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Commentary by Rickford Burke
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, convened the first session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva, Switzerland from December 5-8, 2022.
The purpose of the forum was to develop strategies to combat systemic racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance globally.
African Guyanese believe that the aforementioned forms of intolerance make up the foundational governance philosophy of the PPP government of Guyana.
Having voted with the Trump Administration against the 2020 UN resolution to eliminate racism against Blacks worldwide, the PPP regime also expectedly boycotted this forum. The government’s absence was a disgraceful dereliction of governmental responsibility, given the fact Guyana has a significant African Guyanese population.
If this forum was about East Indian rights and empowerment, the PPP regime would have participated with zeal and exuberance.
The International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana (IDPADA-G) attended the conference and spoke out about the racism practiced by the PPP government, and the victimization and persecution of black people by the oppressive regime.
IDPADA-G delineated the plight of African Guyanese who face economic genocide, suspension of constitutional rights and determined efforts by the government to make blacks second class citizens in their own Homeland.
Instead of listening to the sentiments expressed by IDPADA-G and the leadership of the black population, who have been consistently denouncing their vicious, racist policies any practices, and work with them to establish a strategy to empower black people as well as foster inclusion, fairness, equity and equitable governance, the PPP regime came out with guns blazing; as usual, attacking and condemning IDPADA-G.
The PPP regime’s intransigence is catastrophic to national cohesion and development. It is destroying the nation. They can issue millions of denials. They can keep denying reality about their racism and mistreatment of black people. They can keep attacking IDPADA-G’s participation in the Geneva forum. They can attack the US elected officials who speak out about their bigotry all year long. But that will not erase that fact the the entire nation and now the entire world, know, as the empirical evidence proves, that they engage in the most despicable forms of racial discrimination. Period!
Nothing has improved for the African Guyanese population in Guyana since the PPP came to power. Black people are worse off than they’ve ever been. Infrastructure in Black Villages are left to collapse and decay. PPP East Indians walk on paved roads in some rural villages, while blacks are forced to plug through mud and slush for roads.
Black unemployment is at an all time high. African Guyanese are under attack by the Guyana Police Force for exercising freedom of speech, and advocating for equal rights, while the PPP works arduously to deny them justice and equality. The DPP discontinues criminal charges against PPP supporters, even if those charges are to exact justice for criminal wrongs against African Guyanese.
The PPP regime’s strategy for dealing with complaints of racism is to suppress complaints about racism. Their ethnic press are their accomplices in this mission. The regine treats condemnation of their racial discrimination as a crime, and instructs the current African Guyanese Police Commissioner to deploy heavily armed Gestapo officers to arrest citizens on trumped up charges of exciting racial hostilities for complaining and crying out against racial oppression.
On December 16, 2022, the Stabroek Newspaper editorial warned that “The government creates some of its own problems for itself. President Irfaan Ali promotes ‘One Guyana’, and wants to create a context for the inclusion of African Guyanese. This all sounds very admirable except that he doesn’t want inclusion for the people African-Guyanese voted for.”
This is a fundamental item on the government’s racist agenda. They want to tell black people who their leaders should be, and how those leaders can be the most efficient and subservient house slaves. That will never happen, however. This is not a Plantation. This is Guyana – a multiracial, multicultural, multiethnic society.
Moreover, ethnic extremists in the government have ignored calls by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for inclusive growth and inclusive democracy, economic development, and security for all Guyanese. They have ignored warnings from the Democratic Leader in the US Congress, as well as from several members of Congress and the Attorney General of New York, to end racism and govern in accordance with equal protection provisions of the Guyana constitution and the international democratic ethos.
They obdurately despise such counsel. The feel as though that have an inalienable right to exclude Blacks from Guyana’s economic prosperity and oil wealth. They feel an inalienable right to promote ethnic supremacy and African Guyanese second class citizenship.
Guyana is at a dangerous juncture. It is a powder keg waiting to explode. The black population is convinced that the apartheid government of Guyana is deliberately instigating a serious political crisis that will inevitably lead to civil unrest.
Guyanese know that the current status quo is untenable and volatile. The intensity with which the PPP is advancing its ethnic exclusion agenda and transferring the wealth of the State to its East Indian supporters has completely poisoned our polity and placed race relations and hostilities at its lowest ebb since independence.
The preponderance and pervasiveness of PPP racism and racial discrimination against African Guyanese will not be accepted or tolerated in perpetuity. There is an impending crisis. All of the indicators suggest that the discussion should not be about if there will be civil conflict in Guyana, but when.
This PPP government is even more contemptuous of African Guyanese than the apartheid South African regime was of South African Blacks. At least apartheid South Africans reached a point of conviction that theirs was an evil government, and they sought reconciliation, repentance and international acceptance.
The PPP government is unrepentant and unrelenting in its perpetuation of its evil philosophy against Blacks. This is more diabolical than the racist who practiced apartheid governance in South America. Their practices portray them as inherently fascists. Their intolerance for African Guyanese runs deep into their genealogy. It seems ingrained in their biology and physiological constitution. It is therefore unrealistic to expect that anything will change naturally about their governance.
I have always said that it will take the intervention of the international community to bring about a resolution to PPP racism. Similar sentiments were conveyed to US Vice President Kamala Harris and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, in a letter signed by black organizations and prominent citizens in Guyana, including several East Indian leaders.
The Western Hemisphere, the Americas, the Caribbean Region, cannot allow a fully developed fascist PPP government to succeed in Guyana. Guyana faces an impending disaster! Now is the time to act to assuage a destabilized Guyana that will engender regional and hemispheric instability.