In ‘Cabinet posts should be shared out between the PPP/C and APNU …‘ (SN Jan 1), Mr Walter B Alexander, without recognizing it, has pointed out what is wrong in Guyana’s politics and perhaps in all Third World countries – divvying government positions, which has been the gist of the problem in Guyana. Our country became racially divided (politically speaking) in 1955 over positions for office and it has been downhill ever since. Most of the politicians since that time have been fighting for position and not the welfare of the country or how to turn Guyana into a nation which would be envied. Country is second to the desire for privileges and status. Thus, contrary to what Mr Alexander feels, giving out cabinet berths and other state posts (government agencies) will not solve the nation’s problems. What Guyana needs is more genuinely caring and decent politicians who will demonstrate greater compassion for people and love for nation the way the late Dr. Cheddi Jagan, his wife Janet and Eusi Kwayana, etc, did. We may not like their politics but they were respected for their principles and commitment to country, not their pocket. They were genuine (leaving out ideological conviction) when it came to their love for Guyana and development of the nation – a quality that is demonstrated by few politicians in today’s Guyana.
Today’s party elites have been fighting over posts and perks for the boys (or gals) and not necessarily for the development of the nation. The opposition is not so much interested in replacing the government with a better programme, as enjoying the perks of simply being part of the government. Everything is about self – how to enrich oneself and to enjoy the trappings of office and not necessarily to serve for service sake as the politicians did during the 1950s and 1960s. Very few (and I don’t restrict the point to politicians alone because many businessmen also fall in the same category) are thinking about the overall welfare of the people or how to make Guyana into a first world nation. Everyone just wants to enrich themselves at the expense of the state.
What is lacking in Guyana are more people who are genuinely concerned about humanity and who want to make peoples’ lives better in the way that a few of us in the diaspora have done since the 1970s, especially in NY. What is needed is a return to the spirit of volunteerism and serving communities — emulating the behaviour of altruistic individuals like Dr Baytoram Ramharack, Dr Ravi Dev, Dr Latchman Narain, Vassan Ramracha, Vishnu Bisram, Arjune Karshan, Chuck Mohan, Mel Carpen, Ramesh Kalicharran, etc – men who served with honour and integrity without seeking material rewards or monetary remuneration. Simply doling out posts among the elite of the two political behemoths may lead to political stability but will not address more deeply ingrained problems. The self-serving politicians, especially from the opposition, will be happy to be recipients of greater perks, but the country will not make any more progress than what currently obtains. The country needs genuine political reforms to encourage civic participation, a reduction of the powers of the government, people empowerment, respect for law and order, acceptance of democratic elections, a federalist system to shift powers away from the centre, a crack-down on corruption, etc, and not a reward of posts for those who seek to foist disorder on society.