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African Guyanese have never been short of African role models. These range from their parents, foreparents and other family members to community leaders, teachers, religious leaders, other professionals, successful individuals, and a number of local and international historical African figures from various backgrounds and positions in fields of education, art, literature, sports, business or else.
Names such as Martin Luther King Jr, Maya Angelo, Winnie Mandela, Barack and Michelle Obama, Cuffy our National Hero, to LFS Burnham, John and Martin Carter, Fred Wills, Rashleigh Jackson, Ashai Pompey, JOF Haynes, Aubrey Bishop, Joyce Sinclair, Desiree Bernard, Pele, Jane Phillips Gay, Shirley Field Ridley, Winifred Gaskin, Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, and countless other well reputed persons.
What Ramson in his smug racist sentiments about African Guyanese and wealth acquisition missed is an understanding of the historical disenfranchisement of African Guyanese not only of their freedom, dignity and human rights, but also of their collective economic viability.
His statement is more revealing of the racist underbelly of PPP policy and the shortcomings evident in a racialised state seeking to empower only its ethnic supporters. This is dangerous and is a state of post-colonial governance seen and orchestrated only under successive PPP/C regimes. It is skillfully managed by an aggressive communication approach that misleads and misrepresents the truth of events unfolding before the eyes of the population and the world.
In recent years this has become worse. From 2020 to now, the economic stability of the African community has undergone further attack with the undermining of labour, and efforts to criminalise and embarrass various members of the African community in what appears to be an organised anti African agenda. Ramson is deliberately and consciously adding a new agenda defining African role models and wealth status.
It is unfortunate the Minister seems disinterested in using his office to address what he perceives as a discrepancy to be fixed. But it is important to have that conversation now in light of the emergence of an oil and gas industry. In our analysis, what is critical is that the PPP’s policies are continuing attempts to marginalise African Guyanese which ultimately impacts the viability of their families.