Guyanese must reject all politicians who pander to ethnic cleavages

Dear Editor,

It is general elections season in Guyana once again. Concomitantly we begin to hear the drums of race, race-related issues and racially-slanted diatribes cropping up in the Guyanese press. This old practice will build into a crescendo leading up to the holding of the elections. Guyanese must carefully observe from what sources these laden, biased opinions originate.

They will not be coming from the Alliance For Change (AFC). No AFC member will be found or caught in that trap. The leadership and membership of the AFC are attempting to build a Guyanese society of racial harmony, understanding and tolerance. Guyanese once lived in a peaceful Guyana before independence in the late fifties – before the struggle of the PPP and PNC to establish their hegemonic control over the young and emerging Guyanese nation.

Those of us who are senior enough will remember the glory days of our youth when the races in Guyana lived in complete harmony, at peace with each other coexisting with what little we had and sharing our misery and poverty with little flare-up among ourselves. Those were the days when village life was so decently organised with the Guyanese African working in the commercial centres of the nation, in teaching, the postal services, police, midwifery, etc, etc.

Indian Guyanese were very content with farming and animal husbandry predominantly, and the village shop. We interacted in our daily lives in our villages without suspicions of each other. We shared whatever we had very freely. We could be found freely in each other’s homes and villages, eating from each other’s pots and plates and even intermarrying in some cases.

As an young  nation we enjoyed the emergence of our world class cricketers and supported them boisterously wherever and whenever they played the game that brought us as a people so much joy and fulfilment. We all went to our horse race meetings in droves and rubbed shoulders together in the fun and frolic of the sport.

Many older folks can add their experiences and recollections to this letter on the way things were between the races in Guyana in the time of our youth.

 There was a time in our lives when we enjoyed each other in many beautiful ways not long forgotten and practised. It will not take rocket science to re-establish this in our daily lives.

But lo and behold what happened to that Guyanese way of life where we all peacefully coexisted with each other? What has caused us to abandon this desired way of living with each other in such a wonderful country as Guyana.

Who is responsible for splitting the races and setting them apart? Who gains from this sad reality of present-day life?

These are some of the burning questions of our times and generation and we cannot escape answering them if we are desirous of re-emerging into the bright sunshine of nation-building in a land of six races. Or is it now seven? Guyanese must reject all politicians who pander to the dirty game of race-baiting and ethnic cleavages. Support and encourage the new and younger leaders who champion harmony among the Guyanese people like the AFC.

Let all political leaders gave an undertaking, in word and deed before the nation to work for this new day of peace and harmony among the Guyanese races.

Yours faithfully,
Lionel Peters

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