Sir Ronald Sanders is urging that the Guyanese people rid themselves of the trapping division of ‘race’ to ensure they are not robbed of the high quality of life oil and gas production offers. He said too that Guyana must not be a problem for the region, but a solution to its challenges.
The diplomat, in a recent op-ed published by Caribbean News Global, noted that violence like that which has taken Guyana in the past week has oftentimes led to refugees, migration and instability in the region. In this regard, he stated “Neither the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nor the nations of the Americas would sit-by and watch Guyana descend into civil strife and violence now. Such a development would have consequences for them, and they will undoubtedly act if circumstances demand it.”
Guyana has been rocked by several killings in the past week, leaving racial tensions high and the President looking to the international community for assistance.
Sanders said that justice for the persons killed is necessary, but that it must not be based on lawless actions as expressed by some who sought to hijack the protests, destroying property and attacking fellow Guyanese.
He commended Chair of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence on her impassioned call for peace, in which she, among other PNCR leaders, stated “I am calling on every single member of the People’s National Congress Reform, irrespective of your status, I am saying that we cannot continue. This carnage must stop.”
He also commended Gladstone Henry, father of one of the murdered boys, as a remarkable Guyanese, for speaking against violence and urging people not to fight against each other.
The diplomat referred to an observation he said was made by author, Joshua Hyles in his book ‘Guiana and the Shadows of Empire: “Country studies of Guyana point out that the country’s disparate ethnic groups have come to resemble one another culturally and physically more than those of their (racial) countries of origin”.
Sanders believes this is true for the Guyanese descended from Indians and Africans, and that they would acknowledge Guyana as their “visceral homeland”.
“The challenges of language of tribe, of cast, of culture set aside Guyanese, except Amerindians, from the distant lands of their ancestors.” Sanders stated.
“Guyanese – of all races – have resided together for almost two centuries. In doing so, a Guyanese civilization has been woven from strands that originated in other lands – in India, Africa, Europe, China and in Guyana itself. What has been created is a unique blend that is Guyanese.”
He said that it was the British colonizers who realized that the descendants of India and Africa would be a formidable force, and pit them against each other to keep them subdued. He noted that the strategy is being preserved by “self-serving politicians” who would benefit from keeping the people divided.
While he acknowledged the President’s decision to seek after an International Commission of Inquiry, the diplomat said that Guyana should consider how the issue of racial strife which has been exploited for so long, can be addressed internally, and seek to establish a “One Guyana Commission” to further oneness in Guyana’s society.
“The work of the Commission,” Sanders stated, “should be countrywide, listening to the free contention of all voices, concerning ways in which every Guyanese can honour the strands of their ancestral heritage while celebrating their uniquely blended Guyanese civilization, with equal opportunities for all.”
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