As aptly said by Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The US State Department report and daily news are further confirmation of the pervasive corruption, lawlessness and social degradation destroying the life of this nation and denying citizens what is justly theirs, and why it becomes imperative we speak out. Though the Guyana Constitution guarantees the right to equality, justice, prosperity and security for all – the required pillars for development and peaceful coexistence – they continue to be disregarded by the custodians of our laws, and holders of government office. What has been passing for governance is nothing short of executive lawlessness.
While the judiciary has constitutional protection to function free from interference, its mandate does not escape political interference through government’s action or inaction, giving credence to the principle that justice delayed is justice denied.
The state of policing, including deteriorating police-community relations, and the demoralisation amongst law-abiding officers striving to maintain their integrity and serve and protect in spite of the odds and having to bear witness to protection given to rogue cops by officialdom, are well known.
Recall is made of drug-lord Roger Khan’s association with the government, while today we hear of New York-based businessman Ed Ahmad’s mortgage fraud which was preceded by Lumumba’s dolphin scandal, law books and duty free scams and others too numerous to mention.
The folly of President Jagdeo’s advice to a Caricom grouping to “focus less on process and more on result” is reflected in the twinning of the formal and informal economies to create the illusion of legitimate development and prosperity. There is the violation of rights and the rule of law, where might has become right and fear stalks the land creating a sea of silence misconstrued as contentment with the destructive state of affairs.
Infrastructure is collapsing shortly after completion; the violation of laws is rampant as seen with the construction of Pradoville 2; the laws protecting some sections of the society are not enforced or else others are given a pass; and the misappropriation of our tax dollars, to name a few, have become the daily staple.
No law-abiding Guyanese would want to associate with this charade that passes for governance. Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of which group complies or violates. This society is founded on universal laws and principles and what goes for one must also go for everyone else. This country is being brought into disrepute and the citizens given a bad name with the clandestine associations and mismanagement of this administration. This nation has reached its nadir and the law-abiding have had enough.
Escalating efforts to silence the voices of reason as seen with the dictatorial Broadcasting and Access to Information Bills; the “relevant authorities” harassing CN Sharma and causing him to pull Gaskin-Ram’s ‘Keeping it honest’ programme; the withdrawal/reduction of state advertisements to the private media; the denial of subventions; the starving of communities of state resources and denying the citizenry their right to association, though intended to suppress us, must see us not being deterred but energised into applying innovative means to get our messages out and take a united stand against the wrongs.
Ours is a moral and civic responsibility to bring an end to the degradation by vociferously condemning these defects and assiduously working to change them. As a people we can no longer only apply the will to survive or flee, but must also be imbued with the will to stand up and fight for what is just and right, for these are the necessary ingredients in the making of a good society. The time is nigh to take our country back; to take charge of our destiny and mould one that would ensure equality, opportunities, law and order for all, which will earn us respect of self and for the country.