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The Guyana government has been facing charges of racial discrimination from some opposition groups, activists and citizens, who claim that the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPPC) is favoring Indo-Guyanese over Afro-Guyanese in its policies and programs. The government has denied these allegations, saying that it is committed to building an inclusive and equitable society for all Guyanese.
In response to a recent meeting in New York organized by the Caribbean Guyana Institute of Democracy (CGID), where speakers accused the government of corruption and discrimination, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira said that these claims were baseless and politically motivated. She said that the government has taken significant steps to tackle human rights abuses, corruption, and poverty, as well as to promote social cohesion and national unity.
In response to the litany of accusations, the government also recently launched a social media campaign to counter the accusations of racial discrimination, posting images of its ministers espousing anti-discrimination platitudes such as “It is time to end racial discrimination”, “We must put diversity and inclusion into practice”, and “It is our duty to acknowledge….diversity”. The campaign was met with mixed reactions from the public, with some praising the government for its positive message, while others criticizing it for being superficial and hypocritical.
One of the critics, Prof. Olufemi, a professor of political science, responded that the government’s campaign was a mere public relations stunt that did not address the root causes of racial inequality in Guyana. He said that “the objective empirical evidence of racial allocation of resources outweighs this superficial nonsense…we want policy and law that is enforceable to ensure equity not nonsensical statements”.
He reminded that of 27.1 Billion in contracts awarded by the Ministry of Housing, 82.5% of that amount was awarded to Indian Guyanese. Also in looking at over 6 B awarded in contracts by the Guyana Water Inc, 5 of the 7 contract awardees were Indians. Also, of 19.1 Billion in contracts awarded by the Ministry of Health, 68.43 % were awarded to Guyanese Indians and 27.17% to an Indian Trinidadian. In the face of a mountain of evidence of racial discrimination, the government’s recent campaign rings hollow and remains an insult to critical thinking Guyanese.
The political analyst called on the government to implement concrete measures to ensure fair representation, participation, and distribution of wealth among all ethnic groups in Guyana. He also urged the international community to monitor the human rights situation in Guyana and hold the government accountable for any violations.
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