Sep 15, 2021 Letters
A strange and worrisome situation experienced in much of human history is where citizens elect or identify leaders by a variety of means – men and women who will determine their destiny. Leaders styled Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers who they assume are intelligent, meaning that these leaders are capable of setting aside personal interest for the general good of the nation state.
In Guyana, we have been suffocating during and after Emancipation, before and after Independence because successive Governments used praises and clichés without having the intellectual strength to make a reality of these ideas. Earlier generations have suffered from the ravishes of ApanJaat. Alien forms of Communism, Socialism, Leninism, Marxism, etc. We have had the manipulation of elections – “awe pun top,” – “operation, fight back,” political parties with less than fifty percent support conducted the business of the State, as though they represent one hundred percent of the people. Political parties trumpeting “Cheated but not defeated,” and “Stay away from Parliament.”
At one time, there was a glimmer of hope when the nation learnt of critical support (PNC/PPP agreement) in an effort to disengage ourselves from the oil-grip of the fearful domination and economic pressure from the mighty conglomerates. An earlier generation was hopeful when all of our political leaders embraced the idea of non-Alignment, so all Guyanese could benefit from the bounty of massive natural resources bestowed on our 83,000 square miles by the Creator. Hopeful that generations of Guyanese, the descendants of slaves and indentured immigrants could maximise a country blessed with no serious natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods.
Editor, hoping and praying that our young people everywhere will rise up and realise the aspirations of our ancestors and their own dreams to be prosperous and peaceful Guyana. They must tell our leaders on both sides of the political divide that they have no patience, no stomach for them behaving like spoilt brats.
First, to use the phrase of a revered elder back in 1953, “this confounded nonsense must stop,” of not engaging the Opposition, because they allegedly have not gone on bended knees to say that they now recognise them as being the Government. In life, a story has two or more sides. In a country, you must have a government, whether elected by ballots or bullets, coups or uprisings; whether elected by fair or foul means, whether you like it or not. I recall the well-known Statement “Treason never prospers. For when it does, who dare call it treason?”
On the other hand, this Government, whether installed or else, is the Government – you must have a government. All parliamentarians are being paid, the Office of the Opposition is being funded by the Government, and debates take place in the House, and government, as I said earlier, must stop behaving like immature, insensitive people. Additionally, there is no constitutional or legal validity for the Government’s refusal to consult the Opposition. This confounded nonsense must stop. Our young people everywhere must analyse and recognise that, unless they understand, they are all sinking in a swirling sea of stupidity they will not inherit the bounty of the Creator, I referred to earlier.
Today, the ugly spectre of racial discrimination is on the horizon. Today, evidence of us being recolonised is there for all to see. The above is ominous and frightening, coupled with oil and COVID-19. Our youth need to be involved in helping to salvage the situation and set the ship-of-state on an even keel. Oil threatening the economic lifeblood of Guyana and COVID-19 the health lifeblood of our nation state. Enough has been said in the case of oil and gas. Some editorials have done us great service by referring to our many steps of stupidity in our dealing with oil and gas. On COVID-19, the ministry responsible must step forward and openly engage those groups and persons who are vaccine hesitant.
Today, I learnt there were seven deaths of persons, who did not take the vaccine. To the vaccine hesitant community, I say science is not in your corner and there are many soothsayers beating war-drums. COVID-19 is real. I have friends who have succumbed. I say to my friends, respect your rights, but concomitantly, you must also respect your responsibilities, in a matter that is a global intensity and has already consumed many lives.
Every story has two or more sides. Let us talk in a civilised manner. Last Thursday, the family of a well-known businessman and personal friend of mine called to seek my advice, after noting that the conditions at the Liliendaal COVID-19 facility were horrible, and asked my views as to what they should do. I am told that the nurses and medical personnel are now suffering from what is called “Burn Out.” Guyanese cannot afford a health calamity.
I ask my friends not to curse me but, sometimes, they need to take measures in defiance of Governments mishandling of the situation, so that we can live to fight another day. Let us be brave. Let us be true to credible scientific evidence. In this situation, it is unacceptable that the Government should display signs of arrogance and feel that they can disregard the feelings and opinions of sections of our society. It is a government that must be magnanimous; it is a government that should be gracious. To those in the anti-vax line up, I say this: there are several fundamental and serious issues that we should link arms to protest. Issues that should prevent the marginalisation of sections of our society, issues that are widening the gap between the haves and the haves-not.
Last week, I spoke to a young father who came out from prison, and I was trying to guide him to a good life and preach to him about the value of good morals. After listening, he said “Uncle Hammy, the only thing I can do now, is steal and work drugs. If this Government is really interested in the ‘One Guyana,’ they must divest themselves of this ideology and philosophy, which determines that Burnham never did anything that is good and proper, and spend some of that oil revenue to re-introduce National Service.
Thank God, we still have a few men who made National Service a useful institution to save many lives and are still available, if requested. A good Government cannot by dictum curse people. I conclude with the words of a song written by Billy Pilgrim, “Let us co-operate for Guyana.”
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