Please permit me a space in your column, so that my indigenous brothers and sisters can do some introspection, as we are about to conclude our Amerindian Heritage Month’s Celebration 2017; and since we have been given the blessings with a plot of land by His Excellency, President David Granger to build a National Toshoas Council Secretariat, at the Sophia Exihibition Centre last August 2017;we can certainly have more breeding space and with more comfort to ventilate, but if not all, some of the contamination of the past.
The superimposed arrangements that were put in place by the former PPP Government as a cover design to swindle the nation with the refashioning of their dictatorship regime to a democratic outfit, have now lost its colour. All the fine art work done on the PPP souvenir logo which stood up and weathered the storm for decades on the landscape of Freedom House on Robb Street, Lacytown is nothing else now but a smoky phenomenon.
A reflection of the past, saw thousands of well wishers and supporters at PPP rallies and by hundreds, they marched through the streets of Georgetown with slogans splashed across their banners, displaying democratic themes in solidarity with the working class and to all the colourful tributes paid in honour of those who shed their blood and sacrificed their lives for freedom in Guyana, and together with loud calls for racial unity among our six races. They were nothing else but a paradox and cheap superficial gestures that are now recorded in the political history of our country.
The masks they wear to cover their false deception are now being torn off by their very own leaving them naked and exposed with the many unpardonable sins that they have committed against the poor working class and citizens of this country. But yet! They have continued to blind their eyes and deafen their ears to the very truth of which they have violated the principles of humanity and moral standards in full view of their supporters and law abiding citizens.
When the PPP won the general elections in 1992, there were signs of great relieve and tremendous joy in the hearts and minds of all Amerindians across Guyana. Again in 1997, 2006 and 2011 election campaigns, loud music blared the lyrics of the late great Robert Marley, “everything gonna be alright” throughout our beautiful villages and towns. But beyond the coastal plains of our capital city of Georgetown, very little looked to be alright in the remoteness of our hinterland regions where only the PPP were allowed to put cameras on tripods with their political journalists to hoodwink the nation with their fairy-tale stories.
These PPP serpents continued their ungodly mandate and kept the first Guyanese, the Amerindian land-lords of this fair-land as second class citizens. How can diamonds and gold under my house belong to a foreign company or someone else who can wave a miner’s permit in my front of my face issued by the GGMC? How can Mr. James Singh send his GFC officers to seize my lumber and chain saw when I am living an honest life, while struggling to build a house for my wife and family with the materials I harvested from Amerindian lands? Foreign companies were allowed to plunder the resources of our forests in this country but Mr. Singh never instructed any action or seizure of such.
In the last two and a half terms of executive power, the PPP cabals created a special recipe with a mixed menu of ideological fragments which they fed to the indigenous population through the former ministry of Amerindian Affairs. Most Amerindian leaders unwittingly accepted this archaic form and type of system because of generally no political knowledge and with no explicitly political skills among the leadership of their village.
The traditional way of life and culture of the indigenous people reinforced the unchanging nature towards an impoverished social landscape which allowed the PPP over a period of time to impose a dependency syndrome on the Amerindians by way of gifts and hand-outs of goodies and propaganda materials; together with their trickery of superficial promises of giving them true ownership and title to their ancestral lands.
This tactic and political ruse were also dispensed among the indigenous population to restrict and keep them under the wraps of the PPP but also to strangle hold their economic well-being. The Amerindians in the Rupununi districts are a testimony to the fact of their fundamental rights being violated, when senior members of the former PPP government used and abused state resources to subjugate villagers where threats were made to withhold government sponsored contracts and projects if they did not submit to the conditions of the government and vote for the PPP at the general elections.
This psychological battering on the indigenous communities in the Rupununi, left most villages in a dilemma where only subsistence farming was encouraged to continue while they were unable and unwilling to produce sufficient surpluses to be used for further investment and consequent prosperity. The very low level of technical knowledge and access to financial assistance in the indigenous communities proved to be inadequate, despite the presence of an agriculture field out station equipped with a technical staff and two commercial banks at Lethem, Central Rupununi.
Mark Anthony Rodrigues
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