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lincolnlewis.jpg
Mr. Lincoln Lewis

Opening address commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the former British Empire. This collaborative effort was organized by the Guyana Trades Union Congress and the African community.
Among the invited guests were Mr. Robert Corbin, MP., Leader of the People's National Congress Reform (PNCR) and Mr. Raphael Trotman, MP., Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC). The event was held on Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at the Guyana Teachers Union Hall, Georgetown, Guyana.

Anarchy and Chaos: Political Decay in the Republic of Guyana

 

By Sadiki Toure

 

As a people who have experienced so much pain and suffering inflicted upon us by others, Guyanese are now engaged in an ironic twist to this shared historical experience; we are now inflicting pain and suffering upon ourselves! In the past we have united to reject externally imposed systems of subjugation whether as people in bondage, or free. There have always been stalwarts-men and women- who rose to the occasion to reject the forces which cleaved us, and exploited our being. The current state of anarchy which now pervades our society, and has begun to take on unprecedented proportions offers dwindling hope that Guyanese and their leaders will collectively look back upon their common experiences, and draw valuable inspiration to tackle current issues, and engage the future with confidence. Our leaders seem bewildered, vacillating, timid, and undecided. They are long on rhetoric, and disappointingly short on action. Hefty promises and high moral values are trumpeted daily, only to betray their hypocrisy as their true motives become transparent to the simplest of minds. Brazenly corrupt public servants continue to hold their posts. Our law enforcement is a national joke-the police pretend to uphold the law, and the people pretend to obey. This makes for a modus vivendi with crime. The fierce brutality of certain “elite” branches of the law enforcement authority is only as admission that even they have no faith in our judicial system, and therefore feel justified in resorting to extra-judicial measures to sanction for themselves, those who dare to cross the blurred lines of the law. Our economy-what is left of it-is a “hustle economy” par its own Guyanese version of Latin drug lords and their territorial wars, petty pushers, swindlers, shady deals in high and low places, survival on the crumbs of international lending agencies, which throw us a few millions, enough to maintain the semblance of economic life as our life-blood drains away in massive emigration, disguised unemployment, pandemic disease (AIDS), and interminable political and racial strife.

            Below the celebrated Guyanese hospitality seethes anger, frustration, racism, impotence, and a paralyzing sense of hopelessness. Some long for the days of Forbes Burnham, when despite his authoritarian rule there was a sense of order. Others wish that Walter Rodney were alive today, since he and the WPA appeared to be the only political force capable of mass appeal across racial and class lines. Still others bemoan the death of Dr. Cheddi Jagan after such a relatively short period at the helm of independent Guyana. Much is speculated as to what he might have achieved had he survived longer. At the risk of being indelicate, the only thing that is indisputably true of these men is that they are all dead, and no one seems willing, or able, to emulate any of them. These men have all had their fair share of praise and criticism. Some Guyanese draw strength from nostalgic reflection. This may be good for the soul, but it does not move a country and its people to encounter their peculiar existential circumstances, and the world, with confidence, and purposeful action designed to alter its destiny. I am grateful for the aforementioned sons of Guyana; like it or not they are stones in the foundation of the nation we hope to become. With the benefit of hindsight we can correct the flaws, and reinforce the foundation of their workmanship. But the edifice we hope to put upon that foundation will require consummate discipline, skills and competencies, all of which appear to be distinctly lacking, maldeveloped, misapplied, or deliberately ignored by both incumbent and opposition leaders.

            In the chaos created by the escalating anarchy of our society, mixed and often confusing signals are sent by party spokespersons-official and self-appointed. This had fueled tension within our society, and the development of a siege mentality in some communities. Normally law-abiding citizens abdicate their civic duty, and refuse to condemn wrong and uphold right. Afro-Guyanese perceive most Indo-Guyanese to be PPP/C, Indo-Guyanese consider most Afro-Guyanese PNC/R. has anyone taken a poll lately? We may all be surprised by the results.

            Central to Guyana’s current descent into chaos and anarchy is the issue of race. Those who wish to deny this are worse off then the proverbial ostrich-they have not stuck their head in the sand, but have plucked their eyes out. We have allowed this cancer to feast upon the soul of our society with alarming impunity. The welfare of our people is too important to leave to the dictates of those who would fan the racial embers of an era that must be transcended. The race card has always elicited an almost fanatical response, especially when played by eloquent power seekers. This is a worn out political strategy, more reflective of the lack of political creativity, and the political bankruptcy of its adherents, than an understanding of the long-denied need for a new, more inclusive, and non-racial politics.

            Politicians alone do not have the answer to the current crisis. If we desire to deal effectively, and decisively, with our steep descent into anarchy and chaos we must engage all social forces in Guyana, in our quest for a just society. It is incumbent on all Guyanese to encourage their leaders to alter the direction of our society from self-destruction to one more in keeping with our national motto: One People, One Nation, One Destiny.

Copyright (c) 2007. Maintained by TJ Productions, USA. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced or otherwise duplicated without the prior written permission of the publisher, except for a brief acknowledgment.