I hold the view that coincidence is not a concept to be entirely trusted. However, on this bright and sunny Sunday in the grounds off Hyde Park in London, I am sitting at Speakers’ Corner with my Dell computer reading Sheila Holder’s reply (‘Taking to the streets is not the answer’ SN, April 11) to my letter captioned ‘2011 is a make or break year for Guyana,’ published in Stabroek News of April 9. In close proximity, voices with different accents fill the air in protest against the many wrongs done to their lands of birth, be it Iraq, Africa or the Caribbean. These protesters stand on makeshift rostrums with hundreds of tourist from around the world listening to their cries for a just world.
But I cannot fail to ignore the opening lines of Ms Holder’s letter where she quotes Mother Theresa, “We are called upon to do great things with love,” immediately followed by the examples of two protests that may have ended up in violence led at different eras by the PPP and PNC, as justification for the AFC decision never to take to the streets in protest against a very corrupt government.
It is, to say the least, a gross misrepresentation of history in the contextual argument. It is a dismissal of Walter Rodney’s struggles at home and in the Caribbean (Jamaica in particular), and also insults the struggles of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, the father of the trade union movement in Guyana. Today, it also dismisses the struggles of non-political activists such as Lincoln Lewis, Mark Benschop and Freddie Kissoon, just to mention a few, who command huge respect from the same grassroots’ people whom the AFC is so diligently standing up for.
I wonder what would have happened if Dr Martin Luther King would have taken guidance from those words of Mother Theresa. The civil rights movement would have remained a fleeting illusion in the thoughts of the oppressed masses of Blacks in America.
I am disappointed not frustrated by this sudden rush to defend by a senior functionary of the AFC. This a political party, I have on many occasions, defended publicly. I do agree that horrible experiences and let-downs by politicians have caused Guyanese to view them with distrust. Trotman and Ramjattan are politicians. Do I not reserve the right to question their motives if I suspect some decisions taken by the party may be in direct conflict with the expectations of the suffering masses? It is out of concern for the longevity of the AFC, that I seek answers to the points I raised. The AFC must not think that they are beyond scrutiny.
How does one feel when they are extolling the virtues of a party that they have grown to respect only to be told by a senior figure in Guyana who is not from the camps of the PPP or PNC, that Messrs Ramjattan and Trotman are asking for duty-free concessions from the same oppressive government they wish to vote out.
I have never called for a violent revolution in Guyana under the guise of mass protest actions. That is the impression Sheila Holder, in her letter wishes to make readers believe. Protest action doesn’t have to be violent. People can march together in their thousands to register their disgust at elected dictatorship. It remains a powerful tool in the hand of the oppressed peoples of this world.