Latest update March 28th, 2023 12:59 AM
Feb 03, 2023 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News – For almost two decades after independence, the then PNC government resisted introducing foreign television because of the threat of cultural imperialism- the fear of importing foreign values and tastes incompatible with the developmental thrust of the country at that time.
The then PNC government feared that foreign television would encourage patterns of consumption and personal accumulation of wealth that would not be in keeping with the socialist drive.
But while television can transmit western values, including false values such as the superiority of that part of the world, there has always been a more invidious threat to which scant attention has been paid by the authorities. That threat is the attitude of some foreign investors, an attitude that is far more disturbing that the effects of foreign television.
Foreign investors bring more than just their money to Guyana. They also bring their attitudes, their ideas about what Guyanese are and what we deserve. For some, Guyana is a country of great potential but needs to be more open to their foreign dollars. Others take this view to another extremity.
They feel that without their dollars and enterprise, Guyana would go nowhere; that without foreign investors Guyana would remain a poor place. Still many others feel that the government needs to do more to attract foreign investors. Then there are those who come here and feel that they are superior to us. They come with an attitude that says that they are better and they look down upon Guyanese. They do not mix with our people. They fraternise only with their own and some of them even try to make their compatriots feel that Guyanese are bad people and they have to be careful. They warn them against mingling with locals; they poison their minds about Guyanese.
All of these point to a particular mindset that disrespects Guyanese. Persons of this mindset should not be welcome to Guyana. The authorities have to insist that all who come to these shores to do business or to work respect the culture of our people. If they do not, then regardless of how much money they have or how great are their investments in Guyana, they should not be allowed to operate in our country.
Guyana is not a backward country. Guyana is not an uncivilised place. It never was. Therefore those who come here must not just respect our laws but must respect our people. If they cannot do this, if they are found disrespecting the laws of Guyana, then they should be asked to leave along with their investments. It is simple as that. We cannot have persons coming to this country and behave as if they are better than us. They are free to believe they are but any attempt at manifesting this superiority smacks of discrimination and should not be tolerated.
We cannot have also persons coming to this country and seeking to poison the minds of their compatriots that Guyanese are bad people who should be kept at a distance. Such an attitude treats Guyanese with contempt and treats our country as a colonial-style plantation fit only for exploitation. We should not allow that. Fortunately, the vast majority of foreign investors do not exhibit such tendencies. The vast majority of foreigners show respect for our culture and our people. They have local friends, attend local cocktails and get along well with others. They should be welcomed and encouraged.
The danger however lies in those who have no respect for Guyanese, who see this country as their plantation and playground, a place whose only worth to them is judged by the money they make, the exploitation they invoke and the number of our women they can seduce. This small minority is contemptuous of our people and it is high time that the authorities pay keen attention to the actions of such persons. The authorities must make it clear to these persons that while in our country, they cannot behave as if we are a closed society. We are not. Guyana is a free country and while the policy of the government is to attract foreign investment, these foreign investors have to respect the culture of our people.
They cannot be allowed to do as they please. Their investment dollars does not give them that right. The most invidious forms of exploitation begin with a mindset that has contempt for our people and this is why the government needs to not wait until complaints arise before they act. They need to make it clear that no foreigner will be allowed to disrespect Guyanese. Not for all the money in the world.
(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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