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The official launch yesterday of the Institute for Action Against Discrimination (IAAD), a new organisation of like-minded persons who are deeply concerned about the state of Guyana and our people is most welcomed. The organisation brings to the society persons with a wealth of knowledge, understanding and good will for every Guyanese.
A group of diverse people who recognise that the individual good is best protected when the good of the collective is reassured and upheld by accountable institutions of state, an accountable judiciary, an accountable Parliament, a Constitution that is held sacrosanct, international laws, conventions and human rights.
The fact that there was a need to establish an Institute for Action Against Discrimination speaks volumes as to the state of governance, ethnic relations and social justice in Guyana. It screams to you the people that all is not well in our beautiful country. It says to you, brothers and sisters that we the people who feel it know it, we are aware of the existence of discrimination, marginalisation and denial. It says that enough is enough, we have had enough! Most importantly my Guyanese brothers and sisters, and listen to me carefully, it says that we must act.
And by acting, this does not mean reckless manoeuvres and scattered responses to the forces of discrimination in Guyana. It means bringing together the oppressed and marginalised people, whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever their issue of discrimination, to consolidate our strength and our resources, our various skill sets and ideas; mobilising and empowering our people so that they too can have equal rights and justice, equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth, peace and harmony in Guyana.
The future must be bright for all, not just a few at the top with the rest of us taking the crumbs. That is not a recipe for peace in Guyana, it’s not a recipe for growth and development. It is conditions set in place to pillage our wealth and create two Guyanas- one for the privileged political class, and I do not mean the masses who support the regime of the day, I mean the handpicked few that have set themselves, family, and cohorts up to pillage what rightfully belongs to all of us, and become the new world oligarchs of the Caribbean; where their money will buy lives, buy future leaders and corrupt the entire society, because they will have the economic influence to so do.
The other Guyana will be for the masses who will continue to fight and claw at each other without recognising they are in the same boat, sitting at different points, feeling the impact of rough waters differently, but still facing the risk of a capsizing boat.
The formation of the IAAD also says to this government, the Ali/ Jagdeo or Jagdeo/Ali regime, you have failed the people, at the very basis of understanding of what it is to be a democratic society, to have a government recognising and acting in accordance with fundamental democratic principles, “of the people, by the people and for the people”
They have failed us for with their willful acts of spitefulness, of economic suppression, of dividing us with lies and hate for they know, and believe me when I say they know, that a united Guyana, a united people, a united trade union, is an unstoppable force against threats to anyone.
So, my brothers and sisters, I say to you our struggle for the collective good, for better livelihood, better conditions of work, for better communities, for improved race relations, better opportunities for our children, for security, be it social, economic or political, for peace and harmony has got to be on issues of equity, of rights, the rule of law, good governance guided by international conventions and practices.
It cannot be about race and ethnicity when we face the same weather conditions, breathe the same air, and depend on each other for various means of sustenance. The creation of IAAD indicates the Ali/ Jagdeo leadership of mismanagement in government office.
They are aware of our rightful dissatisfaction, they are palpably aware of what they are doing, of the impact of their actions on the masses, but they refuse to hear the cries of the people, they refuse to stop, to engage, to change course, to include all our people without anyone having to lower their dignity, to be reduced to begging as we saw one of our citizens doing in front of state house, and the impact their discrimination has on a large section of Guyanese in particular.
They drag their feet on sustainable development in certain communities, on law enforcement, on ensuring equitable land distribution, on ensuring our youth are provided diverse opportunities for personal growth and maximising their potential. They deny our cities, our regions and local democratic organs, discriminating in the distribution of resources, creating impoverished communities and substandard public health conditions, even national disasters and distribution of state monies are times for discrimination.
They refuse to take heed and therefore fellow Guyanese, we must affirm our concerns at every level, in every instance, for all who suffer discrimination, institutionalised or of another form in this dear land of Guyana. No country in the world has been freed from oppression without the oppressed themselves being directly involved and in the forefront. IAAD stands ready to lead the struggle of all Guyanese against discrimination. Every Guyanese should be a part of the struggle of IAAD to bring sensible governance for progress to Guyana for all Guyanese.