustices he must provide the “evidence [the PPP]… uphold[s] democratic principles, adhere[s] to equitable practices, embrace[s] diversity and inclusivity and promote[s] transparency at all levels.” Even as the call is made to prove, Phillips is being reminded of their racist policies and programmes. The 2020 PPP/C picked up from where they left off in 2015 but this time around they are executing their agenda with more vengeance.
They not only do not want African Guyanese to survive politically, economically and socially they have even instituted a policy to keep non-national Africans out. As they imposed visa restriction on our Haitian brothers and sisters, who are members of CARICOM, they are moving with haste to regularise the status of Venezuelans and Brazilians. This racist policy is designed to refashion the demographics in society in the quest to put Africans at the bottom of the ladder.
In the sphere of economic genocide, since last August more than 2000 public sector workers have reportedly been sent home. In the main they were Africans. Then there is the 11-year-old industrial dispute at the Bauxite Company Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) where Africans are the majority. Before the change in administration the matter was headed to declaring deadlock and moving to arbitration. The regime is refusing to follow through on the natural process of justice.
Conversely, they are injecting billions of dollars in their communities. The East Indian dominated areas affected by the flood are receiving attention as the African areas are being deprived. Regions 7 and 10 disaster levels were rated at level three by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency but the regime is not giving the regions the deserving treatment.
The other day they announced they will open a US$35M agro-processing plant in Enmore, which is said would create 600 direct jobs, because it’s their stronghold. They have disinvested in bauxite but keep investing heavily in sugar when both are of the traditional productive sector and historically treated equally. They did nothing for Linden/Region 10, having presided over the destruction of the bauxite industry and workers’ pension plan.
The PPP in 1995 said they would have built an industrial estate in Linden but did nothing. Today the contracts they are awarding are being given to people out of Linden. The regime is discriminating against black businesses. Some are being run out of business or forced to give up legitimately acquired assets in order to honour bank obligations and proceed with investments.
For the last two years the African-dominated public sector received no pay increase. There is disregard for collective bargaining in organisations where there are independent trade unions or leaders perceived to be sympathetic to the opposition. The PPP is transgressing persons’ constitutional rights to freedom of association and protection from being discriminated against on the ground of race.
Whereas I am not opposed to any sound investment in any ethnic community, I am strongly opposed to investments skewed to target one group and disempower others. This is what the PPP has been doing. Africans deserve more than occasional handouts and sympathy maintenance of infrastructures within their communities. Africans have a right to involvement and benefiting from every aspect of the nation’s patrimony.
Phillips is worse than smiling Sam Hinds. He has not only accepted being relegated to Number 3, even though the Constitution says he is Number 2, but is demonstrating the absence of testicular fortitude to tell his comrades there is glaring evidence of their racist policies and he will not cover for them. Disappointed as I am in his political leadership, I shudder to think what Guyana would have suffered had we gone to war under his military leadership.
Let me end by saying this- The PPP only responds to public pressure. Africans will not get justice unless they stand up and fight as their forebears did. And to those African leaders in the PPP’s midst, if they do not take a stand for Rights and the Rule of Law, equal rights and justice, others in the African community will call them out. In this International Decade For People of African Descent, Africans don’t need house slaves, they need liberators.