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The last-minute invitation to Opposition Members of Parliament to attend the Independence Flag Raising event, which was held in Region Two last Wednesday, is shameful. The Ali/Jagdeo regime is fully aware that journeying to Essequibo Coast requires travelling via boat and would necessitate sufficient notice to allow persons, desirous of attending, to make arrangements.
Further, the event was not planned two days prior to it happening; it was planned well in advance. The last-minute invitation was never intended to have the Opposition’s presence but an attempt to mask the ugly and discriminatory way the regime governs this nation. People are not fooled. President Ali does not want to work with those who hold alternative views to him, in as much as the Constitution upholds such principle and requires him to govern in an inclusionary manner.
The political environment is getting from bad to worse. More troubling is that the dysfunction is being propagated from a generation that has not lived through the divisive and bloody 1960s. It is becoming clearer every day these younger leaders were not only nurtured on the hate and evil of previous generations but are becoming enshackle. Is either that or they are wearing big man shoes but not ready to act accordingly. Instead of moving Guyana forward, learning from the mistakes of their predecessors, they are going full force backwards.
Today I say with deep foreboding, if the international community and our Caribbean brothers and sisters remain silent and supportive of the atrocities happening in Guyana, making no attempt to even give this regime a tap on the wrist, they must know what happens here will not stay here. It will ripple across the Atlantic and Caribbean waters and affect them via migration, trafficking and other cross border issues.
We cannot continue with the lawlessness, division and exclusion as though these are normal behaviours and how the government ought to function. People must demand a government that is self-respecting, respectful of others, the rule of law, human rights and universally acceptable principles; government that watches out for workers and the vulnerable in our society- whoever they are, wherever they are, and whatever they look like- even as it addresses the legitimate needs and concerns of the wealthy and well connected.
Every Guyanese deserves a better life, and we must come together as a people and insist on it. In this oil and gas economy there is need for inclusive governance and an affirmative action plan that would ensure policies and programmes that would leave none behind. The Government and Opposition who represent their constituencies, along with other stakeholders, must come together in mapping out a strategy to make this possible.
No Guyanese should be living in poverty in this economy. No Guyanese family should go unclothed, unhoused and unfed. As a people we ought to be concerned not only for ourselves but for our communities, those who can afford the minimum, and those who cannot afford the minimum. To those who are beneficiaries of the largesse they are being called on to have compassion and consideration for others.
The current untenable government policies will only lead Guyana downhill into an ugly ending. The individualism, greed and exclusion that have taken hold of society are not sustainable. Guyana and all her resources (natural, monetary, etc) belong to all the people. All Guyanese must enjoy unconditional support for better opportunities, increased access, and the ability to thrive. Systems must be put in place to create opportunities for all, based on want, ability and interest; not race, political association, and other discriminatory markers.
There can be no societal peace when there is no political, social and economic justice for all Guyanese. The marginalised, the underprivileged, the forgotten of society, the poor, must stand up and demand justice and their fair share in society. Others cannot fight for you if you will not fight for yourself. The world will not fight with us unless we declare Enough is Enough and have zero tolerance against all forms of oppression meted out to us and our brothers and sisters.
As hurt as I am over the situation, I have hope that someday the oppressed of Guyana, under the PPP, will revolt. We have seen such development under other inhumane economic systems. From the biblical days of pharaohs; slavery and indenture-ship; the civil rights struggle of America; apartheid in Southern Africa, to name some. Nowhere has man to man exercised such unjust governance and has such not been challenged and brought down, if not sooner, later.
I call on the youth of this country, those 21 and younger to be the hope of tomorrow, to be the change that we want, need, and must have. You must make a difference in order to inherit the land, and to protect the resources of Guyana’s El Dorado. Whether it is our gold, oil, timber, bauxite and other resources. You must not be second class citizens in this your country. You must have the will to unite, the will to fight against all oppressors, whether internal or external, fight all that threaten our peace and prosperity, our collective wellbeing.
There is no shame in fight. Only dignity and respect. Be imbued with the confidence that your ancestors from the coast of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America would have fought various battles to bring us to where we are today. On this 56th Independence Anniversary let us commit to honour them by continuing the struggle for freedom; for economic, social and political justice; for fundamental human rights; for equitable development.