Kaieteur News- Every longstanding print or television commentator would have themes that they revisit from time to time. One of my recurring decimals is the hypocrisy of civil society groupings in Guyana. The word ‘hypocrisy” is light and misleading. These entities are essentially flawed and cannot even in small ways bring about attitudinal changes in this country.
There are times the analyst is overflowing with ire when you see the exposure of civil society’s bankruptcy. It is inexplicable. Only Guyana produces this dystopian psychology. Name me a country where the leading LGBT organization never voiced concern about any form of human rights violation but found time to denounce a visit by the American Secretary of State over concern about the status of the Caribbean being a zone of peace.
To think that the livelihood of 28,000 families connected to the sugar industry was jeopardized by the government. To think hundreds of young men are thrown in jail for a sniff of marijuana. To think that single parent vendors are harassed each day. To think that judges treat the lives of murdered victims contemptuously. And all the LGBT people can think about is a visit by the American Secretary of state. What a bunch of fools!
It was the same mental miasma with the women groups. They showed obsession with the visit by the Secretary of State but their silence was sickening when a 16-year-old girl and her grandmother were attacked and mercilessly robbed by marauding gangs of PNC supporters after David Granger and Joe Harmon went to Region Five and threw gasoline on fire.
The same corrugated mentality pervades so many civil society groups. Transparency International- Guyana Chapter and the Guyana Human Rights Association either were in hibernation, in the psychiatric ward or were in Timbuktu when the March 2020 election descended into five months of rigging. During that time, journalists were being attacked in the streets by PNC and AFC supporters, and the Guyana Press Association told the nation the violence was committed by supporters of all political parties. A simple untruth that would have destroyed that group in any civilized society.
I read analytical pieces in the Guyana newspapers on different occasions by Dr. Allisa Trotz, Dr. Arif Bulkan and Dr. Omar McDoom bemoaning the relentless ethnic encouragement by the PNC and PPP and attributing Guyana’s perennial sociological instabilities to these parties. Not one word, muchless one line, was devoted to the five years of state power by the AFC and WPA whose leadership proved to be far more immoral than anything this country has seen from the PNC and PPP.
David DeCaires must have turned in his grave when he saw what the Stabroek News was carrying during the five months of election rigging. Columnists were using their space to insult international observers, defend rigging and preach race hate. In such a threatening period of destruction in any country, one would have liked to think that a newspaper would have upheld its core values. Its leading light, Mr. Ian McDonald failed to act.
We come now to the ERC. Why the fuss now about its horror show? In its edition of March 19, 2019, the Kaieteur News quoted from an ERC statement that it summoned the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers, and Human Resources Officer, Crawford, to answer questions in the enquiry of racial discrimination brought by Mr. Vishu Persaud, but they failed to appear. The ERC is a judicial body that could have forced both women to testify. From thereon, the ERC should have been disbanded.
During the five months of election rigging, ERC Commissioner, Barrington Braithwaite, offered some repugnant, disdainful and libellous descriptions of some prominent citizens. The list includes Charrandass Persaud (see my columns; “Saturday, March 30, 2019, “Eureka! Eureka! I know Charran was bribed!” and Friday, July 26, 2019,” Some questions about who is taking bribes.”). Can you imagine the level that Braithwaite stooped to? He accused Charran of taking bribes and in fact said it was because of his gambling habits. The Chronicle actually printed that. This same Braithwaite still does a column in the Chronicle.
Major-General Joe Singh came in for some serious insults by Braithwaite (see my column of Thursday, February 11, 2021, “Barrington Braithwaite’s attack on Major General, Joe Singh). Braithwaite did not spare Claudette Singh either. But frankly, I didn’t care what he wrote about Singh and still don’t care about Singh. While Braithwaite was on a rampage, the chairman of the ERC didn’t react. When Granger and Harmon incited people, the ERC chairman didn’t react. This is civil society in Guyana. Something is deadly sickening about this country.
(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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