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Tony Jones


Myth or Panacea for Racial Divide


            In the aftermath of last August general elections there is a profound need for national unity. This sober assessment was crystallized, as the pattern of voting remains a major problem across the country. The election results clearly demonstrate that Guyanese are satisfied to cast ballots in support of a Leader or Party that reflects their own race. By perpetuating the practice of voting along racial lines invariably the PPP/Civic will continue to garner a plurality of votes cast by the majority ethnic group-East Indians. Our political leaders must recognize this dilemma and begin a process not only to protect the integrity of Guyana’s electoral system but consider constitutional amendments, which would enshrine opposition parties an active role in government.

            The desire for national unity is an attempt to avoid polarization and minimize chances of our society experiencing what Guillermo O’Donnell described as a “low intensity citizenship” in which a gap exists between the liberal principle of equality and the practice of political exclusion. It is important that Afro-Guyanese fully grasp the enormity of political democracy, which has continued to exclude them from the full exercise of their citizenship rights.

            Any attempt to forge national unity must be the concern of citizens regardless of social status or political persuasion.While this debate is necessary to ascertain whether the population supports such an idea, politicians of all parties must take the initial step of embracing this profound if not radical concept. Then they should sensitize the nation for the pending transmutation.

           It is imperative that elected leaders fully prepare the nation for any such shift in Guyana's political landscape. This would include both structural - democratizing public institutions and a cerebral metamorphosis, the process that engenders citizens becoming active agents of change. Personal accountability should predominate over the non-chalant attitude, which has allowed public lawlessness to triumph over efficiency and meritocracy.

          Our current leaders must avoid the mistakes of previous PNC governments - policies that the PPP had endorsed, which unfortunately led us along an unsuccessful economic path. The ill-conceived policy to nationalize the major industries that resulted in decades of hardship and suffering must never be repeated. Our fledging democracy cannot and will not be sustained if citizens remain indifferent to their role of active engagement and participation in civic affairs.

            A national unity government is both practical and necessary at this juncture of Guyana's history. It is also essential that a national unity government be inclusive and involve all opposition parties that are willing to work assiduously to establish peace, enhance economic liberation and social/justice reforms. 

           Indeed, what is needed more than ever before is a credible and charismatic leader with a pellucid vision of where he/she wants to take our country. This child of Guyana needs to become a magnet, which can permit gravitation for the entire nation offering its collective talents and resources to realize economic and social advancement, which so far has proven elusive.


My Beloved Family




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