Oct 25, 2020 Letters
I refer to the editorial titled, “Unifying the people” (SN October 23). I place my thoughts and positions before fellow citizens, brethren all.
Whenever any citizen endeavours to take the bull by the horns on matters of Guyana’s unity, I give hearing, actually listen. For me, there is no bigger issue, this possibly terminal one of ours. So, when I learn from SN that President Irfaan Ali spoke of unity publicly last Tuesday, I paused and read. In sharing, I utter no word that questions the president’s sincerity, his choice of time and moment, or the exertions supporting his perception for unity. I give President Ali every benefit; I must trust him to mean what he said stirringly, according to SN.
It is vital that President Ali go beyond, what may be considered by some to be syrup and soup where unity is concerned. He must be clear with what is intended, tangible of what will be attempted, given what such could do for this country. I give His Excellency this: the words flow well. But they dry up too quickly, because of negligibility of energy, lack of maximum effort, the mere surface thinness manifested, time and again. I humbly invite the president to challenge himself to live his words, and to build what bridges the yawning chasms that condemn us to piteous existence. President Ali must, after challenging himself to lead by example, then set about inspiring supporters and doubters to seek higher ground, to abandon the racial cesspits that slosh against our knees and monopolize the national mind. To emphasize, I discard whether I am doubter or not; such is not relevant. Instead, I extend a hand of support. Let’s get it done. Make a start. I commit to contributing in private, quiet ways. They are neither new nor unhelpful. I do. The president should, too.
There are misgivings from many. But I remind that those are all that we have had and from which we flourish in things tainting. On unity, we must be that we can do and will. A start could be made by ending the hunting season, the personnel purging gone. The president knows what I mean; I do not patronize him. I respectfully recommend that President Ali call off the programmes in full swing, but now at lower ebbs. I urge doing duty, like never experienced before. Just do it like true champions – deliver! I exhort discontinuing the intimidation games aimed at silencing dissent, ceasing the weaponizing of courts to muzzle opponents. A singular hallmark of a vibrant democracy is probing, ongoing debate. The president and his people must reverse course on these areas pinpointed. Those are his first landmarks and milestones, the first tests of what he is all about, for what he really stands. I tender the alien and the unprecedented: the court cases against GECOM officials must run course; and, if found guilty, then pardon. Like I say – the first steps to higher ground.
Because if he does not, then last Tuesday’s words are nothing but the usual Guyanese leadership deceptions on race, unity, and inclusion; there is neither vision nor imagination, only patter. I say to the nation’s highest officeholder that he himself has to be of more than soothing scripts customized for public consumption. Like quicksilver, they slither away too easily.
Editor, words and postures, sweetly sounding certainly, have to be bolstered by gestures and concrete actions. If not, they wear thin, lose any flimsy substance possessed, incur the greatest disillusionments. I have no doubt that I am equipped to weather the dispiriting shortages, the realities, of unity promised to be believed in, committed to, and worked for, but which are never visible in either delivery or associated convictions. But can this society weather disunity?
For my last word on unity in this country, I inject boxing lore to reveal what is before us. We have to face ‘the four corners of truth.’ We must steel ourselves not to back pedal, run away from ourselves, but stand up and confront what must be faced. I am pleased that His Excellency pointed to what is missing. Now he must gird himself to lead the way with more than the prestige of the presidency; he must wear a halo for what unifies, come what may. Guyana needs unity and not just for our sanity, but possibly prosperity and continuity.
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