UG is one of the institutions that the PPP targeted for special marginalization
I write in solidarity with the University of Guyana students who have become the latest victims of the PPP’s campaign of racial and other forms of socio-political profiling. The PPP seems to have made up its mind that political profiling is good political strategy. The University of Guyana students during the recent Presidential Debate used their voices to demonstrate their well-known frustrations. Their voices; not their fists. Yet they are accused of disruption. Never mind the event was not broken up. Never mind all four participants were heard. But any group of people who show disgust with the PPP is branded hooligans and thugs.
Just as the Buxtonions had good cause to raise their voices for the PPP and the world to hear, the UG students’ chants were more than justified. Those young people who, against tremendous odds, are trying to get an education know the daily frustrations of doing so at an institution that has been starved of government support. The sub-standard physical infrastructure—leaky, unsafe classrooms, malfunctioning toilets, outdated furniture and lack of air conditioning to name the most glaring ones. The absence of basic university resources such as a proper library and access to updated journals. The acute shortage of qualified lecturers due to the disgracefully low salaries offered. These are a few of the ills students have had to endure. Many have wondered why the students have not been more vocal.
I challenge the PPP to say that when it took power in 1992 UG was worse off that it is today. UG has been one of those institutions that was targeted by the PPP for special marginalization. Others were the Critichlow Labor College, President’s College and the Public Schools in selected areas. There is a social class outcome to this deliberate strategy. Poor people of all races depend on education lift themselves out of poverty. There is also a racial outcome to this strategy. African Guyanese are the majority population at UG and Critchlow. President’s College and the Multilateral schools have long been branded symbols of Burnhamism and Black domination. The politics of spite and pay-back in full swing. And the victims—the poor and the powerless.
The students were, therefore, correct to raise their voices, especially in protest against Mr. Donald Ramotar. It was the decent thing to do. It was the logical thing to do. It was the right political response. It was the moral thing to do. It was the right thing to do. The government has been the most anti-education government in the history of post-colonial Guyana. In the process it has reduced our country to a mess. This government spends more money on Jump-up parties, phantom groups, official perks, bribery, and mega salaries for itself and its friends than on the University of Guyana.
For too long Guyanese have suffered in silence. And this PPP government has treated that silence as a sign of weakness; as a consequence of their ability to conquer. Now more and more sections of the population, including those in the traditional PPP constituency, are raising their collective voices. They deserve our solidarity. The best way to blunt the PPP’s characterization of them as hooligans and thugs is for the rest of us to raise our voices in condemnation of this racial and social profiling and in protest against the mess this government has heaped on all of us.
It’s a sign of the times. The ground is shifting from under their feet. They know their days are numbered. Let us non-violently continue to raise our voices. November 28 is almost here. Two Morning More.