Several writers in your paper have commented about the meaning and achievement of our political independence. There is an absolute need for introspection of independence. Are we really better off today than we were 50 years ago?
Have our current former leaders (from both sides of the political aisle) let us down? How can we reclaim our nation from self-serving?
Politicians — those who don’t seem to a hoot about the people but are only concerned about the welfare of themselves, friends and families.
Throughout the world, people in Third World countries, former colonies, are expressing regrets for breaking away from colonial rule. Most Third World countries are worse off today than they were under colonial rule. Very few countries (Singapore, India, Malaysia, Brunei, etc.) have made real progress since independence while most have retrogressed since they broke with their imperial rulers.
Peoples’ quality of life has declined precipitously and they have given up faith in government to better their lives. Corruption is a norm of life in all former colonies. The former colonies have become more divided than they were during imperialist control. Law and order as well as discipline have broken down. Work ethnic has been on the decline.
The remaining colonies in the world don’t want to break from their mother countries. A few days ago, I visited Puerto Rico, which is having national elections, for a study on attitudes toward colonial rule. Puerto Ricans don’t want to break from Uncle Sam and the same is true of the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
I was in French Polynesia last February for another study on colonial attitudes. The French Polynesians don’t want to break from Paris control. The same was found in my visits in St. Martin and Guadeloupe. Arubans told me they don’t want to break from Holland. The same is true of the people of Curacao and the rest of the Dutch Caribbean.
The British colonies (Bermuda, Cayman, Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, etc.) of the Caribbean are not even thinking of breaking from England. Life in all of the colonies is much better than it is in any of the independent countries of the Caribbean. That is why so many Guyanese, Jamaicans, and other islanders are attracted to these other islands for permanent residency.
Opinion polls in former British colonies are not favorable towards independence. In Jamaica, the late Prof. Carl Stone did an independence poll for years that asked whether the populace felt they would have been better off if Jamaica had remained a colony. The responses were not surprising. An overwhelming majority wished if Jamaica were not independent.
This poll question has been continued by Prof. Bill Johnson and the results last year showed that 60 per cent of people still yearn for colonial rule – a lack of faith in the politicians who succeeded the British rulers.
When I was in Jamaica last year, most people I interviewed yearned for a return of the British. Jamaicans, not matter what Prime Minister Portia Simpson says, does not want to replace the Queen as their head of state. The same is true of Barbados and the other islands of the region. As in the rest of the region, in Guyana some 90 per cent wished if Guyana had remained under England’s control.
Recently, voters in Black Bush told me if America opened up its borders to Guyanese everyone, including the communists, would leave for the US. I remember an old lady telling me “beta, abe na bin dey so bad under White man rule” – a severe indictment to those who drove off the British so they could inherit the mantle to abuse their own people.
A few years ago when I wrote that our nation had regressed since independence, I was severely criticized for “being nostalgic for colonial rule”. Yet, those who attacked “the imperialists” are seeking to settle in the imperialist countries; they (including the communists) want their children to be raised and schooled in the imperialist countries.
I don’t think we should return under colonial control. But politicians and the elite must be cognizant of the views of people about how their standard of living and politics have deteriorated since the colonialists left. In many countries, the local rulers have oppressed their people more than the colonizers. Politicians in Third World countries are only interested in getting their hands at the purse to enrich themselves and don’t concern themselves with the conditions of the poor and the working classes.
We should have a serious review of where we are today as a nation since we broke from the British.
Editor’ note: The bulk of the population know nothing about British rule. To suggest that they are yearning for such a rule may be dishonest. People will not yearn for what they never knew.
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