Kaieteur News – There are times when you have uncontrollable rage as a parent when your country’s autocratic system is supported by people whose families are well embedded in stable, democratic territories enjoying futuristic lives.
In my 32 years of doing commentary in both the print media and for a period on television, there are certain social themes that I have dwelled on. If you are a frequent reader of my column, then you would know I support the employment of Guyanese in important positions over diaspora folks. My argument has been one-dimensional and I have stuck with it.
The essential point, the only point I have made, is that diaspora people cannot enjoy the best of both worlds when locals did not have the opportunities they had; thus, they will always be more qualified and will always be in excessively advantageous positions against locals. That for me is unacceptable.
I will not dwell on this further in this column but a formidable fact needs to be mentioned in a pyrotechnical way. As an academic that worked for 26 consecutive years at UG, I, and several dozens of colleagues, have never been able to secure even modest funding for research projects and publications because, truthfully, UG didn’t have funds (and still does not) for basic functions much less research money.
While we were starved for funds, our fellow graduates who chose not to come back home were churning out publications funded by super-rich universities and wealthy foundations. And they are so barefaced in extolling the money, which they get that in each publication, they would state which institution funded the research. Professor Ivelaw Griffith, who headed UG during the APNU+AFC regime, is back in the US and I challenge him to tell me if he is not in receipt of research grants.
What has this long digression got to do with the headline of this column? Bear up with me as I come to that. I did a daily article on the election rigging and in several of them, I described my encounters with fearful young people who didn’t have a passport much less a visa to go out of Guyana. I will never forget that cashier who kept asking me if she should go to work tomorrow because she lives up the East Coast and she is afraid of election violence.
I will never forget the lonely, deserted car park at Giftland Mall last April. Many drivers coming out of Demerara Estates at the back of Giftland would stop as they see me walking my dog. All expressed fear that Guyana is going down. The fear was logical because they live in Guyana.
Henry Jeffrey’s daughter and my girl went to the same high school. One evening at Julian’s Restaurant at Church and First Streets, Alberttown, I asked him how the girl was. He said she was learning to ride horses where she lives in the UK. During the election rigging, my daughter was in Guyana living with her parents. She still does.
So finally the headline of this column. There is no other date in the calendar where the ubiquity of crowds is so pronounced as on Easter Monday. On the occasions of Phagwah and Mashramani, Guyana’s 10 Regions are filled with unlimited numbers but Easter Monday’s crowds are thicker and larger and more ubiquitous.
I could not go into the National Park today with my black beauty to walk her because it is closed. Thousands would have poured in. They closed it because of Covid-19 restrictions. People will enjoy themselves immensely today because their country is free and stable. Now use your imagination and describe Guyana if we were a nation that did not have periodic legal elections and one party had total and complete domination over the political economy of this land.
During the election rigging, “Kit” Nascimento told me a businessman was strongly advising Granger not to concede because the election was rigged. This was a wealthy businessman. When Nascimento told me that over the phone, I thought of the children who had to live in Guyana and endure dictatorial rule.
Make no mistake, the violence directed against East Indians over the murder of the two cousins in Cotton Tree, Berbice in September 2020 was linked to the loss of power by the PNC and AFC. One wonders what kind of heart those who advised Granger to remain in power have when they see how Indians were attacked, robbed and beaten in Region Five. It is heartless to create dictatorship in your country while your family enjoys peaceful existence in rich, developed states. “Oh judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beast. And men have lost their reason” (Shakespeare).
(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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