Apr 03, 2020 Letters
DEAR GUYANESE, HERE AND ABROAD, COMRADES ALL:
As a former member of the Central Executive Committee of the People’s National Congress, Minister of the Government and representative of the Guyanese Overseas, I have been moved to make the following statement regarding our current situation.
Our country has never been so existentially poised – appalling ethnic cleavages, #Covid19 and the sudden and sharply contrasting economic prospects, with their attendant social dysfunctions. And yet these very challenges can birth the seeds of an empathetic, if robustly contested, unity among our six races, that overcoming adversity can so beautifully surface.
And the principal burden must be shouldered by those who birthed this enduring blight – the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and People’s National Congress (PNC) political parties.
I am deeply concerned about the free-flow of vitriol across various media expressed by persons claiming to be supporters of either side. The unfortunate absence of any suggestion of dissuasion from the leadership of either party is most distressing. This is a most unfortunate abandonment of the worthy objectives of inclusiveness, togetherness and social cohesion so vigorously espoused at recent campaign rallies.
I congratulate the Cde. President and Leader of the Opposition on their agreement to a recount. This is the first step and the best, perhaps only, manner in which our country could extract from this most unfortunate situation.
However, parallel to this exercise must be the dialogue between the authorised representatives of the People’s National Congress and the People’s Progressive Party under the co-chairmanship of two Eminent Elders of the country to begin a process of trust-building that is eventually public and demonstrably well-intentioned. Some form, and there are many from which to choose, of competitively distributed management of society and the economy is inevitable. But first we must learn to work together, even where we do not trust. We must be practical.
A demonstrable willingness to work beyond of pre-conceptions, is a pre-requisite to ensuring that supporters can gradually replace entrenched mutual distrust and fear with a willingness to treat each other with empathy and respect.
We have witnessed that without these shared values, laws and courts have diminishing resonance or practical authority, with either party. I propose strongly that serious consideration be given to the implementation of sharing the governance of key aspects of the economy and wider society.
Sharing governance is about dealing with mistrust within a framework of rules and practices which guarantee equality of authority and protection.
Both the People’s National Congress and People’s Progressive Party have had the experience of serving in the opposition and have leadership capable of representing and protecting their Constituencies, using the institutions and offices which can be established through the mechanism that share governance.
Everyone in this our Dear Land has grown up with the dream of our huge patrimony of gold, bauxite, now oil, and most of all human capital, being used to banish poverty and ignorance – to make the Small Man a Real Man, in the language of my time, and to see our country “bust open”.
The current leadership in both parties have this unique and historic opportunity to prove themselves worthy of being successors to the mantle of leadership once worn by Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan. These principal founders of our nation had agreed on audacious, patriotic and pragmatic governance arrangements, shortly before the untimely passing of the Comrade Leader in 1985.
I so often regret, and feel ashamed, that we who were members of the Central Executive Committee of the People’s National Congress did not struggle to ensure the materialization of this agreement. Guyana would by now have grown into a truly cohesive nation.
Fellow Guyanese, we are about to enter a phase in our country in which the sharing of limited resources should not be an excuse or reason for internecine division – there will be enough for all, and some, with honest, competent and patriotic management.
Our Leaders must NOT “threaten” us with the fear of domination by either other side; rather they must face the tape using their wisdom and resolve to ensure equality and opportunity for us and succeeding generations.
In time, the practice of working together will diminish, and may eventually eradicate, mistrust and thus birth a truly united, prosperous and proud Guyana.
Comrades, there is much to be done – let us get to work!
Prepared and signed by: Malcolm Parris CCH
PNC demanding answers for smuggled chicken early Sunday morning after church!
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