By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – The PPP Government and leadership can either be congratulated or condemned for its relentless commitment, its premediated visions, to target African Guyanese communities, interests, ways of life, and then systemically erode all three. The latest involves cooperatives and idle lands (Demerara Waves, January 23), as presented by the Hon. Minister of Labour. On the one hand, I go out of my way to congratulate the PPP brain trust for coming up with yet another perverse scheme that indicates the energies that are devoted to delivering the vindictive, vengeful, and vicious thrusted again at the breast of African Guyanese. On the other, there can only be the harshest denunciations, the sharpest curses, at the latest expression focused on coops and lands left idle, which does nothing but strip a people, layer by layer, of their dignity, their presence, and a respectful belonging. From my perspective, the message from the PPP to the African Guyanese community is simple as it is telling: deal with us on our terms, step over to our side, or this is what is going to happen, with more planned, and more to take shape in their implementations.
It takes a considerable amount of twisted thinking, a doggedly calculating mentality, to drum up, then come out, with such an objective now laid at the feet of a besieged segment of Guyana’s population. Amid all the breathtaking things, it is enlightening about what burns in the soul of the PPP, when it unveils this development involving cooperatives and idle lands. However looked at, from whatever angle or elevation, the conclusion is immovable: there is a sinister and ominous vision harboured that has as its sole destination, the reduction of the African Guyanese community to that of chattels and dependents, subject to the ruthless dictates of a PPP Government that keeps venturing into territory best slowly and patiently cultivated, rather than consumed by the official unsheathed sword. I recall that there were some people, and a government over in Europe just under a century ago, that this PPP Government now eerily resembles when things like these surfaces. I invite Guyanese to do the comparisons, see how close they come in the parallels that targeted jobs, strongholds, and culture, until there was nothing left, as all were decimated to the bone and the bitterness of ashes that linger to this day. Those who are keen students of history know that that can be taken literally.
As is the norm, the PPP has a cover story, and it has the usual ring; at least, on the surface, and within limited confines. According to Demerara Waves, the Labour Minister said, “those that want to work for development, we will work with them but what we will not continue to have happen-people utilising the farcical umbrella of coop societies when they have government land in their possession and I have no apology to make. The action, as I have said, is either they resolve these matters or they will be dissolved.”
“Work for development”, it is. Who defines that, using what clear, consistent standard? Regarding “the farcical umbrella of coop societies”, there are those, but my interpretation is that that could be a smokescreen for what usually turns out to be the camouflage and subterfuge for draining away pockets of African Guyanese presence to the advantage of the PPP Government, through clever visions and objectives harboured. The matter of IDPADA-G and the unilateral cessation of the bulk of its funds came about under a similar nebulous development. It was about use of funds, fraud alleged, audit reports ignored and discarded, and an African Guyanese group left hanging by a fingernail, and with every intention that it is gutted and left swinging in the wind. City Hall accused of mismanagement and corruptions, only for more corruptions to be added through Central Government intrusions and manipulations; the capital city and Region 4 (with its kind of people) now existing as occupied territories. It is why I connect this parallel of “farcical umbrella of coop societies” to the precedent of IDPADA-G and City Hall, the conditions to which they have been reduced, and all that has followed since. I discern a continuum of crises manufactured, then smartly exploited.
It would have encouraged for the Hon. Minister to speak of ideas to support the coop sector in the same manner done in the interior involving corn and soya; inspiring to hear plans in his ministry to address the humiliations of Guyanese oil workers, through monies for dozens of Labor Inspectors and occupational safety must haves. Instead, the Minister was steely in his resolve, in the contemptuously dismissive nature of the PPP Government, this of the ‘One Guyana’ declarations, “I have no apology to make.” His President must be proudly cheering on the sidelines since it is a song straight out of his own songbook.
I am thinking of Mocha, IDPADA-G, City Hall, and now coops and idle lands (all involving primarily African Guyanese welfare), and there are some alarming questions that reasonably follow in the wash of those. What next is contemplated by the PPP Government with African Guyanese interests in mind to be undermined? Who and where, and under what tent, would another plank in the way of life of African Guyanese be selected and then first weakened, then extinguished? There is a certain compelling, inarguable logic to these questions, as bolstered by the progression (or deterioration) of events in the last two plus years. And though particularly so in the now widening harrowing experiences of African Guyanese, it doesn’t stop there.
At least, not for anyone with a conscience, with a mind unfettered by tribal distortions, with what is constructive and progressive for this country. Instead of ultimatums like resolve or be dissolved, I urge partnering for enhancing. Rather than dismantle and decimate, I exhort building up and the believing that comes from such action. That could lead to the elusive ‘One Guyana’ said to be envisioned.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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