There is no such thing as the middle class here

Dear Editor,

I thank Dr. Randy Persaud for his comments (SN 10.24.09) on my letter titled, `Too many are irrevocably partisan that those who think along national lines are damned as outsiders’ (SN 10.23.09).

It is disturbing that my writing almost wholly dedicated to the need to lift ourselves up as a society (regardless of what pertains elsewhere) was repositioned and spun as a full blown comparison between Guyana and more affluent societies.  At best, there could have been some misunderstanding; at less than best, I might be tempted to see the disingenuous, even despicable, at work.

To begin again, there was no comparison with Guyana and elsewhere; at least not North America.  Who amongst us would be so naïve or imbecilic?  Instead, I wrote that the mere mention of certain embedded ills in Guyana provoke the inevitable response from defenders that these things are “all over.”  While true, such a claim is only part of the story.  I then proceeded to offer a few examples to complete the story missing from the defenders’ frames of reference; however, I objected to using the existence of “all over” as prop or justification for what is present locally.  Now, here comes this gentleman repeating the same mantra of “all over” but in a more refined form, creating a non-existent (or intended) comparison, while ignoring the nuances.  While nothing exists in a vacuum, I found the leap into “juxtaposition of developments” to be artful in the worse sense of the word.

The second thrust of my effort was embodied in the analogy of the child, individual, and family.  It was that, against overwhelming odds and in the face of unforgiving environments, the indomitable spirit that is human nature triumphs.  That extrapolated on a national scale, the same can be true, but only if we dare to hope, believe, and sacrifice accordingly.  And that this can only be possible, if all the excuses and distractions and norms are resolutely denied with single minded devotion to forge ahead.  There is no comparison to anyone and anyplace.  Instead, it is an exhortation to my fellow citizens that our destinies are in our own hands; that there can be a pathway for us out of the self destruction of yesterday; that to find it we must be prepared to relinquish that which has failed us so absolutely.  And I did this through an analogy with which I felt all of us could identify.  Still, the good doctor saw it fit to ignore totally this core aspect of what I wrote, and focused on interpreting and converting the message into a propaganda opportunity.

Moving along, I will stipulate to the statistics and facts tendered, without ever having compared Guyana (as stated by Dr Persaud) to “the glitter of other societies”.  One more time: Who amongst us would be so naïve or imbecilic?  I am becoming angry at myself for even engaging in a discussion with someone who can twist words so unashamedly, and who manifests a very limited regard for either accuracy or substance.  But I repeat the questions: how many among those downtrodden Marylanders or Washingtonians will seek sanctuary in Liberia? Or Guyana?  More pointedly, how many of our own countrymen will forego the same experiences having been fully forewarned that they exist?

Next, I do not consider myself a critic of the government or opposition.  Instead, I see myself as a citizen occupied with where Guyana can go in realizing its potential.  Further, I have not been hesitant during the past ten years (with occasional absences) to speak out against what I believe is preventing us from doing so.  I would be less than honest if I said that the current government has not done any good.  However, the positives that it has recorded have been overshadowed-and negated-by certain egregious decisions and acts that have proven to be-and will continue to prove to be-deleterious to the nation’s well being.  For the interested, I channel their attention to the main national security issue (as I identified years ago) of narcotics.  Unless one is willfully blind, or an absolute simpleton, it is obvious that almost every strata of society has been infiltrated to the detriment of individual, community, and state.  I leave it to more objective observers to comment on the origin, timing, and proliferation of this ineradicable menace to Guyana, and all of its concomitant contributions to crime, corruption, further ethnic division, and overall government credibility.

Also, I have no comment on the middle class other than to say that there is no such thing in Guyana.  There is a hustling class at the apex (closely attached to that ineradicable menace mentioned earlier) that positions itself to grasp at everything in sight, and a massed class desperately striving for any occasional crumb trickling its way.  By and large the former has it so good that they will not relocate elsewhere.  Unless it is to shop, take a holiday, or seek medical attention.  Or escape the reaching arm of pursuers.

On the issue of bipartisanship, everyone sings a really sweet song including Dr. Persaud, who waxes enthusiastic here.  However, I submit that his earlier submissions from a while back versus his current postures will either buttress or dismantle his credibility as an advocate of bipartisanship.

I think I have said enough and it is now time to move along.  In closing, I wish to say to the government-and Dr Persaud-that if these are the levels to which distortion and spin have descended, then we are in far worse shape than I had estimated.

Yours faithfully,
GHK Lall

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