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Without a doubt, Guyana, with its vast resources, and jocularly tabbed “Little Dubai,”
because of its recent oil discovery, is indeed a blessed country. Yet amidst such wealth, the
cries of disparity emanating from a large section of the ethnic divide, predominantly, the
Afro Guyanese grouping, because of the disproportionate distribution of this very wealth,
have made a mockery of the “One People, One Nation, One Destiny” mantra that has, in the
past, kept this small nation somewhat bonded and united.
When President, Irfan Ali assumed the reins of Government and control of the state
apparatus in August of 2020, he boldly unveiled his “One Guyana” mantra but merely two
years into his tenure in government, the emptiness of his pronouncement has indeed left
much to be desired. Traveling across the country and observing the developmental works of
this government, even the uninitiated will be forced to question the “One Guyana” ideal
propagated by this government. Developmental works in the Afro and hinterland
communities are pointedly ignored, almost frozen in time, and only receive the attention of
government officials after a large group of Afro Guyanese, mostly affected, mount protest
actions. Even then, the aggrieved residents of these disenfranchised communities have to
be content with shallow promises or mere leftovers. Contrastingly, Indo-Guyanese
communities are blessed with an infrastructure of high quality.
Such blatant disparities would obviously force, even the uninitiated, to pronounce that the
Ali-led administration is ethnocentric and accordingly, comprises representatives of a
particular ethnic group that holds a disproportionately large number of posts at all levels
including the bureaucracy and state corporations. They boldly use their positions to
primarily advance the interests of Indo-Guyanese. These administrators then mask their
nefarious motives by appointing a handful of non-Indo Guyanese, preoccupied with
personal gains rather than the collective good of the society, to senior positions. Even so,
one is tempted to pronounce that these appointments are merely cosmetic since those
functionaries are not necessarily the policymakers. Interestedly also, quite a few of these
appointees, including Ministers and Parliamentarians are known to have checkered pasts.
The evidence is there for all to see; Afro-Guyanese has not been treated fairly by the current
administration. Their villages and wards are in dire need of an infrastructural upgrade and
Black populated communities in South and North Ruimveldt, Lamaha Springs, and Lamaha
Park are inundated with the most deplorable roads on the entire coastal plain.
Amidst such atrocities, the Afro-Guyanese residents are further vilified after noting the
haste in which President Ali recently rushed up the East Coast, on Pigeon Island, a
predominantly Indo-Guyanese enclave, to address infrastructural issues there.
Contrastingly, on Saturday, July 30, 2022, Prime Minister Mark Phillips informed the
predominantly Afro Guyanese residents of Melanie Damishana and surrounding villages,
that their concerns will be addressed in the 2023 budget. Such actions are indicative of the
ethnocentric nature of the government.
To cloak such impartiality, the Ali Administration often resorts to a policy of appeasement
and containment with temporary employment programmes for certain Blacks while masking
their behavior by distributing handouts. One only needs to analyze the employment records
of government ministries, state corporations, and autonomous state agencies to note a
distinct bias in the employment policy of Afro Guyanese over the past two years.
Additionally, harsh, lopsided institutional policies at government agencies have made it
extremely difficult for Afro Guyanese to sell their goods and services to government
Undoubtedly, the Irfaan Ali regime has continually displayed scant regard for Afro
Guyanese. Only last year, the MMA, an agency of the government, was actually in the
process of executing drainage works aback of Belladrum, devoid of the requisite consent of
proprietors. They would have succeeded had it not been for the militancy of the villagers
who demanded that the project be placed on hold until additional information is provided.
Further, a request was made of the MAA to urgently address the issue of appropriation of a
quantity of transported lands on which a canal and embankment were earlier constructed
without the approval of proprietors. To date, the aggrieved villagers have heard nothing
from MMA nor the Ali regime. Yet President Ali insists on boldly proclaiming the “One
In Region #5, Mahaica/Berbice, Afro-Guyanese farmers have complained of being unfairly
treated. During the flood last year, several Afro rice farmers were unfairly denied flood relief
and not a single ruminant farmer from Belladrum was earmarked to receive black belly
sheep during the distribution process.
It is time that the Government understands that Guyanese, irrespective of creed, color, or
race, are not seeking handouts. Rather, they are prepared to work in partnership with
government officials to enhance the sustainable growth and development of their
communities. They are issuing a stringent call to the Ali regime to embrace the principles of
good governance. Afro-Guyanese are demanding equitable distribution of wealth,
inclusionary democracy, and affirmative action to address inequity and inequality. They ask
no more; they ask no less!