As you travel around Guyana and share views with persons of every walk of life, social class, religious persuasion, ethnic affinity and age, you hear expressed concerns about the opposition, and more specifically, the APNU leadership, that they are not doing enough. These concerns are being expressed even from within.
There is the recent contention that APNU as a coalition has not moved enough to the establishment of a national government. Such persons I have no doubt are genuine patriots, and I have no quarrel with them. But when we face difficulties it is easy to blame even ourselves. On the issue of a national government, It takes two to tango. Something must get the PPP to accept this idea for any national government to emerge.
Second, we are dealing with a minority executive, which has not only shown great disdain for the expressed wishes of the majority in November 2011, but which believes deep down that they now have a sort of right to rule over all of us.
Thirdly, it is ignoring all of the time-honoured practices inherent in a living democracy where consultation is not a ruse to hear but not listen or take account of other views. I had that experience recently at a meeting with the Minister of Local Government.
Fourthly, even when cornered, this administration uses the judiciary as a foil to frustrate the highest forum in a true democracy, that is Parliament, and as we see this is being done with abandon.
Fifthly, this government has no problem with clear instances of conflict of interest among its top brass.
Sixthly, it is retaining an iron grip on the way information is dispensed – the only country in this hemisphere where there is almost total state control of radio and the majority of the television stations are either state controlled or represent government views. Thank God for Kaieteur News, Stabroek News, Channels 6 and 9 – the latter being apparently sabotaged by GPL’s sudden blackouts, and other technical interventions.
There is no doubt about the high level of frustration this combination of factors has caused, and not surprisingly, we turn our disappointment into blaming our leaders (AFC, APNU et al).
This is so easy, but in the extant political/social environment we need to be united and together plan how to defend our treasured values and democracy.
We must know this: citizens’ attitudes are formed by what information (news) is fed to them every hour of every day. With such extensive state (PPP) media control, the opposition is at a severe disadvantage. When you ask, as I do, these concerned patriots what more should Brigadier (rtd) Granger and others be doing, they cry, “Be more aggressive”; then I ask for specific proposals and they say, “Be more assertive.” Talk is very easy. On this, all of us, in particular those who know our history, must spare some time to inform our youths, so they may be enthused to be involved. Are we ready for the next stage of the struggle?
Perhaps the issues of radio, television (only Channel 11 has full national coverage) should be the top priority for the opposition. Call our citizens and give the state a few weeks to settle the Linden media issues and to allow all television stations to send their signals to every corner of Guyana if they so desire.
Grant radio licences to those who applied years ago to broadcast with no geographic restriction.
If at the end of a given period the state stays tight, we must begin broadcasting openly at a large meeting of citizens. I stated elsewhere we need go into the proactive mode.
The worst blow, which would benefit and favour this administration, is the one which blames the opposition for our woes. Our people, the youth in particular, need to take counsel from history and be unafraid to be proactive; this is no time or place for the faint hearted.
Every Guyanese family has some family member in the USA, the great land of opportunity. That magnificent country was born out of men and women who felt that King George III was arrogant, and as we see in Guyana today, he ignored the wishes of the majority. Every patriot ought to know that 237 years later, the influence of the American Revolution is still felt globally.
That great event began as an old time tax protest against the British; will Linden or the ugliness of our capital be our catalyst? When they met and declared their independence, these words resonated for generations: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.” Strong brave words, but look at the reports local and international, we see a Guyana of mighty inequality.
I urge us to avoid the error of simply blaming our leaders for our condition. I lean on the words of Cassius, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The fault dear Brutus lies not in the stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.”
Those who are understandably critical of our leaders need lend a hand to inform and give leadership. Our leaders need support to contain the present situation.
Hamilton Green, JP