There is an old joke about a man who was in financial difficulty. One day he walked into a church and started to pray. ‘’Listen God,’’ he said. ‘’I know I haven’t been perfect but I really need to win the lottery. I don’t have a lot of money. Please help me out.’’
He left the church, a week went by, and he hadn’t won the lottery, so he walked into a synagogue. ‘’Come on, God,’’ he said. ‘’I really need this money. I have bills to pay. Please let me win the lottery.’’
He left the church, a week went by, and he didn’t win the lottery. So, he went back to the church and started to pray again. ‘’You’re starting to disappoint me, God,’’ he said. ‘’I’ve prayed and prayed. If you just let me win the lottery, I’ll be a better person. I don’t have to win the jackpot, just enough to get me out of debt. I’ll give some to charity, even. Just let me win the lottery.’’
The man thought this did it, so he got up and walked outside. Suddenly, the clouds opened up and a booming voice said, ‘’ Buy a lottery ticket!’’
Prayer alone is not going to answer the government’s request for social cohesion in Guyana. That prayer or wish has to be backed up with a plan. The plan is the lottery ticket.
Does the government have a plan for social cohesion? It says it does but the public is drawing blank when they try to discover what that plan.
Last September the government launched a Roundtable on social cohesion. The roundtable had the support of the international community. The participation of the international community showed just how divorced they are from the realities of Guyana.
The energy that the international community spent in participating in that event would have been better spent to try to encourage the participation of the main opposition political party, because whether we like it or not, social cohesion will go nowhere without the PPP.
Social cohesion must therefore not be reduced to a political sideshow. The government recently added its own act to this production when it launched a Prayer Service to mark Social Cohesion Day. In so doing, the government has reduced social cohesion to religious co-existence.
This approach by government is discouraging. It avoids the central issues that should inform any debate about social cohesion: the sources of political conflict and the manner in which the State should be organized to truly represent and reflect in the interests of all Guyana.
In fact, social cohesion is being promoted in the absence of any debate on these questions. As such, social cohesion is either obfuscating the concerns that should be central to its achievement in Guyana or it is being misdirected as a substitute for addressing these concerns.
Social cohesion has become a convenient excuse to avoid the issue of racial and political unity. Unless these two scores are examined, social cohesion will remain a vacuous concept, more wind than substance.
Social cohesion is being promoted as a way of helping Guyanese to accept each other and to have good relations. Guyanese have had good relations for over a hundred and eighty years, never mind the periodical riots and the regular five-year baptism of conflict whenever elections are held.
The architects of Guyana’s social cohesion plan, the brilliant minds that are developing a social cohesion strategy do not seem to appreciate that prayer services and good sounding appeals to Guyanese will not remove the need for dialogue and reforms on how the society is governed.
One newspaper recently observed that no less a figure than the President of Guyana recently called for national unity. The newspaper rightly observed that the President did not indicate how this was to be achieved. If this is to be achieved then there has to be a plan. It makes little sense calling for something and not saying how that ‘something’ is going to be achieved.
That something is not a little thing that can be pushed by a prayer service which was held to mainly special invitees of the government and the diplomatic corps. If the opposition stayed away that was regrettable, but understandable, since a prayer service just does not cut to the chase.
Sep 17, 2019Trophy Stall has supported the Wakenaam Cricket Committee for the staging of a T20 competition in the Essequibo river island. The competition has attracted seven teams; Good Success, Sans Souci, Sans...
Sep 17, 2019
Sep 17, 2019
Sep 17, 2019
Sep 17, 2019
Sep 17, 2019
The chartered accountant, Mr. Nigel Hinds, who is a well known letter-writer to this newspaper had a missive published... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]