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Rights are non-negotiable. They form the bedrock of every modern and civilised society and are enshrined in conventions, constitutions and laws. Guyana should be no different if we want to be seen and respected as a modern and civilised society. As we seek to develop a democracy the rights of every citizen must be respected and honoured to the letter. As such no right can take precedence over another. Neither can a right be transgressed in order to enjoy another right.
Rights are rights and have to be honoured at all times, regardless of the circumstance, regardless of who is in government or in opposition. Today basic rights are being denied citizens, and government is seeking to camouflage their discriminatory practices going on photo opportunities and hugging babies of different race as they engage in the programme of economic genocide against their parents.
Last week I was again informed of their dastardly conduct. They went to Kwakwani to say they were paying out flood relief grants to farmers, but one of the biggest farmers in the area was ignored. He is considered a supporter of the opposition which should not be a disqualifying condition to receive the grant he is eligible for. You cannot end discrimination against people by such foolish acts and intimating to them that they must accept discrimination against themselves.
You cannot hoist people’s babies high as you actively implement policies and programmes to deny their parents economic sustenance, independence and opportunities. Citizens of this land, regardless of race, colour, creed or political association must not give in to any urge that transgresses the fundamental rights of any citizen. And we must not support anti-democratic practices. For this will give ammunition to the racists and agent provocateurs to continue the trampling of constitutional rights and the destruction of this country.
Neither must our actions communicate to the PPP that its discriminatory practices have now found national acceptance. The Guyana Constitution makes provision for freedom of association and this association is also protected from being discriminated against on the ground of race. These rights must be respected. Whereas over the years Guyanese have demonstrated this association in their voting patterns there exists no provision in the Constitution to discriminate against anyone who chose to associate or not associate.
The fact that the East Indian dominated PPP holds the reins of government does not give them the right as the government and custodian of the nation’s constitution, laws and resources to discriminate against non-East Indians or any citizen they consider not to be supportive of their party. The resources of this nation belong to all the people, and all must equally benefit from them. It is every government’s moral, civic and legal responsibility to lead in this regard.
Regardless of who are perceived to be supporters of the opposition, all by virtue of their residency, taxpaying responsibility and/or voting rights are part of the process and are entitled to be treated equally as any supporter of the PPP. The PPP leadership continues to fail the nation, not the rank-and-file supporters, since the racist and discriminatory programmes were/are conceptualised, developed and being implemented by those who hold national office. It is this group that must be held accountable.
This consistent argument that racial association is destroying efforts at development has to be examined deeper. What is destroying efforts at development are those who are applying the resources of the state to discriminate against members of the state. Society must therefore attack the source of the problem which is the racist and anti-democratic practices of the PPP. This regime must not get away with the transgressing of anyone’s rights. They must be held accountable for their divisive governance.