Commendations are in order for the AFC. Mrs Sheila Holder in SN of 21.12.08 admitted “the AFC hopes to encourage activism by empowering the citizenry through education programmes about their rights. People don’t understand their rights, and if people don’t demand their rights, they lose them.” So right! Dr Marcus Garvey said: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for today.”
As a critic of AFC African leaders, namely, Raphael Trotman, Sheila Holder, Cathy Hughes and David Patterson in representing the rights of their African supporters, this revelation breathes optimism for tomorrow. Optimism will be tempered by studious observation of the education programmes. (I continue to applaud Khemraj Ramjattan for his judicious representation of AFC Indian supporters.)
Every man, woman and child, regardless of racial hue, has inalienable rights; rights clearly stated in the Guyana Constitution. The AFC must use the constitution as its bible. Its education programmes must give every racial group equal representation and every group must understand the importance of respecting the rights of others. Too long Africans have been disrespected and their rights trampled on. Our demands for equality have been ignored and drowned out. Successful AFC programmes would prevent this intolerance and injustice. The AFC cannot do it alone. Rights commissions, the ERC, PNC, GHRA, TUC, ACDA, the judiciary and other support institutions must also function.
In the meanwhile there remain outstanding rights issues the AFC and PNC must address in parliament. In 2007 I raised passing the Ancestral Bill, implementing the Hoyte/Jagdeo agreement, stopping police brutality, releasing the Critchlow Labour College’s subvention lawfully approved in the 2007 National Budget, returning the TUC and college’s subventions, stopping wages and salaries impositions, lowering VAT, repealing the law dealing with terrorist acts, and passing the Freedom of Information Bill. These issues are still important to our rights.