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Behind the facade of Guyana’s natural beauty, diverse population, and rich cultural heritage lies a history of political unrest, corruption, and violence. The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the ruling party, has been accused of neglecting the needs of ordinary citizens while enriching themselves and their allies through corrupt practices. The black community, in particular, has been disproportionately affected by poverty, crime, and violence, feeling marginalized and oppressed by the political establishment.
In the face of this oppression, a new movement has emerged over the past decade – the Diaspora activists. They are a group of courageous and vocal Guyanese citizens living outside the country who have taken up the cause of justice and human rights for their fellow citizens. Mark Benschop is one such activist, a former political prisoner who spent five years in jail for protesting against the PPP in 2002.
Benschop has become one of the vocal and visible leaders of the movement, using his platform as co-owner of Benschop Radio 107.1 FM to highlight the plight of Guyanese people. He has called out the PPP for their corrupt practices, accusing their leaders of being heartless, and ruthless and who have no regard for the well-being of Guyana.
Benschop’s story is not unique, as there are many Diaspora activists like him who have been using their voices and platforms to raise awareness and mobilize support for democracy and human rights in Guyana. They have organized protests, petitions, and campaigns to pressure the PPP and the international community to respect the will of the people and uphold the rule of law.
The Diaspora activists have been dubbed as the “fifth estate,” a term that refers to a group of people who use media and communication to hold those in power accountable. They have been providing assistance and solidarity to their fellow Guyanese citizens who are facing harassment, intimidation, and violence for speaking out against the PPP.
The role of the 5th estate is critical for Guyana’s democracy as the PPP government has used trumped up charges to imprison or allegedly kill many of the vocal local activist leaders. The PPP government is alleged to have been involved in the murders of local activists Courtney Crum-Ewing and Ronald Waddell and arresting perceived enemies like Chris Jones, Sherod Duncan, Trevor Benn, Volda Lawrence, and many more, making the Diaspora 5th estate all the more important to the struggle against PPP racism, authoritarianism and corruption.
Despite the challenges and risks they face, Benschop and other Diaspora activists are critical to the fight for equality and justice in Guyana and they are determined to continue their fight for true democracy in the land of their birth. These noble citizens believe that their efforts will inspire and empower more Guyanese citizens to stand up for their rights and demand accountability from their leaders. They hope that their actions will send a clear message to the PPP that the people of Guyana will not be silenced or oppressed by their regime.