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In a rather ironic turn of events, Minister Oneidge Walrond stood before the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent in New York, representing a government that claims to champion the rights of African people. However, the reality paints a starkly different picture, as the government’s actions speak louder than its empty words.
It is crucial to critically analyze the government of Guyana’s track record, which includes efforts to defund IDPADA-G (International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly- Guyana), a move that directly undermines the well-being and empowerment of black people. Furthermore, the government has been actively involved in land dispossession, utilizing the judicial system to perpetrate abuses against black individuals, and implementing policies that enforce gross racial discrimination, effectively subjugating African people and denying them equal access to government contracts.
Against this backdrop, Minister Walrond’s presentation at the forum becomes a striking example of hypocrisy. While praising the forum’s work, she reiterates the government of Guyana’s commitment to upholding the dignity and human rights of people of African descent, citing the legal framework in place. However, these claims stand in stark contrast to the government’s actual actions on the ground.
The minister also highlights the government’s purported dedication to ensuring equitable access to social and economic programs, such as free education, healthcare, housing, and water. Yet, these promises ring hollow in the face of the government’s failure to deliver on these commitments and its discriminatory practices that hinder the progress of African-Guyanese communities.
Minister Walrond further mentions Guyana’s support for reparations for the historical atrocities of slavery and the slave trade, emphasizing the country’s participation in the CARICOM Reparations Commission and the establishment of a National Reparations Committee. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, the government of Guyana’s actions beyond rhetoric must be scrutinized to ensure genuine progress towards justice and equality.
As the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent unfolds under the theme “Realizing the dream: A UN Declaration on the promotion, protection, and full respect of the human rights of people of African Descent,” it is crucial to hold the government accountable for its actions. The delegation led by Minister Walrond must address the glaring disparities between their professed commitment to African people and the harsh realities faced by these communities in Guyana.