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|“A race that was once proud of their achievements, revolutionary fervour, that brought about emancipation and independence now seems to be cowering under this onslaught of the new paradigm of African Guyanese and their leader, ” said Mr. Winston Jordan, former Minister of Finance.
Jordan has weighed in on Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo’s attack on the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G). Last Friday the VP, at a press conference, accused IDPADA-G leaders of using the organisation’s money, which is given by the government, to personally enrich themselves. On Monday, in a press conference, the organisation fired back at “VP Jagdeo mischievous crusade of misinformation, lies and defamation,” explicitly making known their service to the organisation is voluntary not monetary.
In five years, the organisation has received less than half-a-billion dollars from the government, a sum, Jordan said, when compared to the almost $100 billion given to the ailing Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) from 2015 is insufficient and Jagdeo’s reference tantamount to making a mountain out of a molehill. Flaying the government for its attitude, the former minister pointed out that in the decade dedicated to Africans, the government should have sat with IDPADA-G and agreed to a quality programme, with goals to be achieved, and the concomitant subventions given.
Applauding the work of IDPADA-G, which was presented at the press conference, and for responding to Jagdeo, an appeal was made to be mindful of the African proverb that speaks to telling one’s story. The proverb, “Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter,” the former minister said this essentially means until the oppressed people learn how to write, how to read, how to communicate, the world will never know their viewpoint.
In its five-year operation the organisation has provided services to the African community in Youth Development, COVID-19 Humanitarian Assistance, Flood Relief Survey that reached over 3000 Africans in effort to address the disparities in state funded distribution, Preservation and Teaching of African History, and Entrepreneurial Skills Training and Development. More of IDPADA-G’s work could be seen here https://www.facebook.com/IDPADAG
Notwithstanding work done by the organisation, outlined in response to the VP’s attack, they are being encouraged to be proactive in informing the public, to be transparent, and work on improving their public relations.
Appearing on Kidackie Amsterdam’s ‘Buxton Morning Time’ programme, the former minister said post August 2020 there is a narrative being pushed by some people that Africans Guyanese have done something akin to slaying Jesus Christ. People are acting as though “the race came, met people and sponge on their efforts, and laid back as kings while reaping the benefits of all. You’d believe that African Guyanese don’t belong to this country called Guyana,” he said.
Drawing attention the narrative is being pushed by all sides and in all corners and has gained traction, particularly over the 23 years that have been characterised by incidents and accidents that have set the country back, Jordan pointed out that whilst all races have been affected, African Guyanese have been particularly so, in areas such as health, education, earning capacity, security, etc.
Offering advice that comes from years of experience, the former minister threw out thoughts to ponder and act on. To this end he shared: “If the hunter succeeds in putting fear in a lion, who is supposed to be fearless, can you imagine what will happen in the jungle…the jungle will become extinct…Fear is all part of the subjugation. Remaining silent is not going to improve your social and economic conditions. Some will have the benefit of silence, but the large masses will not…God gave us a mouth and we have to advocate…we have to let people know what are our concerns, otherwise they will assume what is good for you and provide it.”