The major religions have not been doing an effective job of bringing the different ethnic groups together

Dear Editor,

I have been reading with interest the published proposals and suggestions regarding the concept and practice of shared governance relative to Guyana.

However, the proponents of this concept have studiously avoided the foundation on which they hope to erect their superstructure of shared governance. We do not have to be rocket scientists to understand that erecting and imposing a building on a poorly laid and inferior foundation invite disaster.

Our two major race groups are polarized. The main political parties represent one or the other of these groups.  The labour movement is racially cleaved.  At a personal level, racial insecurities and mutual fear, distrust, and animosity persist.  In short, the gravel, cement, and stone refuse to coalesce and fuse together. And there is no reinforcing steel! Absent is the genuine unifying dynamic of accepting each other as worthy of respect and equally deserving of the rights and freedoms each race wants for itself.

So, we need to work on improving the quality of the foundation. Here is where the religious and spiritual organizations have to do their job. What is the role being played by churches, mosques, and temples in Guyana today? Are they centres and agents of separation or are they catalysts of unification under the banner of love, tolerance and mutual respect? Commenting on unity in religious diversity, one modern religious leader said, “Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish; and let the Glory of God be sung in all languages, and in a verity of tunes.  That should be the ideal.  Respect the differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid as long as they do not extinguish the flames of unity…”

The fact that Guyana remains a racially fractured country although we have so many religions active across the land is a strong indictment of all religions and spiritual centres operating in Guyana. They have not been doing their jobs effectively. The religious and spiritual leaders should have been out front, demonstrating by their personal actions that all humanity is equal in the sight of God and that we are all one. They are the ones who have been ‘called’ to provide fearless leadership and direction to a nation that has lost its way in the darkness of racial animosity.

The world is changing.  A new paradigm is fast approaching, and we as Guyanese have to decide what we want. We either want racial harmony and unity across the length and breadth of Guyana, or we do not. Now is the time for us to consider and take action one way or the other.

Yours faithfully,
Jamal Ali

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