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This week we’ve had another unhappy situation at Buxton. Editorials and letters have examined the situation from different perspectives. Before I go further, let me make it crystal clear. First, I grew up in the Charlestown/Albouystown/La Penitence areas and knew no racial prejudice nor hostility and this has molded my character and political life.
Second, I condemn all forms of uncouth behaviour, disrespect for others and forms of lawlessness, however, it is human nature from antiquity through the dark ages the savagery of slavery and imperial domination for people to strike out when they feel they and their kith and kin are under attack.
What happened at Buxton, with memories of the Henry’s cousins, Boston issue, spitting in the face of Constable Bollers, the interesting withdrawal of certain matters by the DPP and other incidents will happen again unless the present Government understands or is made to understand that sections of a polarized country for whatever reason will not accept the insinuation, the craftsmanship and trickery of a 21st century imperialist command.
The major tool used by those who plundered our human material and natural resources was the divide and rule instrument. Our Constitution and history are based on what we inherited from the British and Dutch and more recently the Democratic institutions observable in the United States of America. The cardinal feature is the existence of a government and an opposition.
Is this Government the disciples of that philosophy?
In our case, the Government does not represent a huge and numerical dominant portion of our society and the question of shared governance and the consultation with the designated opposition must therefore be a sine qua non.
So, when you have a Head of State and his top brass going around to communities and deliberately ignoring the Opposition including religious and cultural groups, you have the classic case of the Old Massa believing that certain folks are so low, so lacking pride that you can win their support by doling out paltry sums of money.
People are waking up to this kind of insult and disregard for the essence of our Constitution which talks about inclusionary democracy. We are lucky that there are not many rabble-rousers around to stoke fire.
Another mistake President Ali is making is to believe that the likes of the Prime Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister Joseph Hamilton, et al can speak on behalf of certain folks. That is the height of naivety.
People in Buxton and elsewhere have noticed who hold the key portfolios that control the massive wealth we now have.
Mr. Editor, there is a dangerous and unhappy aspect which if ignored can lead to disaster.
Eleven years ago, I came upon a boy, 9 years old, shoeless, selling genips during schooltime outside of Stabroek Market. I engaged him in a quiet conversation and pointed out to him that he ought to be in school because of the importance of Education. He said two significant things, (1) that he was selling the genips at the request of his mother to get money to purchase clothes for school. I kept up the conversation and asked him what he would like to be when he becomes an adult. His answer after repeating the question to be certain he understood what I was saying. He said he wanted to be a bandit. This is a serious matter for me, and I bought his genips and pursued the matter.
It turns out that the village he lived in that known bandits were sharing goodies, so for this young boy that was his image, that was his ambition, that was his aim.
Mr. Editor, this is not an isolated case, it represents an old attitude of providing certain things while ignoring the deep significant issues, and I have given this example before. Instead of so many arrangements shrouded in secrecy, the Government should begin to provide an even playing field by making education free from kindergarten to university.
I am aware of an obsession of this government to do or say nothing that appears to give credence to the ideas of vision to the previous presidency, but they can refashion the language in whatever way, but make education free and accessible from kindergarten to university.
This letter need not go into the virtue and value of the many things that can contribute to make Guyana wholesome.
A retooled National Service will go a long way to erase existing prejudices based on race, creed or place of birth
It is necessary for the major elements of our Constitution to be respected. This simply means to ask the Government to respect particularly in the main urban centres, the duly elected Councils and Municipalities.
I am avoiding details but the absurdity of not having the Mayor of Georgetown take part in the annual ceremony held in November at the War Memorial to honour those who sacrificed their lives in the two World Wars is just one small example of the pettiness of a Government that prattles about one Guyana.
Finally, I appeal to this Government to ponder the underpinnings of this taken from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy – MORAL SENSE. “ In the first half of the eighteenth century certain British Philosophers argued that the moral sense is the faculty that distinguishes between moral right and wrong. The deliverance of this faculty are feelings or sentiments, which enables us to distinguish that action as vicious. The moral sense is also an influencing motive in our pursuit of virtue and our avoidance of vicious behaviour and it plays a part in our bestowal of praise and blame.”
The worst affliction to descend on a country is when one group feels that they are the font of all wisdom and that the other people are stupid.
Let us hope and pray that those in authority are possessed with a moral sense to know the difference between what is right and what is wrong and that they cannot ignore tradition and the significance of inclusionary democracy. The lynching of our Constitution.