OP-ED | Ugly echoes and reechoes across a haunted Guyana

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The same things keep occurring in this country, feeding deep, bitter resentments beneath the surface.

There is more than a racial tinge to developments. It becomes a thick heavy strain when these echoes and reechoes of the same situations continue to repeat themselves; unless spoken out against and addressed, they will recur until there is no containing passions anymore, not even when there may be justification. For then, citizens will be beyond listening.

It is of one person here, another there. Today present, tomorrow gone in the most jarring of circumstances. They always seem to be one kind of people, with a few others who are believed to bewith the other political side. That alone marks them to be kicked around, pushed down, and kept out like lepers, such enemies they have been made into locally.

The most recent is a mental health doctor, who was first fired, then just as mysteriously recalled, and reinstated elsewhere; just report over there, which is outside her expertise. Was her color her crime? The second was from the Food and Drug Department, who was removed, recycled, and rebooted, downward. He is no longer the head. Both are not the only Black Guyanese being targeted for termination, or rearrangement (demotion), or reaffirmation that only a certain kind of color scheme should prevail in public quarters. To ease the insult, to provide cover, the removed were replaced with Guyanese like themselves.

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Who now can complain about job/racial discrimination? Where is it? How can it be when the new replacement faces are of similar heritage? A reasonable answer is that they will do as bid, make no waves, raise no finger that what is practiced is neither the way nor standard anywhere. The key consideration could be in their perceived loyalties, given source of hiring for one.

Along the same lines, one Vincent Adams was axed for being the right man in the right place standing for the right things. Yet he was found to be the worst of presences, a man who knows too much, one who would see too much. Of the greatest interest is that there is another man right in that same pivotal place who can’t stand for anything that is right for the interests of this country, but is still retained because he is righteous to the cause. Not of Guyanese, but of dirty, crooked, traitorous PPP leaders. What has happened at the EPA is not just discrimination, but an abomination that echoes and reechoes across Guyana. How long this political practice will hold is the question.

My position is simple: if these people are incompetent, try with them, then fire them if no progress. If they steal or cost the organization, get rid of them. If they breach policy or procedure send them packing. But don’t engage in these political-bureaucratic reshufflings that fool no one. Deal with offenders honestly and fairly at every level. It should not be reserved for Black people alone targeted to fall.

Indians, indigenous and those in-between, who cannot perform cleanly and convincingly, or are unable to deliver comprehensively and consistently, should all be swiftly shown the door. Of course, this means that the President himself would have to go, preceded by the one over him, and most of those who surround him. But stop playing these racial political games, it is unbecoming of democratic governance and principled leaders, of which I think we have neither. There is no meritocracy here, no leadership integrity, no decency, merely mediocrity made more monstrous by discriminatory practices.

I look beyond the Guyana Public Service, and there is the Guyana Police Force. I discern that a few ranks are doing justice to profession and Force. They treat citizens as partners and not as people to be preyed upon, ripped of protections and rights. I hail them. On the other hand, there is what I conclude those GPF practices that are part of the worrying echoes and reechoes I keep hearing.

For I think that the GPF has become a pawn used selectively (at best) or discriminatorily (at its worst). First, with selective discrimination, the GPF is manipulated to target, at the behest of political masters, those perceived as opponents/enemies of the PPP Government. It does not matter if the person considered offensive is Black or Indian, the full weight of GPF unflagging energies is employed, all the skills and resources claimed to be lacking are suddenly found. In such instances, the GPF people are exemplary in efficiency, with required results forthcoming. People are hauled in, charged, trundled to the courts, in rapid order. How this level of competency is so quickly achieved, I am yet to appreciate.

On the other hand, when the person accused of wrongdoing is a PPP agent, nothing happens, nobody moves. Everything freezes, comes to a standstill, until amnesia or arrangements can be firmed up. Developments in town and Regions prove my point with names and faces to match. Known political relationships, too. But when the alleged violator is viewed as a PNC man presence, a law enforcement mountain falls on them. Stated differently, there is a different standard for PPP operators (give rope needed, fix). Meanwhile, for PNC troublemakers, the standard is to throw the book, with handcuffs and bail, and even jail considered immediately.

In sum, make a complaint against a PPP stalwart, and the GPF’s reaction is: weh yuh goin’ wid dah… But do the same with a PNC man, and in word response, he is in deep trouble. Police is dumb about their own-a female-abused vilely. Color barrier/political connections interfere. Yet the same Police could travel to a courtyard to arrest a former senior commander, as if he is a dangerous criminal.

This is what these rogues that we have for political leaders call democracy, integrity, equity, fairness. It is what echoes and reechoes alarmingly across Guyana. I caution that echoes have a way of flaring into thunder and brimstone. Will some leader please listen and change this culture of discrimination?



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