The shenanigan that continues to unfold after the Guyana election on March 02 is not only fueled by the APNU-AFC forces led by David Granger, the connivance of GECOM and the partisanship of the courts but also the silence of the guardians of our rights and freedoms. Does the Caribbean community have a conscience? I must congratulate the leadership of CARICOM for insisting on a recount and ensuring that it was implemented. But more than CARICOM is the role of our elders and community leaders, our spiritual leaders, journalists, columnists, editors, trade unions and academics.
In the Sunday Newsday (21/06/20) there was not a news item on the politics in Guyana. Three columnists wrote on the following subjects: domestic violence, the ongoing Black Lives Matter and Columbus statue controversy. In the World News sections there were three articles on the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests- ‘Protesters burn statue of Confederate general’, ‘UK protesters step up anti-racism rally’ and ‘Protests test Atlanta’s image of black prosperity’. It was clear to me that Guyana was not in the radar of the editor of this newspaper!
Is such negligence a display of cowardice or intellectual weakness? I am certain that our leaders and academics are not brain dead. However, they are alive to the raging Black Lives Matter protests in the USA, UK, France and other parts of the world while they choose to shut their eyes to the evils in their Caribbean backyard. Is this not hypocrisy? Are we ready to see the faults and short comings of a Donald Trump while closing our eyes and ears to evils of a David Granger?!!!
CARICOM heads, both Mia Motley of Barbados (outgoing Chair) and Ralph Gonzales (current Chair) have stood their ground to ensure that the recounting of ballots are transparent and that the image of CARICOM is not tarnished. They are politicians-they contest elections and win; they don’t stick out their tongues and hope that a few drops of molasses may come by!
Too many of our professionals, academics and leaders are survivors, sitting on the fence waiting patiently on the goodies that may come their way from the Guyana oil boom. It is the hustlers’ game, a kind of bar fly mentality to win a free drink of rum!
Should the PPP/C return to power their tune will change. These same individuals would be writing about the greatness of Cheddi Jagan and the grit and determination of Bharat Jagdeo and the youthful president, Irfan Ali’s commitment to social justice and equal opportunity to all.
The academics have not spoken out on the Guyana. They are throughout the media supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the tearing down of Columbus statue. I await their responses when Cross Rhodes Freedom Project descends on the statues of Gandhi at Port of Spain and San Fernando.
The British High Commission recorded that during the Black Power marches members of the Indian community went about their daily routine tending to their animals and gardens, unmindful of its impact on their livelihood (East Indian Problem in Trinidad and Tobago 1953-1962. Terror and Race War in Guyana 1961-1964 by Daurius Figueira). Indians, fortunately, are no longer the hewers of wood or the drawers of water, at least superficially.
Nevertheless, too many always in a hurry to make some pocket change! This is a truth people do not wish to confront and deal with. And this is compounded by many non-committal attitudes to politics. Too many still believe that they can inveigle their way around to get whatever they need. This may be true for a few but the vast majority of the citizens are left to struggle for their livelihood.
V. S. Naipaul argued that India is now regaining its head. The invasion has resulted in the murder of millions of Brahmins, the natural leaders of the society. This demise has given rise to a bunch of second rate leaders. It is now that India is finding its sense of identity, thanks to the RSS and Narendra Modi.
Modi is demonstrating to the Indian people that gone are the days when a handful of wayfarers can invade a district and reign with terror over the people. His response to the Chinese is a strong statement that the Indians are not going to be pushed about. Modi is living the Bhagavad Gita while in the Caribbean this great text is only read and discussed!
In the Caribbean our politicians have done well to rally the community. Bhadase Sagan Maraj not only provided political leadership but built temples and schools where thousands of children receive an education today. Basdeo Panday fought for increased wages and working condition for sugar cane workers. It was because of the increased wages of the sugar cane workers that Indian families lived in better houses and began sending their children to secondary schools and commercial towns rose throughout the sugar cane belt.
A hustler mentality wears us down; it’s akin to begging-collecting bits and pieces…scraps. Not admitting to living in the margins of society and outside the decision making circle, many compensate by building mansions, owning luxury vehicles, making trips abroad, etc. It would only take another Idi Amin, a Burnham or a Bouterse to wake them up from this slumber!
Can some of us do better? If after experiencing Keith Rowley, David Granger and Desi Bouterse we continue with washing cars and cutting lawns, it can be concluded that our conscience is dead or numb. People who have little don’t take risk…they normally hold on to the few possessions…it like politicking for employment in URP and CPEP.