Aug 05, 2020 Letters Comments Off on Now is the time for everyone to cooperate for Guyana
A new President was sworn in on Sunday, August 2, 2020 after half of a year of stress, strain and the vagaries of our judiciary. Ironically, we installed a new President as we mark the month of Emancipation of remembering the martyrdom during the most inhumane practice in modern human history, that is, the enslavement of black Africans and the Trans-Atlantic Trade.
It was also on the day many have set aside for worship. I congratulate President Ali and in particular Vice-President Jagdeo as they assume the reins of Government.
Their well laid out plans at home and abroad have paid off handsomely and we hope that the initial statements will go beyond the rhetoric and be made reality. Best wishes to them.
To the PNC-led coalition, the struggle continues to make manifest our motto of ‘One People, One Nation with One Destiny.’ To them, I say be assertive in the quest for national unity and the government that reflects the hopes and aspirations of this and succeeding generations.
Elders who are still around, I know, are willing and capable of being the catalyst to bring about a healthy rapprochement so that we heal and not peel. Everything the new government says and does should be to mend not rend.
Some have already expressed their concerns and fears. I am an optimist and remain hopeful, even as I witness the tears of the declared losers.
We must be reminded that from the time we leave our mother’s womb, mankind experiences change and a lot depends on how we respond and adjust to the inevitability of change from infancy, childhood, adulthood on to old age.
Be reminded by the old philosophy that the word ‘change’ itself designates one of the most conspicuous and most pervasive features of our sensory and introspective experience – only the related feature of plurality or diversity is equally so.
The question I now pose to the leaders on both sides of our political divide, is how will you respond to the change of August 2, 2020. It is my contention that the first task should be to share our significant history with our children from kindergarten to University.
We must remind all of our children about the clever manipulation and the well-practiced divide and rule policy, which unhappily we remain unwitting victims of to this day. The unity forged in the 1952-1953 struggle, thanks to Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, was short-lived. This was due to the Cold War and other circumstances.
Unhappily, for reasons well known, this difference between Burnham and Jagan was exploited by certain forces to put a wedge between Afro and Indo Guyanese, even though the split of the mid 1950s had nothing to do with race.
The resulting suspicion and occasional hostility exist unhappily unto this day, like a cancer eating away at the slender fabric of our society. In the late 50’s, 60’s, the situation became so terrible that one of our Elders and a group of Afro-Guyanese canvassed the idea of partisan.
The inevitability of change should compel us to sit and talk as Guyanese to eradicate suspicion and distrust and allow us to see fellow Guyanese not in terms of the colour of their skin, or texture of their hair but only on the content of their character.
As a young boy, I learnt of the 1947 Elections, thru my parents and my participation as a teen in the 1953 elections and subsequent involvement of all national elections.
This experience suggests that today that between eighty to eighty-five percent of voters cast their ballots based on racial preferences.
This charade by our major political parties of presenting to the public an Afro number one or Indo, number two, or vice-versa, fools no one anymore, in fact, it may be harmful since it is similar to putting a bandage on a festering sore. The experiment of a mixed, number one and two is a useless, if not harmful deception.
Next, our political parties need to encourage more young females to come forward whether from the grassroots, middleclass or professional levels to illuminate and enliven the socio-political landscape of Guyana. I was weaned by a woman, my mother of awesome power and therefore appreciate the dynamism of the female.
I am reminded of the words of Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, (1979-1990) who said if you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman. (Amen). We remember the Yoruba theology, that one of their significant deities, Oshun, is the Goddess of water, purity, fertility, love and sensuality, all essential to a good life. I recall that in 1953, the first females to enter Parliament were the three Js, Janet Rosenberg-Jagan, Jane Phillips-Gay and Jessie Burnham. Their entry into Parliament brought glory, goodness and grace to the hallowed chambers of our legislature.
The period ahead, must not be characterized by spite or recrimination but of wholesome dialogue to find a modus vivendi. If we don’t, we remain mired where our human and material resources are exploited for a master class, not different from the days of slavery and indentureship.
This bold but necessary step requires Guyanese of compassion, integrity and genuine patriotism to ensure the period ahead is glorious and not damned. We must not ignore that the events of the 2nd of August; for half of the population, it is foreboding and for the other half it is propitious. This unhappy division, whether we like it or not, is the reality and we must with courage face it if it is to be overcome.
Frederick Robertson in his sermon consoled the congregation by stating that out of evil cometh good. Wherever you stand, if you stand on the side of the first group we must take comfort that history has shown that in many instances out of evil cometh good. If we stand in the second group, it is an opportunity for healing with love.
In the words of the National Song “Let us co-operate for Guyana composed and written by W.R.A (Billy) Pilgrim says ‘Let us resolve to fight together, see we do it right together.’
He poses the question, Can we do it? We should all with confidence respond, ‘Yes we can!’
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