Kaieteur News – Amanza Walton-Desir (AWD) is a PNC parliamentarian. Norman Brown is a diaspora African rights activist who is a PNC member. Melinda Janki is a prominent lawyer. All three are well known Guyanese.
In a programme hosted by David Hinds with AWD and Khemraj Ramjattan as guests, the former polemicised that Africans and Indians in Guyana have contrasting psychologies. She pontificates on Indians’ lack of capacity to think for themselves so they willingly let the PPP do their thinking for them.
She described Indians as “a bunch of mentally lazy people.” Using the words, “in contrast,” she went on to elaborate that Africans here have a different mental structure in the sense that they are an inquisitive people who question things and have a greater appreciation for democratic standards.
The analysis of AWD’s output is simple – African supporters of the PNC are a more thinking people in terms of what is in their interests than Indians who vote for the PPP. When one juxtaposes AWD’s polemic against the theory of Janki and the politics of the PNC by Brown, then AWD’s paradigm falls.
Janki contends that there is no deep-seated racial malice directed by ethnic communities against each other but it is the toxic (her word) politics of our politicians that induces race hate in Guyanese. I quote from my column, “The nation of Guyana and its internal enemies,” of December 28, 2020, on Janki’s angle; “Ms. Janki is essentially saying that the race dilemma is not as extensive and nightmarish as it is made out to be. It is the power mentality of politicians that tragically (my adverb) abuse, exploit and manipulate (my words) our little ethnic crevice for their own depraved (my word again) craving for power.”
If politicians across the racial divide are successful in keeping alive the instinct of racial strife in their respective supporter, then, the argument could be advanced that both Indians and Africans do not think for themselves. If an ethnic party sermonises its membership and voters with tribalist music and it continues along generations then where is the capacity of the community to think for itself?
What more relevant example to cite than Volda Lawrence addressing a youth meeting and admitted to her listeners that she would only employ PNC people. That manifestation strengthens Janki’s contention while laying bare the inanity of AWD’s contention.
Enter Norman Brown. Here is what he wrote this week in the newspapers, “I consider myself first and foremost a voice crying for African Guyanese to get their just dues, socially, politically and economically in Guyana. I cannot lie to a people I truly love. I cannot be a part of giving them false hope that they may be distracted from what really must be done. I wish to advise that our energies should be dedicated to doing the right and sensible thing …instead of once again giving our supporters false hope. We must be truthful with our supporters. We have done them a disservice while in power and we are slighting them while in opposition I cannot blame many of our supporters for going along with this time wasting circus because they believe and trust their leadership and so it must be but that trust and support must not be taken for granted…”
In the adumbration above, does one detect a sense of African Guyanese coming under the mesmerising influence of their African leaders the way AWD paints Indians as being willing to let the PPP dictate for them? Brown of course has entered the discourse from a position of moral and academic credibility that makes the stance of AWD looks poor. First, he is saying he is an unapologetic African rights campaigner. Secondly, he acknowledges he supports the PNC. Thirdly, he says his party has to stop manipulating African Guyanese.
Here is where AWD comes across as a crass propagandist for two graphically fundamental reasons. She does not apologise for her own party’s failure in deceiving African Guyanese. Secondly, she refuses to acknowledge the psychological faults of African Guyanese in offering supine embrace to the PNC which is her take on how Indians relate to the PPP.
Having cited Janki and Brown, one is left to ask Ramjattan two questions since he heaps fantastic praise of the thesis of AWD. Can he reconcile the theory of AWD with the perspectives of Janki and Brown? Secondly, in 2006, 2011 and 2015 when GECOM data showed that AFC picked up Indian votes, were Indians then mentally lazy? Of course if they were, Guyana would never have head of a politician named Khemraj Ramjattan who later became a minister, and who later went into self-destructive overdrive.
(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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