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|This country cannot get better when those placed in positions of privilege and influence seek to corrupt young and impressionable minds. This nonsense being peddled by one minister to young mock parliamentarians that they will show the nation “how participatory democracy works” is indicative of a constitutional dunce or someone who deliberately sets out to mislead, both of which are dangerous.
Article 13 of the Constitution of Guyana expressly speaks about a political system built on “inclusionary democracy.” Inclusionary democracy means having the people’s involvement in every aspect of the management and decision-making processes of the state that impact their well-being.
Prior to the 2001 constitutional amendment that led to the present Article 13, participatory democracy was enshrined. 21 years later this minister, with his confounded nonsense, wants to hold the people of this nation hostage to an outmoded political system and deny them their right to active involvement as adumbrated in the constitution.
Participatory democracy allows self-serving politicians to further their agenda at the expense of the people. Whether you attend and actively participate, however valid your input, they can get away with ignoring it by arguing participation took place and they can therefore move ahead with any decision. For them it matters not if the decision is inimical to those whose lives will be impacted by it.
Because of the limited nature of participatory democracy the Constitutional Reform Commission in its deliberative judgement saw the wisdom of replacing it with inclusionary democracy to create opportunity for meaningful involvement of all citizens. This we must continue to take a stand for.
PPP ethnic triumphalism that has returned with vengeance and greater venom with intent at snuffing out inclusion. Where African leaders in the PPP are content to support or turn a blind eye to the atrocities because they could eat at the trough they must first be verbally confronted. When one has turned on his group he puts at risk the well-being of the entire group.
Readers are invited to check the MMA records from 2010-2014. It will be observed that 99 percent of persons who received 99-year land leases are East Indians, coming from the support base of the PPP. Since the PPP returned to office in 2020 as they continue their ethnic triumphalism they are moving with alacrity to confiscate lands leased to African Guyanese during the APNU+AFC government. They are also encouraging supporters to occupy ancestral lands on commitment they will assist in getting prescriptive rights. It will come as no surprise to later hear efforts have been made to corrupt the registries to achieve their end.
Africans continue to be denied respect, equality and equity in as much as they have significantly contributed over the centuries to building this land, at one time under the cruelest of working and living conditions and grave human violations ever known to man.
From the beginning of self-government Africans have been employed in the services units and have shouldered the nation’s taxes, debts and sacrifices. By virtue of the government deducting taxes before wages and salary are received the African community has no choice but to pay. When compared to the private sector who could manipulate income to reduce or not pay taxes those in the state sectors are the ones shouldering the nation’s burden.
Look at the rice industry which is East Indian dominated and attracts state benefits such as subsidised fertilizer, tax removed from fuel, agriculture canals cleared, but collectively they pay no taxes.
One of Ali’s first public pronouncements in 2020 when he became President was to inform the nation that public servants will not receive an increase in pay. He made the announcement without engaging the unions that represent workers. This is how contemptuous the PPP leaders are to the African community. They speak boldly about what they will deny the African community and proudly about what they are going to give to the East Indian community, yet at the same time they walk around shouting about one Guyana. One Guyana for them means ethnic triumphalism and every other group under their feet, but moreso the African community who they despise.
Former sugar workers have each received a grant of a quarter of a million dollars even as some have returned to the estate and work. No such consideration has been given to former BCGI workers or public servants laid off by the PPP. As a trade unionist, I don’t begrudge any worker getting money but it is important to highlight the distinctions to bring national awareness to the ethnic triumphalism we are coming up against, under the banner of one Guyana, and must move to confront.