After the American invasion of Grenada in 1983, my professors at the University of Toronto set about securing asylum for me in Sweden. I turned it down. I wanted to stay in the Caribbean. I never felt the attraction of winged impulse while living in the Caribbean. I truly love the Caribbean. I made my decision to stay in Guyana without external determinants.
After the 1992 election, Yesu Persaud persuaded the head of the UNDP, Juan Laraburre, to offer me the job of local head of the UNDP. I turned it down in preference of staying at UG. The students at UG needed to know about philosophy and how it shapes the world. That was my existential response determined by free will.
Not hundreds but thousands of persons have expressed bewilderment at my endurance in social activism in Guyana and up to this day they would ask me: ‘Why risk so much pain and suffering?’ For what? My answer has been repetitive over the decades – that the choice I made in life are my own without intervening considerations and I have no regrets.
We make our decisions in circumstances that may impinge on our own volition but in the end, humans always have space for alternative pathways. Once we choose our directions, we cannot eat our cake and want it too. Many folks in and out of Guyana have contacted me about the future of Guyana and what will become of race relations in this land since one side wins the other loses. I have had umpteen reactions about the break-up of my friendship with David Hinds.
I return to recent remarks of Nigel Hughes, I mentioned twice in these columns about the ethnic dilemma. Nigel’s thoughts were insightful. Nigel said that the PNC failed to institutionalize constitutional reform and put faith and its fate in elections. That was an existential state of mind the PNC arrived at with free will. When the election was lost, the PNC saw the election as irrelevant, its value was substituted for ethnic sharing of power.
This is where I lost respect for people who I once held dear to my heart like Eusi Kwayana, Moses Bhagwan, David Hinds, Nigel Westmaas, and others. You cannot treat people who voted for the winners of a national election with such despicable contempt.
The PNC had power for five years during which time, it could have convinced the people, who later voted for the PPP in March this year, that election could wait and there were better things ahead like constitutional changes, decentralization of power, offering society pathways to extirpate the sarcoma of racial animosity, and the actual sharing of power.
Those roads were not taken. Those were existential choices that were made by the PNC. It lacerates the collective psyche of a nation when those who neglected to change a country for the better, abandons the election road they embraced and invent a narrative that excludes the winner of the elections and the countless numbers who voted for the winners.
There is a statement I have made on television, radio and in these columns about the 2020 elections that I think brought out the innate dishonesty and the deep moral morass of certain humans who are Guyanese. Their attitudinal shape to the election was determined by the return of the PPP to power. It is unadulterated evil, not abstract but pure evil that you can choose to deny a nation its right to vote, accept rigged election and its concomitant permanency of power because you do not trust the winner of a national election to govern properly.
That is not a standard the world should live by. That is not a value humans should accept. It is pregnant with consequences too horrible to contemplate. I now will inject a personal note about this theoretical insanity. It is about my life under permanent power. I paid to enter the University of Guyana as a student, only to wake up a morning to find that I had to do compulsory national service or be thrown out.
I woke up a morning under permanent power, like the rest of my fellow Guyanese to find out that the unelected president announced that his party that never won a free poll (you see what rigged election does to a country) was given more legal power than any other national institution in the entire country.
I woke up a morning under permanent power and found out that a series of essential foods were banned, courtesy of the unelected president. The 2020 election was about the right to vote and remove politicians who you think didn’t perform. Only an ugly mind thinks otherwise.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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