Nov 07, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Whatever the ulterior motives, and there were those, the white men from America and Europe were on the right track. Colonized societies were far from ready for the hard demands involved in national self-determination. The democracy afforded by numbers would quickly succumb to the lures of tyranny. If nothing else, that has been the case here, where Guyana stands as exhibit-in-chief.
Among other United States Presidents, James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce harboured heavy doubts about the Mexicans and their ability at managing themselves; that, given their bloody history, they didn’t have what it took to forge constructively ahead without the curses of revolutions, coups, countercoups, and virtual civil wars.
It was a sentiment that gained much traction at many levels of American society during the conflicts with that neighbour, which saw a significant segment of its territory lost to the United States under one arrangement after another.
Similarly, Theodore Roosevelt had serious reservations about the Filipinos’ ability to take charge of their own affairs at the national level. It was the usual Caucasian patronizing manifested, but with a different society involved in the Rough Rider’s case.
Closer to our time, during the run-up and actual formation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, there were those elites in the American power structure, who felt that the Latin Americans could not deliver on the essentials and promises of national self-determination.
To some degree, there appears to be some justifications for these American leadership positions that were seeped in racial underpinnings and outlooks. When the sorry record of Third World societies is reviewed, there is much that is found wanting from both those governing and the governed.
The British in both their misleadingly named House of Commons, aristocracy, and the House of Lords, a largely parliamentary pasture for its privileged peerage, felt that the Africans and Indians were not up to the grueling tasks of statehood and nationhood. All of them appear to be right many decades later, when judged on history and results and the restless plagues that have visited countries on those continents.
The sometimes shabby records of India and Pakistan, as well as Nigeria and Tanzania, and elsewhere, speak for themselves, as to how it has been a regular story of the tyranny of the few (the powerful well-placed elites) posturing at the virtues of democracy, while carving out a rich existence on the backs of their own people (the starving and exploited multitude). This is strongly reminiscent of what the British aristocracy, through that country’s Colonial Office, used to mete out to the hapless natives of the colonies as viceroys, Governor Generals, and civil servants at the height of the old British Empire.
Fast forward to the present, and what has happened and is happening in Guyana provides a lengthening trail of evidence that point to more of the same ancient attitudes and bigoted mentalities. The outlooks and postures that scorned and dismissed the prowess and strength of previously exploited societies to take charge constructively of their own governance responsibilities and flourish, once political freedom had been granted to their people is still there, only nowadays it is more nuanced. This is a telling indictment, which is no longer of what occurs in some other places, but has meaning right here.
For here is Guyana approaching close to sixty years after Independence, and the peoples of this country are still locked in the equivalent of an endless low-level tribal war. Governance is a stop and start proposition, while clean governance and ethical leadership are both alien to local thinking and culture. Now that Guyana has discovered oil, the unsaid can be gleaned from what has come our way.
There has been overpowering contracts and dealings. And, it is especially significant that when Guyanese leaders did signal a halfhearted attempt at standing up in resistance to Exxon, the dismissive quickly followed.
The Country Manager could not have been clearer in his contempt. Guyana would not know what to do with more money. So why give it more? If that was not demeaning, then what is? They want Guyana to cap its expectations, stay silent, and go along with being ridden and insulted. Our response: to hell with that!
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