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In Guyana, there is a thin line between sound advice and criticism, it simply depends on who’s talking and who’s listening. Irrespective of one’s analytical competence, it is never easy to truly decipher what’s in other people’s minds or even assume that what you deduced from their utterances is what they actually mean. Sometimes, it is imperative that recipients of messages seek a more in-depth clarification before jumping to conclusions. However, having taken all of the above into consideration, it is apt to note that one must inculcate a high level of tolerance for dissenting or contrary views.
It is with this concept in mind that I felt disillusioned after receiving a text message from a known PPP operative, debunking a view I had earlier expressed on a particular matter. The sender was clearly intolerant of my utterances simply because they opposed his policies and stance. Such blatant intolerance left me spellbound as they demonstrated zero tolerance for opposing views and literally attempted to strip me of my democratic right to free independent thoughts.
Notwithstanding, I consoled myself from such a vile attack and gathered strength from the words of former First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama, “When someone is cruel and acts like a bully you don’t stoop to their level. When they go low, you go high.” Such comforting words forced me to examine the message from a totally different perspective and I eventually concluded that the author of the missive was incapable of addressing dissenting views in a mature and intelligent manner and was simply conforming to the standards nurtured by the ethnocentric/apartheid regime to which he is proudly affiliated.
The PPP just loves pointing out that it is a caring, multi-racial government that caters to the interest of all classes, creeds and ethnicities. As proof, they cite the composition of the executive, bureaucratic, and coercive arms, which they claim, are of multiple races/ethnicities. This may be so but the stark reality is that it is not unusual for an ethnocentric regime to be democratically elected and in some cases coopted by other ethnicities to convey a multiethnic appearance.
The dominant feature of the Jagdeo/Ali cabal is that it systemically discriminates in favour of Indians, rather than ruling evenhandedly on behalf of all citizens. The regime has deceptively recruited a few Africans at various levels to convey an image of inclusivity. Further, images of senior government officials’ interaction in non-PPP constituencies are widely broadcast to portray the image of inclusive development. However, analyses of budgetary allocations, public procurement, employment practices and the economic status of Africans uncover the deception and deliberate attempts by state and non-state actors to further emasculate Africans.
Amidst claims of inclusivity and democratic principles, the regime has viciously attacked African leaders, their interests and the organisations they head. Yet amidst the rhetoric of inclusivity, the Jagdeo/Ali cabal is yet to engage the Opposition Leader on critical issues. As a matter of fact, by its action, the regime has clearly demonstrated that consultation with the Opposition Leader is not on the front burner.
African leaders who dare speak out against the regime are subject to harassment and further deprived of basic rights. Likewise, African organisations such as Critchlow Labour College and IDPAD-G among others are rendered bereft of funding for their developmental programmes for Blacks among whom are those that advocate for good governance after the racist Jagdeo/Ali cabal had made its ruling.
The Constitution of Guyana guarantees the right to freedom of expression and association, fundamental statutes that Jagdeo, Ali and supporters of the cabal maliciously and indiscriminately strife to deny Guyanese citizens.
These modern-day oppressors engage a plethora of frameworks; political, cultural, social, economic, moral and legal, to justify their lopsided distribution of power and resources in favour of their ethnic base and are totally oblivious to the cries and sufferings of those they perceive to be recalcitrant.
These oppressors shrewdly identify labour and entrepreneurship as major arenas of contention and further drive nails in the coffins of their detractors in areas that are legally accessible or devoid of legal restrictions where they appear to be segregated and stratified in terms of class and race. Further evidence seems to suggest that African Guyanese are more likely to be employed as blue-collar workers and encounter challenges in accessing finance for business ventures.
To further convey the image of a multi-ethnic regime the Jagdeo/Ali cabal has cunningly resorted to luring a few Africans out of predominantly African villages/wards to portray their false mantra of inclusivity. Mind you, these individuals, though qualifying by dint of ethnicity, have no ‘locus standi’ and must not be construed as authentic representatives of African philosophies.
Indeed, this assessment could not have been more firmly endorsed than when one listens to the recent rantings of Attorney General, Anil Nandalall and other PPP surrogates, in their unsuccessful bid to debunk this theory. It was he who rationalised that the PPP had placed many Africans in positions of authority in contrast to the APNU political party. The AG further claims that the PPP’s interaction with African communities has delivered promises and ill-conceived projects on a larger scale than those of the APNU group.
One is tempted to ask, has the government seen it fit to engage the authorised and elected leaders of African communities in their planning and projections for their development or did it just proceed in an unstructured, uncivilised fashion?
Undeniably, the Westminster system of governance has proven to be weak in many key areas and is in need of keen evaluation. Sadly, the statutes of this system have enabled the growth of the ethnocratic regime, to the detriment of the development of our country. Such a situation is untenable and begs the need for all Guyanese to demand the requisite action toward a workable module on the road to positive changes. This is irrespective of creed, colour, class or political affiliation.