I refer to University of Guyana student, Akola A. Thompson’s letter in SN of September 15 last.
The writer says “I saw politics as something alien. Something the foolish meddle in, because to meddle in such a system was asking for trouble…I recognized my ignorance and saw how my continued silence was slowly sinking this already sinking country. I blame myself for being a coward. What do others blame themselves for?”
Student Akola Thompson, welcome to the club of awakened ones and congratulations on realizing that need at 18. You do your country proud. By “your country”, I mean the best of Guyana, including some of the selfless teachers of the past, some of whom I have had the privilege of meeting, and who have striven against so many odds to keep producing some of the best brains of the world, who have handed down a sturdy educational system that has resisted so many misguided attempts to “improve” it.
I congratulate your early realization, because I took 40 or more years to come to the realization that Guyana is in the state it is in because the rest of us have allowed it.
I am now 64 and will tell Akola Thompson (AT) that unless the number of people like you is multiplied ten thousand-fold we will always be a land of potential – the unfulfilled variety. There are simply too many Guyanese who have been conditioned to believe that the politicos own the country so they aspire to either become a politico or leave. But what Guyanese do not realize is there is a bigger problem than just politicians. While our eyes are firmly fixed on the politicians the phenomenon of silently surrendering our rights thrives in every sector of the society.
For example, the phenomenon of life tenure of directorships in some private companies is an egregious manifestation of this abdication. Many people do not even know that they own an insurance company or two.
Yes, if you buy a participating policy from a mutual insurance company you automatically become a part-owner with voting rights. But try exercising that right at their annual general meeting and you would soon learn that the elections are fixed!
The directorate by their own bylaws should retire at most every 3 years, and the members (policy owners) vote to elect or re-elect from among their number. But replacement is kept within a closed circle. The directorate of one insurance company actually legitimized this insinuation of entitlement by giving themselves pensions!
We Guyanese need to wake up in so many areas. A significant part of the problem is that we have never been taught our rights as citizens and, nature abhorring a vacuum, there have been, and continue to be, those who tell us what rights we don’t have when it suits them. So in this banana republic, when the brightest minds find an exit, the only criterion for leadership is the party card.
AT, you might not realize it, but you have taken the first step in ensuring that your grandchildren in 2050 do not look at you thinking that you are responsible for the state of the country. I am sure when today’s 30 year-olds look at people like me they think I am one of those responsible. I don’t even get the opportunity to plead that some great thinkers of my time told me by their actions, sometimes their omissions, and at times their very words, to keep out of “politics” – they knew best. Just check the history of the student activism that started at UG in the 1970’s.
Well, I hope you set some silent ones thinking, AT. The education system might be failing, but the capacity of Guyana to produce bright people never ceases nor ceases to amaze me. I hope some of them who know compound interest get near that new iteration of the Amaila Falls contract whenever it gets cranked up again as the boys are threatening. And I hope they feel the need to ask for answers and find a way to get a copy of the contract from the Right to Withhold information Czar. Or else what is the point of all the money we spend on education?
Frederick W. A. Collins
Sep 21, 2019The inaugural Archery Guyana’s Seven Seas Indoor Championships 2019 was held on Sunday September 15that the National Gymnasium. Sponsored by Seven Seas, the competition shot off at approximately...
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