Sep 21, 2021 Letters
People worldwide are feeling conflicted, stuck somewhere between their fear of COVID-19 and the vaccines, especially the gene-based vaccines. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of fake news and propaganda circulating. In such circumstances, 90 percent of the dissenting ideas may be classified as nonsense and largely unfounded, however, mixed in with these ideas is the 10 percent of information that can and should be taken seriously. Highly qualified and world-renowned immunologists, virologists and other medical scientists and practitioners have raised serious and sensible issues and questions about the way COVID-19 is being treated, or not being treated, and about the possible and unknown long-term effects of the vaccines. Adding to people’s mistrust and hesitancy, is the obvious and unprecedented way in which the US State Department is openly working in partnership with social media giants, in an effort to censor all forms of dissent, especially with regard to COVID-19 and the vaccines.
In addition to causing devastation on all fronts, the COVID pandemic has exposed the fault lines and deeply flawed nature of the dominant global political and economic system and the ideology that underpins it. It has become evident that large numbers of people worldwide no longer trust their governments, and certainly have no trust in the large, profit-driven pharmaceutical corporations, referred to as Big Pharma. COVID-19 is yet another sign of the impending collapse of an Empire and the Western way of life. It is a manifestation of everything that is wrong with Western civilisation (if you can even call it a civilisation) and the world it has created. It is a world of despair and destruction, characterised by a military industrial complex with its focus on endless wars, driven to develop ever more grotesque weapons of mass destruction, including biological weapons, while millions live in abject poverty; an irrational capitalist system which commodifies everything, even healthcare, a scientific and medical model, which is reductionist and linear rather than holistic, and which stifles innovation, hindering our ability to fortify our own extraordinary natural immune system and our ability to heal; and of course, the doctrine of white supremacy which has torn the world asunder. The humiliating defeat of the US Empire and its allies in Afghanistan is another sign of the Western world’s decline. There can be no doubt that the sun is finally settling on the US Empire. What we are witnessing is its final descent into the hell of its own making.
In Guyana and throughout the region we are now seeing with our own eyes the extreme climate change predicted as a result of the illogical and absurd Western concept of endless growth and the orgy of consumption it continues to promote. And yet, with these catastrophic events on our doorstep, most Guyanese remain stuck in a meaningless, tribal-based, garrison politics, where everything boils down to a cuss-out between the PPP and APNU+AFC. It is a soul-destroying politics that is preventing Guyana from confronting the life and death challenges we face. Climate scientists are claiming that even if all carbon emissions were to stop today, the melting of the Arctic ice and the Greenland ice sheets by 2060 cannot be stopped, and when they do melt there will be a seven meter (23ft) rise in sea levels. This means that all coastal cities, towns and villages will need to be evacuated.
Any truly patriotic political party/organisation in Guyana, having the welfare of the people and the survival of our country at heart, knows that we must find a way to move beyond the garrison politics that prevent us from being able to meaningfully address the life and death issues facing us. Given the global reality we face, there can be no denying that the PPP and APNU+AFC’s continued commitment to neo-liberal capitalism and the plundering of our national patrimony at the hands of ExxonMobil and other foreign corporate-predators is nothing less than national suicide. We have to start to build a new way of life within the old one, so that when the old crumbles we are ready. In order to prepare for what is to come, including the more deadly variants and viruses, we need to establish a new, life-affirming political and economic arrangement, with different priorities. All Guyanese must be able to access excellent and life-giving nutrition, decent housing and universal quality healthcare for starters.
Unfortunately, like all things in Guyana, COVID-19 and the vaccine debate has become a political football. Even as we face a pandemic that is killing people of all political affiliations and ethnicities, our politics is preventing us from acting as one people and in the best interests of all people. This tit-for-tat, cuss-out politics can only lead us further down the path of destruction.
OVP rejects the idea of mandatory vaccinations. However, of this we are sure, had APNU+AFC been the government they would have been doing exactly like the PPP. I know that most senior leaders of APNU+AFC have been vaccinated. And yet under the guise of a so-called People’s Movement, members of APNU+AFC are urging a nationwide shutdown “to bring an end to PPP dictatorship and mandatory vaccinations”. The hypocrisy of these middle-class people who did nothing for the dispossessed masses when they were in government, is perhaps more frightening than the pandemic.
Guyanese need to wake up. We need to listen to the science. We need to disregard advice from those who have so clearly demonstrated that they do not have our best interests at heart. We need to stop being manipulated so that we can move forward to a new day, where we are no longer prepared to be used as pawns in a game that is not of our making and that has nothing to do with our welfare. What we need is to open a national dialogue on COVID-19, the vaccines, the science, the many effective measures that could have been put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Guyana, possible early intervention and treatments that have proved effective elsewhere, and the need for a more holistic approach to this pandemic and other variants and viruses coming our way. We must embrace our own alternative natural remedies, medicines and immune boosting formulas and make these things freely and readily available. We need to usher in a politics that is meaningful and transformational, that serves, rather than divides our people. These are serious times and there is worse to come.
Why is the Opposition calling for a shutdown of the country? Is it so that they can introduce a different political and economic arrangement that will provide a better life for all Guyanese? We know that is not the case, because we saw that when they were the government nothing changed. It was business as usual and life definitely did not improve for the masses of dispossessed and marginalised sections of our society. As always, they are using us, willing to mislead us, cause chaos, increase our hardship, and even risk our lives, to further their insatiable lust for power, which they use only to enrich themselves, families and friends. It is a disgrace. One of the biggest obstacles to the advancement and liberation of African-Guyanese is this black middle-class amongst us, referred to by Malcolm X as “house-negroes”, who pretend to serve our interests while selling us out every time.
The call for people to gather in large groups when COVID is rampant is irresponsible. They are urging the people to shut down the country, to what end? They are advising us to stock up on food. This is fine for the APNU+AFC elites, whose homes are already stocked to the hilt. It demonstrates just how out of touch they are with the majority of our people, who struggle to eat and feed their families on a daily basis. The majority of Guyanese people depend on their daily hustle to survive so it is difficult to see how we would survive a shutdown. Of course, they don’t give a damn about how or whether we survive – they proved that to us when they were in office. They have no credibility – they are morally and politically bankrupt – they are misleaders. In these devastating times, when so many are facing additional hardship, the best thing for these APNU+AFC mandarins, who grew fat during their time in office, would be to help us to stock our homes, distributing much needed food items to poverty stricken Guyanese communities, up and down the country. That’s if they cared about us – but they don’t. Just like when they were the government, they are giving us nothing but further demands and demagoguery. Rather than shutting down the country at this time, we need to shut down these hypocritical political elites that have manipulated us with their deceitful games and arrested our development for so long. It is time for a new national vision.
Gerald A. Perreira
Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP)
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