On May 10, 2020 – Kaieteur News and Guyana Times published a letter I submitted, captioned “Recounting Deep Down the Rabbit Hole: Coming out Requires No Prosecution”.
The letter referenced above was written at the culminating point of the constitutional and electoral crisis that was suffocating our nation, after Guyana’s still undeclared March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. The purpose of the letter was to encourage APNU-AFC coalition and their cohorts to concede electoral defeat, without risk of any election related prosecution by the new administration. Clearly with the dawn of a new administration in August of 2020, prosecutions related to election rigging are being prioritized.
The new administration could immerse itself in nation building, as it should – or entangle itself in seeking prosecutions to essentially imprison those who were involved in an extensive effort to stand-down the majority will of the Guyanese people that was expressed during the March 2, 2020 elections. It requires a special nationalistic type of leadership from the new administration to turn away from a prosecutorial agenda! Failing to guard against arrogant conduct has been the main cause of the downfall of previous administrations.
The prosecution focus will be harmful, with the potential to ignite racial warfare, it is also the equivalent of trying to kill the severely wounded. A pyrrhic victory is no victory. When individuals have nothing to lose, those persons and their enablers are much more likely to commit atrocities.
They were hardly any employees in GECOM Secretariat who during the tumultuous March to August 2020 period were unaware that many employees in the organization were guilty of undermining the 2020 election process and most of them played along or kept silent. The key to resolving this practice is balanced employee recruitment for the Secretariat.
We have been waiting decades for leadership that not only recognizes the insecurities and economic gaps, within and between demographics in our society, but leadership that also attempts to bring balance and restructuring from zero sum processes and politics that abandons masses of Guyanese in the political coal mine.
There will always be outstanding achievers in every group, however the achievers are far fewer in the more historically abused group. William Du Bois spoke of this group as being the talented tenth.
Is it asking too much for us to focus on nation building, to release the dynamics of a multiracial and multicultural socio-economic system that will accelerate inclusive economic development?
Beyond the democratic transition, we need reforms that must prioritize the mitigation of the classism, discrimination, racism and colourism (CDRC), issues that have plagued Guyana more than any other Caribbean Nation.
I will use three easily highlightable economic and social factors that have played leading roles in the current abysmal plight of our country.
The focus is on Politics, Economics and Employment in Guyana; using three of the nine tentacles of systemic discrimination, referenced by the great American psychiatrist, author and human rights activist – Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.
Politics in its simplest form is about acquiring and maintaining power. Over recent times, it has become normal in the western hemisphere to use a system called democracy, where every 4-5 years, elections are held under a democratic system and the political party that wins the most votes achieve the power to govern the country.
Aside from the power, wealth and entitlement that the upper echelons of government enjoy, there is also a belief by support groups that governance of Guyana is for party insiders and the governance should never be democratically implemented. New administrations have invariably proven this belief has an empirical basis. It is worth noting that in a historical context, governance power via the majority votes system is a relatively new structure.
A brief but relevant segue is taken here to note that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Guyana frustrated Mr. Clement DeNobrega, who recently died after years of frustration and legal action to obtain his Audit Practice Licence that was due to him. Instead, the Institute wickedly denied him what he earned and deserved. Others are in the queue for the licence, let us hope his death is not in vain.
1. Allocation of resources, including land, contracts, and licences.
2. Access to loans and normal interest rates from banks or financial red-lining for many Guyanese.
3. Discriminatory cost of bank financing for businesses, access to decent housing and education opportunities.
4. The greed and disenfranchisement promoted by our banks and heavily imposed on struggling families, micro and small businesses, using high interest rates, paper wasting bureaucracy or loan blocking techniques. While those in the upper class are given all access rights to loans at discounted rates.
5. A burdensome and onerous tax system, geared to allow discrimination and frustration, with a general policy of tax on everything. The working masses and their families are the main victims.
One can say without fear of logical contradiction that systemic economic classicism favours those Guyanese that have land, capital and connections. There really is no tractionable economic system in place for the working class and the unemployed to ascend out of poverty.
The area that has created the most visual display of discrimination and unfairness in Guyana, is employment discrimination. A common rope that has anchored and imprisoned the two large parties in their governance of Guyana. Employment policies trend towards racial and colour discrimination. The odious trait extends to our private sector.
A few examples are listed below:
1. Indianization of GECOM Secretariat in 1999.
2. Africanization of GECOM Secretariat post 2015.
3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs hiring primarily Indian Guyanese as Ambassadors.
4. The shutting down of sugar estates, disenfranchising mainly large blocs of PPP/C supporters of employment.
5. Selective granting of licences including gold, claims, radio, television, cable, fuel, among other kith and kin handouts.
6. Selective leases, land allocations and land sales at insider prices, being done seamlessly across administrations.
7. Contracts rigged to favour nepotism.
8. Employment at leading Financial Institutions that show significant racial employment bias and prejudice.
9. Military and para military organizations that employ and promote one racial group over another.
10. Judicial filings and rulings that are more in line with race politics, than adherence to constitutional and statutory law.
11. Racial selectivity in appointments to state jobs, with extreme prejudice shown post 2015 in the appointment of Permanent Secretaries.
The above concatenation of the issues highlighted, represents the poison that pervades our social, economic and political systems. Courage in leadership is needed to overwhelm our baser instincts, by having leadership that strives to provide some semblance of opportunity and fairness within our public and private sectors.
The constant reference in the media that allows the use of terms such as stupid, foolish, clowns and failures in describing political leaders from the two main political parties that represents 98% of the voting population, only creates deeper divisions.
We waste our tax revenue and government time on vendetta politics, when an ocean of prosperity surrounds us to use government time to secure the upliftment of the economic condition of our people. Servant leadership can significantly mitigate the racial divisions that entrap a substantial amount of Guyanese in extreme poverty.
Political misconduct is grounded in self-interest and a large support base that cares not for right over wrong, justice over injustice, but only for the clutching of power for personal and insider benefits. The masses are left to grovel for survival out of poverty!
In Guyana, our Jim Crow system is based on a power and classism, seasoned with discrimination and colourism. The amputation of African lives and culture over several centuries, by using unparalleled violence and cruelty, still limits the Africans from realizing their potential as a group, especially in the private sector, where culture plays such a vital role. Consideration must be given to this reality, as the necessary political terminations and replacements are made by the new administration.
Al Pacino said in his first Academy Award winning performance: “There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit, there is no prosthetic for that.” Let us remove this sight of vanquished souls from our court system as it relates to the March 2, 2020 elections; it is really a form of victory gloating. What good does it serve Guyana to go through a legal process to prove that the transparently guilty are guilty. How often must we play this cursed game, where the only certain outcome is a more divided nation.
Some claim there is legal justification under the meritorious umbrella of malleable law. That may be so, however, the consequences of legal action will probably be multiple times worse than the election related crimes. Let us instead use the democratic transition to focus on tearing down the oppressive barriers of classism, discrimination, racism and colourism and build our nation.
There is no fence for Human Rights Principles to jump and there must be no time or space allowed to pursue a partisan agenda. In the midst of prosperity our people live in poverty, due to defects in leadership. The time for change is now!
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