Apr 01, 2023 Letters
Quo Vadis Guyana? The Apostle Peter is reported to have asked that question of Jesus Christ when he met him after he had risen from the dead following his crucifixion, when Peter himself was fleeing from crucifixion by the Roman government of the time. It is Latin, meaning, literally, “Whither goest thou?” I ask it today of Guyana.
I ask it with good reason because we must ask the question how one of the leaders, Tacuma Ogunseye, of a political party, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which was recently an active and vocal member of the past APNU+AFC government, can mount a public political platform at Buxton on which the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Aubrey Norton, sat, and propose that our security forces turn their guns against a duly elected government to support a mass uprising to overthrow the government, and be allowed to get away with it?
I ask the question because, while the majority of Guyanese, regardless of political affiliation or ethnic origin, reacted in shock and outright condemnation, Mr. Norton, for whom I have some respect and I have known since he entered politics as a young man, yet, can only say that Ogunseye “went a little too far”, seeking to justify Ogunseye’s statement as his right to free speech. Mr. Norton knows fully well that advocating sedition does not qualify for protection as free speech.
The WPA remains a faithful political ally of APNU+AFC, which is dominated and controlled by the People’s National Congress (PNC), hence Mr. Norton’s presence on the WPA platform. Mr. Norton knows fully well that Ogunseye went much, much too far, unforgivably too far.
I ask the question because the Chairperson of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Cathy Hughes, for whom I also have had considerable respect, could not find it in herself when asked to condemn the Ogunseye statement, preferring to sand dance around it. I ask the question because even though the WPA is today a political party bereft from popular political support, its leadership, prominently including Professor David Hinds, persist in pursuing an utterly obnoxious and dangerous race hate activism.
David Hinds sits comfortably at a desk in Arizona in the USA, where he is employed as “an Associate Professor of African and African American Studies” at the Arizona State University, spewing his race hate in Guyana on his online radio programme “Politics 101”. Hinds, for instance, condemns Guyanese Africans for travelling from Plaisance, Betterverwagting and Buxton to purchase black pudding from a Guyanese Indian in Mon Repos. Hinds, sitting in Arizona, preaches that Guyanese Africans boycott Indian businesses. But David Hinds doesn’t stop there. He calls the Guyanese Indians who are members of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and PNCR Parliamentarians “traitors” and “slave catchers” for condemning the hate speech of Ogunseye. Hinds then issues threats, “we are going to begin to document all the slave catchers from the private sector to FITUG, from FITUG to Stabroek News and all those other slave catchers who are hunting down slaves to turn them in to the master… we are documenting them… there is life after the PPP”.
Not satisfied, Hinds goes after the Stabroek News, accusing the newspaper of not covering the news from a WPA perspective and accusing the newspaper of kowtowing to the government. “We are going to remember it. We are buyers of newspapers and we are going to remember it. We want Stabroek News to know there is life after the PPP”. While David Hinds promotes race hate in Guyana, he dares not do so in the US. He dares not embrace the just cause of African Americans who once were, and, even today, are subject to discrimination from southern white Americans in the state where Hinds teaches. Hinds knows fully well that he would lose his job with the University.
But Hinds is not alone spewing race hate in Guyana from North America. He is joined by Rickford Burke who heads the so-called “Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy” based in New York where he lives, which published the rubbish on Burkes’ Facebook page that “the leadership of the GPF are slaves to racists in the PPP regime”, joining Ogunseye in seeking to undermine our country’s security, accusing “that the GPF is not a law enforcement agency but a political weapon which racists in the PPP regime use as mercenaries against African Guyanese – their political enemies” .
Nothing, however outlandish, however gross, however big the lie, is beyond these men to promote division and destruction in our country. These are not stupid men. These are not men sans education, yet these are men who espouse, advocate and aggressively pursue, in the name of politics, the worst, the ugliest, the most despicable form of racial animosity, division and confrontation in a multi-racial country. These are dangerous men. So, I ask the question. How can our country reach beyond and rise above the historical political division of our two major parties based on racial loyalty and, indeed, become “One Guyana”, when people like Ogunseye, Hinds and Burke are free to continue spreading the doctrine of race hate?
Indeed, the very leader whom these men of hate claim to have followed, Forbes Burnham, in an article published as long ago as April 1955, in the Burnham edition of the PPP newspaper, Thunder, had this to say.
“That some of my race (African) who express such sentiments as ‘Black man must be on top’ and a similar tendency on the part of Comrade Lachmansingh’s race group (Indian) to say ‘Coolie man must be on top’. Such sentiments are inspired by enemies of our party and movement, and the British government will give anything for them to gain wide currency. This is no laughing matter. If the racialist feeling, latent or rather patent in these sentiments is allowed to spread, it will have a most ruining effect…if we are to continue in unity, we must banish racialism…ours is not a fight for one race or another, it is a fight for Guiana. We know only one race, that is the Guianese race”.
Let Ogunseye, Hinds, Burke, et al, heed the words of their hero.
I have asked the question, Quo Vadis Guyana? For the great majority of Guyanese, whether our native Indigenous people or those of us who were transferred by the British to make a colony from Africa, India, China or Madeira, this is now and forever one country and one Guyana to be shared, developed and cherished by each and every one of us. We are and will be first, foremost and forever simply Guyanese. Let us, because we must, as President Ali has pledged, banish racism.
PNC demanding answers for smuggled chicken early Sunday morning after church!
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