May 14, 2022 Letters
I run the risk of being considered tedious or repetitive; however, because so much is at stake and the prospect of this and succeeding generations not obtaining optimum benefit from our God-given natural resources, these efforts are worthwhile.
The German, Joseph Goebbels and the American Senator, Joseph McCarthy utilized the repeating of an issue until it gained currency and in some cases, acceptance. Last week, we were entertained through verbal exchange between the Leader of the Opposition and the de facto Leader of the PPP government. The subject seemed to be the March 2020 General Elections.
For me, and I believe the majority, Elections are done and gone, and I remain disappointed that our current crop of leaders seem unable to understand that from the onset the March 2020 Election was bound to be controversial, because we went into Election Day with a bloated list and therefore controversial conditions. Stanley Ming presented figures to show the absurdity of an Election list inconsistent with our population, so Guyana in March 2020 had 660,000 odd voters and census figures pegged our total population at 750,000 odd, in a country where people between 0 and 18 constitute a near majority. The absurdity of this is palpable.
The biggest joke in Guyana is that our political leaders, all of them seem to think that the Courts can solve what are essentially political issues, and so in spite of a bloated list, the Courts suspended House to House registration. The maximum number of eligible voters could not be more than 460,000 .This is the sorry and sad situation of March 2020 National Elections in Guyana. The energies of our leaders should now be directed by extracting from those who are harvesting our natural resources, much, much more than what we are now getting. Looming on the horizon is the prospect that Guyanese can be gobbled up by the same attitude that enslaved us and exploited us for centuries.
Additionally, the Opposition, Civil Society and Stakeholders should demand full details of this multi-billion dollar gas to shore project which seems to be the brainchild of a few and to date, we have not had any meaningful consultation and details necessary in a society, where stupidity, arrogance and corruption seem to be the order of the day. Our leaders must together correct the lopsided agreements signed before and after 2015. These among others are the things we are interested in. Suriname gets 6% of profits; Guyana gets 2%. Here, let us not blame nor curse the conglomerates. It is our leaders who were elected to fight for Guyana, and I remember this sentence from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”
Speaking with a government top brass last week, he contended that the reason for the government not engaging the Opposition in constructive dialogue is that we are still referring to them as an installed administration. I pointed out to him that while Joseph Harmon was the Leader of the Opposition, I raised this question with him, pointing out that to refer to the government as an installed one is unproductive.
He agreed with my argument and to the best of my knowledge, this rhetoric ended and therefore removed this puerile excuse given by the Government. I pointed out to him that in any case a serious Government could not shout from the hilltop about One Guyana and use this story about an installed Government as he put it, as an irritant.
This kind of reaction can only be accepted by infants and the immature. Being touchy is not for Presidents and Politicians. It should be left for the four and five year old unaware of the complexities and responsibilities of good governance and the real world in which we live.
Last year, I appealed to the Leaders of our main political entities, to set aside their differences and come together to deal with particularly, the oil giants who have from Africa, Asia, Latin America raped countries because their leaders could not unite and speak with one voice and most of all were either stupid, venal or corrupt.
I reminded them of the old adage, “United we stand, divided we fall.” The only positive response to this initiative has been from the new Leader of the PNC and now the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton.
What we wish to hear now is what a caring government is doing to bring relief to Guyanese everywhere.
Unlike previous administrations, the money is available. Last week, the Natural Resources Fund transferred forty-one billion dollars to the Treasury. How is this massive sum to be spent? We have not been told as yet. The ordinary people burdened by rising food prices and the cost of daily living wish to share meaningfully in this mighty bounty.
This is what I believe, the majority of Guyanese would have liked to have debated and settled. These massive sums of money belong to all the people and not to be disposed of by the whims and fancies of our emerging oligarchy. Speaking for myself, this is what our Leaders should concern themselves with at this stage of our history. Corrupt administrations throughout modern history do not mind people speaking up. I have a relative, when the siblings were discussing the rousing talking of their father, the younger one said, Do you hear ‘Daddy’ speaking? I hear but no longer listen.
When George III ignored the taxes placed on the American colonies, the ancestors of today’s great America brought the British King to his senses by acting in what we know today as the popular “Boston Tea Party,” in 1773.
Today, we see Sri Lankans in the face of what they considered a stubborn President and Cabinet. The people took to the streets in Colombo and the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not only hearing but forced to listen to their concerns and has been making efforts to placate the people. We heard statements from this government, Freedom of the Press, as they celebrated Press Freedom Day last week.
The time has come for us to listen and digest the excellent editorials found in Stabroek News, Kaieteur News, the writers of GHK Lall, the robust patriotic crusade by Glenn Lall, the writers, Dr. Vincent Adams, Janet Bulkan, Elizabeth Hughes, Christopher Ram, Kiana Wilburg, Simone Mangal-Joly, Abraham David among many others. This should stimulate our young people in particular to come out of their comfort zone.
The media’s role is to inform and educate, the rest of us as leaders must be able to agitate so that we can liberate and bring peace and prosperity to Guyana. Far too many of us are either afraid or reluctant to get in the frontline. Our young people of every race, colour and creed must be reminded that unless there was agitation earlier, even Independence could not have been won. Mr. Editor, let us ponder the words of two great Americans, one white, one black. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, observed that “To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” Later, we were also reminded of what Martin Luther King, Jr. observed: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
He also reminded us that “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” In the face of what appears to be a surrender, by many of our leaders, there are whisperings of pessimism. We must not betray our noble ancestors whose bones at the bottom of the Atlantic still rattle and plead with us to be brave and seek justice. Those who came as indentured labourers and toiled expect us to vindicate their sufferings, and I remain wedded to the truth of this well known maxim “ Vox populi, vox Dei – The voice of the people is the voice of God.” Let our voices be heard and when necessary, let us march to confront the haughty enemy. On May Day, we sang these lines from the International – “ Arise ye workers from your slumber. On tyrants only we’ll make war.”
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