Dec 02, 2011 Letters
The lost decades in Guyana were due in part to acts of our own misguided hands, fears, silence and preoccupation with daily survivals. The active enablers of our fears etc. and willful participants of our abuses, sorrows and demise must be held accountable.
Our political leaders did not set out to be ‘bad,’ or ‘destructive,’ but their weaknesses attracted and found ‘core people’ (alias bigots, opportunists, misguided etc.) who encouraged their inappropriate actions and behaviors.
Many of these latter folks profited well and reached heights of influence and power that they would not have otherwise reached. We have the rise of misfits, unqualified, uninformed and the unimaginative people now occupying positions in high places. They frequently commit one ‘bad’ or ‘inappropriate’ act after another to maintain their leader and thereby themselves in power.
They feed well at the troughs and would do just about anything to maintain their position of wealth, privilege and power.
Historically, any dictator rises and his wishes, however wrong, are executed by his faithful ‘hard core’ followers. The population turns a blind eye because of self-interest and/or prejudices. This societal silence emboldens the ruling elite to more excesses and the cycle continues.
This eventually deteriorates to a state when the society is forced to ask how did we get here, or how have we sunk so low? But now the ruling hand has control of all the instruments of power to pulverize the people and its opponents with well paid agents to do its bidding.
I shall now illustrate my argument to show that such even academically qualified personnel fall prey to the temptations of the top predators. However, well-intended these academics have not served us well.
One of the institutions which must be controlled in this quest for ultimate power is the University. Young people are more idealistic (risking life and limb) and will take a stand for justice, equality and progress. The PPP is likewise afraid of an educated populace and moved to get its own agent and sympathizer in place to control the university.
The then Vice-Chancellor, openly campaigned for President B Jagdeo, filled this spot very well, being ably assisted by a President Jagdeo’s selectees on the Council. This Guyanese Vice Chancellor, similarly chose his own personnel such as the then Dean of Science (awarded with positions on several commissions), the then DVC (awarded a national honor), and several Deans and Professors, including PNC parliamentarians. Some of the last type even accused us of ‘throwing stones from afar.’ Two other academics include a former Minister of Education and the current Pro-Chancellor of UG (from the Office of the President) in this demise of our youths.
No one has ever asked these gentlemen to account for their actions! Children also learn by observations and experiences, what are we teaching our children? If the formally educated can act against the educational aspirations of our young then how can we be as educators expect to be treated with respect?
When we were highlighting the conditions at UG, particularly with regards to science and technology, and the consequences of such neglects, we believed that UG officials would use this information to advocate for a better funded institution.
In addition, we thought politicians and the public would ask questions and the state of affairs at UG would improved. Education affects everyone irrespective of political views or orientations. Here was common ground.
Later on in this public debate, one likely well-meaning scientist argued that making the UG case public was not the way to go and lobbying behind the scenes was better. (We had already attempted private dialogues, but were not given the chance even to be heard.)
This scientist (publicly honoured as an Indo-X by Indo-X group in Toronto) recently stated that his research facilities at his institute are ‘state of the art,’ courtesy of President Jagdeo.
This public boast is disappointing since right next door UG science facilities have not benefited from a similar largesse. They are still woefully under-funded and the poverty and rot reeks. Worse, such insensitivity is hurtful to others (e.g., late Professor Sankies, Engineering) who have toiled so long at UG, under dysfunctional conditions?
Their voices go unheard, their talents unexploited, and feel discriminated against.
Sadly, this boast proves what we have been saying that only Guyanese close to the President Jagdeo are listened to and other Guyanese are ignored and forced to leave. It also proves what we have been saying that the President Jagdeo’s Govt. has no coherent policy with regards to science and technology for the development of Guyana.
Other Guyanese (local and overseas) as well as many within the PPP agreed with us.
It is unfortunate that even this ably-qualified Guyanese (with international experiences) like so many others have missed the violations of the basic principles of fairness, perceptions and human rights. Those of us who know better should do better.
Education is a human right. The state has the responsibility to ensure that its citizens get the best education and training possible to ensure the personal development and progress of the country. This is an essential investment. Youths will respond and act responsibly if they are treated fairly.
The abovementioned indicated persons should bear some responsibility for the abuses inflicted on the youths of Guyana and those from UG as being active participants in the violations of the human rights of our youths and should be held accountable.
Every dictator has his supporters and executioners of his desires, like President Burnham, present President Jagdeo has his own agents and enforcers.
Guyana needs an independent Human Rights Commission so that despite the comings and goings of Governments, we can hold those who aided and abetted the violations of human rights of our citizens responsible and subject to criminal prosecutions.
This will make enablers think twice knowing that their actions would have serious actions in the future. We have made the same mistake twice already. We have seen other abuses of the rights of Children etc.
We should hope and pledge that we become better ethically so that we never participate in the demise of any human being of this country (or elsewhere). As seen above some of the personnel above are ably qualified and knowledgeable people.
Knowledge is good to acquire, but wisdom is essential in that it allows us to use our skills and expertise for the common good (or, at least do no harm). We hope that we can tell the difference.
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