The call from the Chief Justice of Guyana for GECOM to go back to the counting of the votes using the legal method outlined in law is a victory for democracy not only in Guyana but also the Caribbean. This experience has one lesson for all and that is to be eternally vigilant.
When Vishwamitra was performing his fire rituals, the demons wanted to interrupt it but Rama and Lakshmana kept vigil, thus ensuring that they were kept at bay. Guyana is like the Dandaka forest of the Ramayana and the demonic tendencies must not be allowed to run amok. And this is exactly what the opposition parties, civil society, international observers and foreign diplomats have done-check the actions of the law breakers by letting them understand that none is above the law.
The brazen manner in which David Granger acted is reminiscent of a past era. During the colonial era, the groups that adopted the manners of the colonial elites -religious beliefs, dress, tables manners and food etc -were always considered superior to those who kept their non-European traditions like the Hindus, Muslims, indigenous Amerindians, Rastafarians and Shouter Baptists.
This adaptation of European values in the Caribbean came to be called creole, a term used to define a Frenchman born in the Caribbean. Following the French Revolution of 1789, most French families, fearful for their lives in revolutionary France, adopted the Caribbean as their home.
Successive ethnic groups- Africans, Chinese, Portuguese and Syrians -that came to the Caribbean adopted that Creole values for high social status. Indians, the last group that arrived, never capitulated to creolization but held on to their customs and traditions. Instead of admiring their courage and tenacity, the Indians were branded inferior. Interestingly, the few Indians who converted to Christianity adopted that superior posturing and poured scorn on their indigenous communities. Creole became synonymous with self-hate!
Until the 19th century every black woman’s ambition was to have a mulatto child. Such an off-spring enhanced the status of the African mother so much so that in Brazil the Portuguese have successfully brainwashed the black females to accept that having her first born fathered by a Portuguese was ‘a cleansing of the womb.’
In Cuba, the mixed population, were fathered by whites and I guess the same can be said for all the Caribbean. The black man was always persona non grata where an intimate relation with a white woman was concerned. Such a relationship was socially unacceptable and when practiced resulted in mob lynching.
African ancestral values were denounced and replaced with the prevailing creole values. Blacks readily adopted European names, religions, dress, cuisine. In a nutshell, everything African was derided and labelled inferior and everything European as superior. More so, any attempt to protect, preserve or propagate African culture was deemed a nuisance and in many cases punished by draconian laws.
This cultural genocide was documented in Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace. Lovelace highlighted the punitive measures of the State to punish non-Christians practices. More so, the black police officers took pride in harnessing the Shouters with ropes and marching them through the streets to the magistrate court.
The decision of former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday to grant March 30, the anniversary of the repeal of the Shouter Baptist Souter (Repeal) Ordinance of 1951, a public holiday in 1997 was phenomenal. No way the previous black governments could have done it! Interestingly, it was Albert Gomes, a Portuguese, who as Chief Minister in colonial Trinidad and Tobago repealed the Shouter Baptist Prohibition Ordinance of 1917!
Granger appears convinced that what he is doing is right. Why should Irfan Ali be given the green light to be the next President of Guyana? Doesn’t Granger have greater legitimacy to rule Guyana in the eyes of the West and ExxonMobil than Irfan, a Muslim and potential jihadist?
Granger must come to terms with the reality that 2020 is not 1970. He must recognize that the world is globalized and very much interconnected. The Cold War era of the 1970s and 1980s that forced the US to support dictators across the globe is long gone. Haiti does not need a Papa Doc Duvalier today as much as Guyana does not need a David Granger!
After Burnham’s demise, his successor, Desmond Hoyte, recognized that Granger wanted to perpetuate PNC rule. Hotye was intelligent to know that that era was long gone. Sadly, David Granger retreated only to return almost 40 years later with two hired “thugs” in the likes of Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo to reinstate the status quo of the 1970s. Granger has not learned from history!