Latest update June 1st, 2023 12:59 AM
Aug 01, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News- Blessed Emancipation Day to all Guyanese, most of all Guyanese of an African heritage. Many in this land blessed with so many riches are crying for the emancipation that has been yearned for, and for so long. The time is now, and there are the cries for a new kind of freedom, which too many feel and sense and know do not touch them. It is that longing for equity and economic justice in this country that should come from our new oil riches. It is their riches too, this wealth in billions of American dollars of which scraps and droplets, if even those, reach their grasping hands, hearts and hands chained and weighed down by the reality of local circumstances, as they become more obvious with each passing day.
The Guyanese at the bottom of the ladder watch, hear, and read about this huge, sweet new oil pie, yet they have nothing to show for all their interest, all their hopes, all their pleadings. Will somebody, some leader, some presence with a soul in this country, hear them and heed their cry of freedom from the tyranny of the inequities and injustices that have become the norm in today’s Guyana. The poor and hurting and struggling in this society watch as those close to the PPP Government and its leaders grow richer and fatter, infinitely more prospering, while they, the salt of the earth people, fall farther and farther behind.
This is not an oil democracy where equality of opportunity, equality of participation, equality of benefits, has come down to those who this oil has left behind. Instead, this oil has become another tool for their exploitation, their intensifying hunger and fears, growing anger. It is a product of the mounting frustrations of those who have not been given a stake in their destiny, who have been dismissed or ignored, other than when social crises flare. It was Martin Luther King, who wrote in his book titled, Where Do We Go From Here that “the contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity.” It was the unjust state prevalent in the United States of which he spoke so eloquently, compellingly. But he could just as well have been talking about and pointing a finger at today’s Guyana. He went to insist that “if democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity.”
Inequity is what the masses at the long dark end of the economic shadows live with, and this is the brand of slavery that fosters fevered resentments and which, if not addressed comprehensively and timely, have a history of uncorking the bottled tensions with the worst results. The wealth that comes from our oil has the potential to release those shackled in economic bondage at the bottom of the barrel. It must not be unsheathed and wielded as a weapon to deliver continuing death blows on the heads of those already hurting from the brutalities of not having enough, the tortures of not knowing what to do, where to turn. The irony is that our flows of oil money have been to prosper the new Guyanese political masters, and enrich their inner circle, while ordinary Guyanese are left on the outside of the riches to which equal rights and equal shares are due.
These are some of the sentiments that stir and brim in the breast of many Guyanese. They see the oil and know that there are those who are benefiting from its presence. They know also that they are not among those who count in the schemes of consideration. This is what is quietly agitated against today; quietly today, but with increasing impatience. This oil means freedom for all, so they ought not to be contented to be among those hands that are empty, and whose futures are bleak, lacking in promise. Emancipation Day is here, and this oil wealth should add a new layer and texture to the economic freedom craved. It is now that time, and it must be, come what may.
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