Kaieteur News- Former Minister in the APNU+AFC regime, David Patterson, confronted with evidence that he received gifts from public sector agencies has put a nasty, deadly spin on the mounting embarrassment that is drowning him. He has accused his successor in the Ministry of Public Works, Juan Edghill, of racism.
When one reads Patterson’s twisted logic, the immediate reaction is to laugh. But once more, I will highlight the theory of Melinda Janki. She is a lawyer and not a political theorist but Ms. Janki is postulating the theory of toxic politics created by leaders, which fertilizes the spread of racist sentiments in people.
The traditional approach in the perspectives on Guyanese politics is that the nation is historically divided along ethnic lines and politicians achieve success by feeding on this sarcoma, which is always available to them. Ms. Janki is holding the opposite position. She posits that Guyanese politicians induce toxic politics in the society and this is what generates racial animosities in the citizenry.
In my writings the past few months, I have moved in the direction of Ms. Janki by providing evidence to support her claim. I have used the degeneration of two highly respected multi-racial parties – the WPA and AFC – to advance the concept that politicians’ lust for power and their decayed politics induce ethnic resentment among Guyanese.
I have polemicized on the failure of the WPA and AFC to use their vast multi-racial roots to build a new political culture of racial harmony. Instead, I have shown where politicians in the WPA and AFC abandoned their multi-racial constituencies, embraced traditional politics of power intoxication; thereby driving despair and pessimism into the society, thus pushing Guyanese back into their cocoon of ethnic insecurity.
Today I offer more evidence of my theory, which supports the direction of Ms. Janki’s. David Patterson accused Minister Edghill of racial targeting. As I wrote above, Patterson’s explanation on the surface appears comical but there is a deadly racial serpent lurking beneath the surface. Patterson fumes at Edghill’s citation of the bed that was bought for him as a gift. He exclaimed that it is racist because Edghill is in fact saying that as a Blackman he couldn’t buy a bed for himself. He went on to say that the accusations of Edghill constitute racial stereotyping.
This is the toxic politics Ms. Janki referred to. Where is the racial profiling? If a minister receives items such as bed sheets, etc. that violate the laws of integrity and his detractors cite the evidence, where is the racial profiling when the evidence is there? Patterson could have cited a number of determinants – vendetta, political malice, character assassination, etc. but he settled on the racist thing.
He received jewellery? What that has to do with racial motives? He received electronic stuff. Where is the connection between collecting such stuff and condemnation by his political opponents of his inappropriate conduct?
What Patterson has done is to introduce a dastardly stratagem of insulating African Guyanese politicians from exposure of corruptibility. If you point to corrupt practices involving any item on earth, then you are saying Black people can’t buy these things so they have to receive them as gifts. Apart from the asinine nature of such a defence, it is also dangerous peddling of a racial vocabulary. But there is also an evil dimension that needs to be exposed thus the urgent need for the intervention of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).
The person, who referred to the bed material as a gift is African (Minister Edghill) and is accused of racially stereotyping Black people. Patterson then in actuality is saying that no non-African person can condemn him for corruptibility because once that is done they have racist motives. The analysis is simple and it is also my belief that Patterson has embarked on a sick journey of spreading racial threads in Guyana. That is his motive. The ERC should study his emanations and charge him.
The scenario needs repeating for emphasis. Minister Edghill produced documents showing that public agencies under the aegis of Patterson’s ministry bought gifts for him that totalled millions of dollars. In decrying Patterson’s conduct as a minister, where is the racial determinants in Edghill’s confrontation? There is no reference to items Patterson received that is connected to African culture, African people and the continent of Africa. I am nonplussed that a minister improperly received bed sets as a gift and when the media and his political opponents describe such conduct either as scandalous or corrupt, the minister claims it is manifestations of a racist mind. I end this column with this question: Is an Indian Guyanese condemning Patterson for his inappropriate gifts using racism against him?
(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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