Kaieteur News – If you ask my wife to name her role model, I’m telling you that within the split of a second, she will say Joyce Sinclair. If I were asked to name a Black woman anywhere in the world that I admire and respect and would gladly do anything for, it would be Joyce Sinclair. Ms. Sinclair died last year.
There are fine, excellent African Guyanese in this country and this working-class Indian boy will shout that from the rooftop. I hope African Guyanese have Indian role models. This country has birthed some excellent Indians, Africans and Portuguese.
I can only speak for myself. Some of my role models outside of my Indian heroes are from the African Guyanese world and are the late Walter Rodney, the late Professor Rudy James and the late WPA great, Brian Rodway. For Portuguese, I adored and adore are the late Father Andrew Morrison, the late CEO of the Georgetown Club, Fred Philips, and my history professor who is getting on in age, Sister Mary Noel Menezes.
I can name two Blacks I know who are role models in Guyana – Courtney Benn and a Buxton-based bakery-owner, Adrian Benjamin. This gentleman is a refined, cultivated citizen who started to work as a helper in a bakery and today he makes the finest cakes, pastries, and bread comparable to others anywhere in the world.
I think Minister Charles Ramson made a mistake. I am giving Ramson advice that comes from the heart. Make an apology with an explanation if he cares to and move on from there. In this country, a mistake is regarded as an act of self-destruction. One of Elton John’s biggest hits is “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.”
In this country, people avoid the word “apology” like the plague. To apologise shows the strength of character. It should be offered willingly. Amanza Walton Desir (AWD) has destroyed her political career by refusing to apologise. She was absolutely contemptuous of Indian people and sought refuge under the rubric of “PPP supporters.” Everyone knew she meant Indian people. No judge can tell a jury that AWD meant PPP supporters not Indians. She didn’t say Indians but she meant that. Ninety-five percent of PPP supporters are Indians. Ronald Waddell in 1997 declared war on Indian people because he said they voted for the PPP.
Ramson should avoid the bad advice AWD got. Her PNC and the PNC surrogates rallied around her, with the advice, “tell your critics and the PPP to eff off; stand by your belief.” But her belief was a phantasmagoria. Indian people voted against the PPP in 2011 and 2015.
A simple apology would have changed the image of AWD but for her, like the rest of Guyana, to make an apology is an impossible thing to do. For all the terrible things done to me, no one from the PPP establishment has ever said to me, “Freddie, we are sorry” or “Freddie, I apologise.” The closest was Harry Gill in an email to me but he stopped short of saying he apologised for what has been done.
I do believe African Guyanese have role models from whom African youths can shape their lives. In my 26 years of teaching at UG, I have met countless Black youths who told me who inspired them to study law. I do believe there are sound African entrepreneurs in this country.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Ramson and AWD, maybe in a moment of political passion, said things that could carry ethnic implications. Mr. Ramson has an opportunity that AWD threw away – the chance to explain and apologise. I think Ramson got it out of context when he said he saw his father going out to work each day to provide for his family. He is right to see his father as a role model. But countless fathers all over the world go out to work every day regardless of which race group they belong to.
There is a certain pathway Mr. Ramson should be wary of. People will come up to him and say, “eff the PNC, don’t apologise.” But those people do not have a political career. Those people are confusing an entire ethnic community with a political party.
Here is something Ramson would not know because he was too young at the time. President Jagan innocently but correctly, said that on the economic ladder of the US economy, Blacks are on the lower rung. The PNC leaders and other Black leaders denounced Dr. Jagan. Now that was not a psychological analysis but a statistical point. But President Jagan still made a public apology. Sorry doesn’t have to be the hardest word.
(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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