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Protests are cries by the affected to be heard, to be respected, to be involved in the management and decision-making processes on matters impacting their wellbeing. This expectation is not only reasonable but ensconced in Article 13 of the Constitution of Guyana. The Principal Objective of the state, i.e., the main pillar of the ‘political system,’ mandates “inclusionary democracy” via the people and their organisations. Article 149C specifically mandates this as a right for workers through the trade union. Anything outside of these is unconstitutional and lawlessness
The nation continues lurching from one manmade crisis after another. Some are not learning, have taken the deliberate decision not to learn from history, or are foolishly hoping they could avert man’s instinctive nature to resist being trampled on. People would not only say ouch, but they will also push back against the object of their pains. Those within the corridors of power need not fool themselves into believing otherwise.
The regime is not seeking avenues to work with citizens to achieve common objectives. They are bent on antagonising people as part of their dastardly policy of divide and conquer. They are now moving to grind the country to a halt, by locking out the unvaccinated or those who cannot provide a negative COVID-19 test, to mask their incompetence. They think they benefit when the masses are divided or distracted. The intellectual authors of such depraved thinking should know they will not escape the wrath of the people.
When a government attacks and alienates citizens, whom by law they must protect, they leave citizens with few choices- the acceptance of being violated or fighting back (resisting). Ours is a history where the marginalised and oppressed never accepted such status and whereas some depended on others to fight their battles others didn’t. This has been our experiences, from the establishment of this country as a slave society to now.
Government ought to know if they want the participation of the people in any decision whatsoever; it comes with the concomitant responsibility of valuing their involvement. That is the spirit and intent of Article 13 because such an approach defuses tension, resistance, and hostility in society. People have the right to knowledge to make informed decisions. Everything the regime does is shrouded in secrecy, giving rise to hesitancy and suspicion.
It has been observed Guyanese are referencing United States (U.S) President Joe Biden mandating vaccination for some workers and employers. We cannot cherry pick aspects of Biden’s programme and ignore the whole. First, the mandating of vaccines is accompanied by the mandating of testing. Second, testing in the U.S is free. Third, all the vaccines used in the U.S are approved by the World Health Organisation.
Fourth, the Biden administration has been engaging stakeholders; scientific institutions are allowed to do their work independently; and transparency and accountability in the system are present. Fifth, employers are being mandated to give workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from any side effects of getting vaccinated, and should they fail to comply they can face fines of up to US$14,000 per violation.
The management of COVID 19 in Guyana and the U.S is as different as night and day. To make comparisons with or seek to emulate America it is only fair to demand the Government of Guyana operates under exact conditionalities. But Ali is not learning, not even from a common foe, Venezuela. On 6th September, the country’s Government and Opposition signed an agreement, in Mexico, uniting in the claim of Essequibo.
Whereas Venezuela’s deceptiveness is rejected, the unity of bitter adversaries is proof Ali and Joe Harmon could get together for the good of Guyana and Guyanese. He needs to stop holding the nation hostage with his constant flare up to be recognised by Harmon before the two can meet on constitutional matters and get on with the business of the state. People had enough of the nonsense and political immaturity.
It is the government’s obligation to uphold the rights of citizens under the law and they must be held to account. We must demand to be treated with dignity and respect even as it becomes incumbent on us to conduct ourselves in manner befitting civic obligations to self and community. We must continue to obey COVID-19 protocols for our lives depend on compliance. The science says vaccination, for those who can have it or want to, and observing the protocols are of equal import in combating the virus.