Our Independence project bleeds before our very eyes

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In two weeks, Guyana would observe it 56th anniversary of Independence. Yes, it has been more than five and a half decades of formal independence from our colonial masters. It was a moment pregnant with both relief and hope. After all, it was a release from almost four hundred years of bondage that included the dreaded and dreadful experience of enslavement Emancipation had shown us some light at the end of the tunnel, but it was Independence that potentially would unleash that light as a torch of freedom. Invariably the long night of bondage must be followed by a morning of freedom.
But what have we done with that torch these last fifty-six years? If the sight of government bulldozing houses in a poor community on the eve of our independence anniversary is anything to go by, then we cannot pat ourselves on the shoulder for a job well done. If the assault on Shawnette Bollers lurks just beneath the surface, then we are not truly independent. If Orin Boston’s wife must daily relive the events of that eventful night, then we are not independent. If the money that flows from oil is used to poison our inter-group relations, then we are enemies of true independence.
Some may be quick to call out the PPP or the PPP as the case may be, but our acts of omission go beyond political parties. After all, those parties have been constructed and nurtured by us—they reflect a part of n our collective consciousness. That the party is a;; that we can show after 56 years, then we haven’t arrived yet.

A society cannot emerge from four centuries of bandage bereft of a sense of transformation. It is simply unthinkable. To break out of colonialism and seek to reproduce colonialism under a new flag and anthem do not represent the logic of independence. Transformation therefore must by necessity accompany the overthrow of colonialism. The question then is this: Have we sought to overthrow colonialism, or have we simply dressed it up with new clothing without a thorough bath?

Guyana must face itself—we can no longer run away. We have played around with our Independence as if it’s a game. The disrespect for the sacrifices of our ancestors in breaking the back of bondage is palpable. How often do we hear the cliché that we must forget about our past and look to the future? Such empty rhetoric is born of a dislocated independence that has opened the floodgates to an anti-freedom that has rendered our Guyana helpless and hapless. Our Independence project bleeds before our very eyes.

Here we are– flush with potential oil wealth but not knowing how to harness it. We run around the place flapping our wings in desperation. We fall over each other in a quest for relevance—nothing more. What a tragedy our Guyana has become! Or was it always a tragedy. We aimlessly grope for the levers of power to strengthen the grip of neo-colonial hands on our brothers and sisters. And still, we hail ourselves as an independent people.
Are we doomed to be failures? Just open the newspapers and read the thoughts of the so-called thoughtful and you cringe at the emptiness that passes for analysis. And still, we are independent. Guyanese to the bone—the golden arrowhead invokes pride. But pride in what? On May 26, 2022, we will be 56 years old. We will party and have a good time and the next day the dance of autocracy and ethnocracy will resume their supremacy over our lives.

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