I listened to the presentations at the Washington conference organized to expose allegedly “racism against Africans in Guyana and lack of democracy being practiced by the ruling PPPC administration”. Shockingly, all I heard were allegations of racism that were not supported with solid evidence. They falsely accused the government of racism when they could not point to any single act of discrimination – baseless, unbacked assertions. There was not even one accurate piece of information coming from the mouths of the speakers. There were many false claims, too many to list.
Most of the speakers were filled with hate and rage for the PPPC and its supporters and for Africans who align with the government. Rickford Burke, the main organizer of the conference, referred to Africans who support the PPPC as “house slaves” – that in itself is a reflection of the attitude of the organizers and speakers towards those in disagreement with him. If you don’t agree with the organizers, then you are labeled a house slave by racial entrepreneurs determined to promote disunity in Guyana.
There were several absurd incendiary claims clearly designed to win sympathy from the US administration and members of Congress. But the plan will fail because the policymakers in Washington, Members of Congress, the US Embassy in Guyana, and Afro Guyanese in the diaspora and at home know who stole democracy (1968 to 1992 and again 2015 to 2020). Who were the real dictators and who attempted to rig the 2020 general elections? The whole world saw the public spectacle of the PNCR (APNU)-AFC’s attempt to rig the elections.
One agent provocateur or agitator after another leveled allegations against the Guyana government for lack of democracy and racism. Yet these very accusers engage in unbridled freedom of speech in Guyana making those very same allegations about racism and when asked to provide evidence to back them, they came up empty.
On the issue of democracy, the conference was very undemocratic. The conference itself was (is) selective in attendees and attendance. There was restrictive attendance. Critics of the PNCR opposition and of Rickford Burke and organizers or those Africans who disagree with the charges of racism leveled against the PPPC were denied registration and entrance at the conference. The organizers were very strict in enforcing who could attend the conference and only those cleared by the organizers were granted entry.
On the issue of alleged PPPC government racism, where is the evidence? Looking at the composition of the government, it is truly representative of the cosmopolitan nature of the country, of all ethnicities and faiths. Over a third of the Ministers of government and heads of government agencies in proportion with the composition of the population, and half of the Permanent Secretaries are Africans. A tenth is of Amerindian or indigenous people. Nearly 20% are of Mixed descent. The Prime Minister is an African. Some 75% of the bureaucracy are Africans along with 95% of the army, 75% of Police Force, and 70% teaching staff.
In terms of distributions of resources, Africans get a majority of public housing. Africans and Mixed are also represented among the awardees of contracts and government scholarships in tertiary institutions. In every area of allocation of resources, Africans are over represented. The preceding facts cannot happen in a society in which Africans face discrimination.
While the accusers level uninformed baseless allegations in Washington, the Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo was in Linden, a PNCR stronghold, where he was accorded rock star welcome. (Look at the attached photo of a massive crowd)! Lindeners mobbed him for pix. Is that evidence of anti-African racism? The VP is expanding PPPC support base while racial entrepreneurs are making unsupported accusations.
Clearly, contrary to the accusations by organizers of the conference in Washington, Africans are not victims of racism in Guyana. They are the largest beneficiaries of the state. And their views are not censored, not by the state or private media. They freely express their views in all forms of media and lobby government for greater benefits – hallmarks of a free, open, engaging, democratic society.