An incident occurred at the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) last Wednesday, details of which will be given below, that has caused me to reflect on a subject that the world’s greatest scientists are scared of touching, especially since the international mess that one of the world’s greatest genetics scientists, Nobel Prize winner James Watson, found himself in. In 2005, then Harvard University President Lawrence Summers almost ended up like Watson.
Ask any student who did a degree in philosophy and he/she would tell you, the professor treads carefully when the topic comes up. We are talking about the genetic connection between race and intelligence. Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer puts it this way; “The intersection of genetics and intelligence is an intellectual minefield.”
What did Watson and Summers do that touched off huge international storms? Let’s go years back into the seventies with Harvard Professor Edward O. Wilson
Harvard had to provide security for Wilson after protestors attacked him and his office. Wilson, a genetic biologist, published research that he says is conclusive evidence that genes explain all types of human behaviour including love, aggression, hate, social attitudes, xenophobia.
All forms of human have genetic determinants. He argued this goes for all animal species including Homo sapiens. As the controversy spread around the US, Wilson declared defiantly that he is a scientist not a sociologist or a politician, and he stood by what scientific research does – come up with judgement-free or value-free evidence
Lawrence Summers, speaking at a conference, said there are genetic differences in the intellectual abilities of the genders, with a genetic explanation for women’s lack of achievements in mathematics. Watson at the launching of his memoirs implied that Africans are genetically inferior to other races in the ability to achieve.
In defending his position, he said he believes that people are all equal, but science does not always support our humane view of life. One of the arguments in favour of genetic differences among races is that IQ tests reveal that East Asians are more intelligent than Caucasians.
Watson and Summers ran into international hot water, because a majority of scientists have rejected their position, with the conclusion that science to date has not proven there is a connection between genes and intelligence. Both Watson and Summers apologized, saying they were misunderstood. The late Harvard great, Stephen Jay Gould, dismissed the reliability of the IQ test. My opinion is that I don’t believe the genes can explain intelligence, but there is a big but.
Now white people tend to say that you can’t get a non-white person to admit that the Caucasian race is superior to non-white races, because obviously he/she is accepting their own inferiority. The sick bigotry that comes from the writings of many white racists is encouraged by the behaviour of post-colonial people in the Third World.
I now return to the NIS incident.
Last Wednesday I found out that my benefits were held up by the NIS because a clerk refused to accept the signature of the person who signed my form – a senior UG lecturer with a doctorate.
Let me make it clear that Ms. Nelson, the NIS GM, and the head of the pension section, Ms. Brown, were extremely courteous and professional and quickly dissolved the problem for me. But the problem remains for thousands of other Guyanese and the clerk was acting legally and properly. The problem will only go away when we non-white people stop behaving as if the white race is better than us.
The NIS benefit form has only ten categories of persons who can sign the document. They are Justice of the Peace; Commissioner of Oaths; Notary Public; police superintendent, minister of religion; medical doctor; head teacher; senior public servant, bank manager, secretary or president of a trade union. This poor, inept, inelegant and stupidly short list was handed down to us since colonial times. The clerk correctly said that a UG lecturer was not included and she rejected my form. She was right to uphold the law.
How can any country exclude a lawyer, army officer, an engineer, a manager of a business company, a university lecturer, a practicing journalist, a media editor, a senior official in the public sector and a long list of eligible Guyanese, from signing a benefit form? The list excludes senior officials in the public sector since a public sector job description varies from that of a public servant who is a civil servant.
My humble suggestion to the Government of Guyana and the NIS Chairman, Dr. Roger Luncheon (who takes an interest in the lyrics of calypsos), is to broaden and rework the list to include the following – media operatives; business officials; members of certain professions (which will include engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, architects, computer experts, pilots, auditors, accountants, scientists etc); persons at a supervisory level upwards in the public sector of Guyana etc.
Just imagine, Uncle Adam, my editor, can’t sign my NIS benefit form. I doubt in forty years time the NIS directors will change this. The courts in Guyana are still guided by a 1913 divorce law. The white man came, conquered us, then left us in backwardness while he became a modern human. Why? Because white people are better thinkers than the non-white races.
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