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Except for being on Christopher Ram’s programme “Plain Talk,” Channel 9, two Wednesdays ago, and on Sharma’s Justice For All Programme, Channel 6, last Saturday, I spent much of my time from the beginning of this year in deep introspection trying to understand why it is that Leaders everywhere continue making massive mis-steps simply because they disallow themselves the opportunity to learn from the experiences of their predecessors in office.
This weakness of course has led everywhere to death, damnation and destruction. During and before Plain Talk, I undertook to see what little I can do to help provide a sort of bridge over turbulent and troubled waters so that this massive oil and mineral wealth we are now enjoying, can become a benefit, a bone and not a burden or curse upon this nation and in particular succeeding generations.
As a consequence, I had quiet discourse with persons representing the top echelons of our political parties. So far, the apparent insurmountable high hurdle seems to be a deep distrust of the other side and even more daunting is the emergence of a philosophy by those now in office that there is a righteousness about things said and done by President Ali. No doubt on the face of it some of these actions may be laudable and beneficial to the recipients.
The trouble here is that in many of these activities there has been neither discussion nor consultation (that bad word), with the organizations, representing groups of persons in their villages, in the workplaces or communities. This is a negation, this is a kicking-down of the doors of what we understand to be the lofty principles of a democracy resting on the pillars of morality, decency and a respect for other people.
One Advisor to whom I spoke said he was satisfied beyond doubt that President Ali means well and believes in the righteousness of his actions and Statements. I reminded this person of an old bit of wisdom ‘that the road to ruin is oft times lined with good intentions,’ and that those who support unilateral actions are in fact creating the monster of a dictatorship where what the ruling cabal does, whether right or wrong becomes correct.
The other descent into the dungeons of despair is a feeling on both sides that the hostility, intemperate language used by both sets of leaders and an instance of refusing to shake hands are unhelpful to those who wish to promote a rapprochement and reconciliation, but as I continue my crusade, I will through this letter and otherwise remind the leaders of industry, commerce, religion and of course politics that standing like an ogre there like a demon are the same people with the identical orientation that enslaved us and exploited us on the plantations for many generations. The folks who used our Amerindian brothers as human headhunters to bring the severed right hand of run-a-way slaves – that orientation with much sophistication remains in place.
Last evening, for over three hours I listened to a report of a group of experts who looked at the Pacific, Fiji, Australia etc with the title of “One Health.” They examined the correlation between human health, animal health and the ecosystem. Many postulated that our earlier ancestors understood the need to work with and not against mother-nature.
What we are doing to the ecosystem in the name of development, World Bank experts and others, have expressed some concerns that the damage being done may be beyond repair.
They have remarked on the massive damage to the ecosystem in the name of development and extracting as fast as we can natural resources bringing the operators large sums of money.
In Guyana, look around at the hinterlands and forestry areas and we’ll see the wanton destruction to our rivers, the disappearance of flora and fauna in certain areas and the emergence of hitherto unknown diseases continuing unchecked because of the financial benefit to a minority.
I am sending this open letter to the President, Vice President and his Advisors to say if it is true that we are extracting oil at a rate experts consider too high and therefore dangerous.
Second, we’ve complained on many occasions about the award of contracts to certain folks who are clearly not properly qualified. The termination of a contract in Region 6 and the one that caused the flooding in Charlestown/Albouystown areas, only occurred because of public outcry of what may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Next question to the President and his cabinet – why this flagrant breach of the Municipal Laws particularly in the capital of our Country, Georgetown but this is not new where the democratically elected Local Government Organ continues to be ignored and trampled upon.
The public must not be fooled where certain events are labeled ‘Secret and Confidential.’ I was part of the group that protested when President Ramotar opened the Marriott Hotel. From my personal knowledge, LIAT staff had to look around for less expensive accommodation because the Marriott was increasing their rates by 300+ percent because of the increased demand for accommodation. In short, from all accounts, the Marriott is now a profit-making enterprise. Why therefore should any Government seek to dispose of a money-making enterprise without giving the public. The owners of the Marriott, some truthful or plausible explanation.
Guyana historically has looked to its erstwhile masters, the United Kingdom (UK) and his big brother to the North, the United States of America (USA) for the patterns of democracy.
Recently, the Prime Minister of the UK was fined by the Police for not wearing his seat belt. In the US, the garage and grounds of the present and past Presidents have been searched and documents removed, allegedly in breach of their laws.
Editor, either of the above circumstances will be unthinkable in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, but these are the same people who preached to us about Freedom and Democracy. So without a proper investigation, a female Government employee, Ms. Ellis is dismissed because she stood up for her rights at Mocha.
The charges brought against a well-placed attorney are withdrawn after he allegedly insulted an ordinary female security-guard. I need not burden this letter with the numerous other examples of our democracy meaning demons gone crazy, safe to express this bit of lamentation that within the Police Force and Security Forces we have a number of professionally erect and competent Officers and men, but their image is daily sullied and stained by some Officers who take directions from the politicians. No wonder we are yet to solve certain crimes and fires in Guyana.
It’s an old story which caused me to quip earlier that democracy in Guyana is getting to mean demons gone crazy and finally, with this boast of the fastest growing economy, yet people at the bottom of the ladder, (a familiar term first used by Dr. Cheddi Jagan), still cannot provide nutritious meals and find money to get their children to and from schools.
In other words, notwithstanding the large sums allocated for bridges, buildings, etc. it appears to us that the concentration of wealth is in the hands of a few, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen.
I will continue my effort to prevail upon both sides that they are truly interested in the welfare of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, they will learn that history dictates that United we stand, divided we fall.
They will get rid of this sense of tit for tat – this arrogance and self-righteousness, which I sense exists on bop–9oth banks of the river.