Dear Editor,

Mr Louis Kilkenny (‘Why is Henry Jeffrey criticizing what he helped to create?‘ SN, September 3) has obviously not read my article carefully enough. If he had, he would have realized that I did not criticize the composition of the Ethnic Relations Commission.  I simply stated that the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport established a National Steering Committee for the Commemoration of the International Year for People of African Descent, and that committee made some recommendations, one of which was the need for the recomposition of the ERC. I concluded with the contention that a national resolution of all the demands made by the Steering Committee: “will require major compromises on all sides and that must involve leaders in whom the various communities have confidence.

Therefore, any objective assessment of the political requirements for implementing the IYPAD plan, which resulted from a process set in train by the government itself, must conclude that it simply does not have the level of legitimacy to solve the national ethnic dilemma as it is perceived by African Guyanese.”

My most favourable interpretation of Mr Kilkenny’s position is that he wished to criticize me and thus constructed a ‘straw-man’ with which to do so. For I hope he is not one of those who believe that rules and institutions must remain unchanging. If he is not, the question is: given its purpose and the pressures being placed upon it, do we need to consider the reorganization of the ERC?
Yours faithfully,
Henry B Jeffrey