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By Lincoln Lewis-The photograph above is that of a woman at the Dharm Shala who President Ali had the honour to serve on Boxing Day. The honour, from the standpoint that this is a nation whose people have been socialised to treat the elderly with respect, the elderly have served this nation, they are a vulnerable group and deserving to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect in their golden years, and the president is the nation’s chief public servant.
It is because of our older folks we are here. But when you look at the photograph which the Ali team took delight in posting to his social media account there is no such respect from Ali for this woman nor is she made to feel the society has a duty, based on culture and human rights, to treat her with dignity and respect.
I have said before that the Jagdeo/Ali regime is reducing Guyanese to mendicants and making persons feel they have to grovel for what is rightly theirs, show or verbalise expressions of gratitude beyond normal courtesy. The resources that government officials walk and around and dispense, with or without accountability, belong to all the people of Guyana.
No Guyanese, regardless of economic, social, mental or physical state must be made to feel or put in a position to kowtow to government officials. These persons were placed there, whether by fair or foul means, to be in service to all the people. That is why they are called public servants and they work in the public sector.
I don’t know where this PR nonsense about genuflecting to them comes from, nor do I care, but it must stop!
I am deeply offended by this photograph. Regardless of this woman’s financial, physical or mental state she should not have been in the position of grovelling neither should Ali, if he has a modicum of decency in him, have allowed it.
Further, I don’t believe the flaunting of this photograph is an accident. It is another mean of mentally retraining a people to feel they are not equally deserving of this nation’s patrimony, to feel they are lesser than, and what they receive is due to the benevolence of someone’s mercy not as equal participating members of society whose rights, freedom and wellbeing are no different from others. There would be no surprise if the regime’s PR machinery goes into overdrive and wants us to see the photograph as gratitude. Gratitude for what? Doing what a government is supposed to do, that is, to provide for the needy and create an enabling environment where all can thrive.
This twisted business where Ali feels he is a shah and people have to genuflect to him he must be reminded Guyana is not a theocracy but a state built on western democratic values and governed by laws that prescribed the equality of all. This man needs a lesson in Guyana’s system of governance and his role in the system as the chief public servant. He must stop deluding himself into thinking turning emblems and everything into gold are symbols of his wealth, not the wealth of all the people who are entitled to equally and equitably participate and enjoy.
Ali should be ashamed of himself. For this imagery, whilst no doubt intended to show a people, a demographic, a gender in the position of inferiority is an indictment on all of them. For it says that they are men and women of brutish minds and characters, undeserving to govern a nation whose constitution enshrines the equality of all and places government in the role as servants of the people not masters of the people.
This nation removed the vestiges of slavery and colonialism on 26th May 1966 and broke the final yoke on 23rd February 1970. Women are best positioned to state the date(s) of their achievements for equality and respect. However, the women I have shown the photograph are incensed and feel belittled.
Shame on the ministers and handlers around Ali that feeds his insatiable appetite to think he can lord it over the masses. This photograph, instead of making him feel like the shah, should remind him how much he is failing society.
In this oil and gas economy Ali should be ashamed that the standard of living for the elderly and ordinary Guyanese has seen no marked improvement. In spite of the extraordinary wealth, poverty is increasing. Only a cruel, arrogant and uncaring leader would take pride in flaunting the vulnerability of those in need and the society has a duty to protect. His policies and programmes continue to fail the masses as he exists in his ‘one Guyana’ bubble. He needs to be reminded that bubbles burst.