When would we learn from the experiences of human history?

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Dear Editor,

Sunday, the 30th January marks the Anniversary of the beheading of a British King, Charles I. It is an unusual occurrence for a people that have always shown reverence and affection for the monarchy.

Dear Editor, I recount this incident as recorded to remind Citizens and Leaders. First, that as you are elevated to high positions, we must never ignore rules and the pillars and foundations upon which society is built. I have in mind the trivialization of our Parliament by rushing through the now famous Natural Resources Fund Bill and second, the mistreatment of the Georgetown Municipality and other issues, which have generated apprehension within sections of the populace.

The next lesson, of course, is the extreme measures taken when the perception exists that groups of citizens are being pushed to act beyond reason, and I recall the words in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar “men have lost their reason and fled to brutish beasts.”


Beyond that, and perhaps of significance in today’s Guyana, is when the Statements of our Leaders do not correspond to the experience of ordinary folks. The Budget which was read with such gusto is on the face of it praiseworthy. However, only time will tell if we are going to make a reality of what the Chinese refer to a few years ago, that Guyana will be saturated with the concept of a ‘common prosperity.’ This will mean, the large sums allocated for buildings, bridges, schools, hospitals, etc., that the communities benefit and not a greedy few. Even when I held Office, more than three decades ago, I observed a decline in standards. As a result I called for a moral and spiritual revival. Today, such a revival is an imperative, if we are to succeed as a people.

`When Charles was about to have his head removed, he said “ I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, ” his words of consolation, among friends and foes, a decline in our morality, hoping the door for corruption at several levels. Today as in the case of the Mother’s country centuries ago, remains our greatest challenge to achieve. Throughout history, the human species, all of us, have failed to benefit from the lessons of history- when will we learn, and I say when would we all benefit from the many lessons available to us ?

Charles l – King of England, Scotland and Ireland – having been found guilty of high treason and other high crimes, ascended the scaffold outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London to face the executioner’s sharpened axe. This kind of regicide, which much of Europe regarded with horror, concluded a reign that had torn the kingdom apart in civil war since 1642. His death would also mean a temporary end to that ‘kingdom,’ for Britain then entered the unchartered waters of eleven (11) years of government without the traditional leadership of a Head of State.

In 1629 Charles dissolved Parliament and ruled it for eleven (11) years, attempting to raise money by other means. Are there similarities with the way the Natural Resources Fund Bill is to be managed? Conflict in Scotland in 1637 (when Charles attempted to impose Bishops on the Presbyterian Church and later in the North of England and Ireland forced him to recall Parliament. Tensions came to a head in 1642. Is the control of the lives of ordinary Guyanese a nexus in a polarized society where distrust exists?

Fleeing the large pro-Parliamentary London, the King raised his standard at Nottingham on 22 August. The complex civil war, sometimes called the War of the Three Kingdoms (for it played out in Scotland and Ireland too), had begun. Their causes remain much debated.”

In Guyana, the rushing through Parliament of important Bills with a slim majority superintended by a compliant Speaker offers another similarity and lesson. Of interest, Oliver Cromwell who was the first to sign the death warrant for Charles executing what was known as the Republican Commonwealth died on September 3, 1658. As a tit-for-tat philosophy, they exhumed Oliver Cromwell’s body and took off his head. Next lesson is Guyana going through a regime that is wedded to tit-for-tat? When would we learn from the experiences of human history and not in an insidious way to take our country down the deep depth of disaster.

Hamilton Green

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