Government should re-establish National Service to reverse the trend of violence

Dear Editor,
We note the lengthy letter written by the Attorney General, Mr Anil Nandlall, dealing with the assent to Bills in the National Assembly (‘The President has untrammelled freedom …’ SN, September 30).  In essence what he is saying and what we see in operation is that the President of this minority government is being placed above and ahead of the democratically elected National Assembly and by extension Parliament.  I have no doubt that the legal luminaries will comment on this, but the absurdity of such a position is palpable and inconsistent with the norms of a democratic society.

This is unfortunate in the circumstances where the Attorney General and his group trumpeted in and out of Guyana, that there was a return to democracy in 1992.  The problem we have is that this sort of arrogance and misguided interpretation of the constitution is having a farfetched and negative effect on our entire society Let me make a few connections, as slender as they may appear to some.  On Monday evening the esteemed Dr Harold Peters made a valid point that much of the criminal activity now eating away at the fabric of the State of Guyana can be attributed to our ending the National Service.  Dr Peters with his usual perspicacity has hit the nail on the head.  National Service will provide as it did the opportunity for young persons from the furthest point in the east, west, north and south of Guyana, to meet together, play together, eat together, learn together and by extension learn to love one another.

Additionally they will also acquire skills, particularly those who did not have a good start in life.
The re-establishment of National Service is perhaps the first step that a sensible caring government should take to reverse the worrying trend of violence in our society.  As happened before, National Service can also be the nursery for better quality army, police and fire service personnel.

The government should put in place National Service immediately.  Fortunately there are still a few at home and abroad who can help.  In spite of the negative propaganda which the PPP spread earlier about National Service taking into account the present environment,  the strongest PPP supporter should welcome such a venture, since they and the rest of the population will be the beneficiaries.  We all would be safer in our homes and communities because that sense of alienation which now prevails would gradually disappear. This ill feeling will evaporate in a few years.  The start has to be made now.

Next, as Dr Peters noted a number of micro-hydro facilities and the preparation of agricultural lands should be undertaken.  These are some of the things that the government must direct their energies towards.  We have a country where mostly foreigners are extracting millions of our precious minerals (gold and diamonds) with little if any of the profits being returned or available for the development of our people.

Instead we are already inheriting the destruction of our rivers and of our flora and fauna.  What should we tell our descendants, when they see those gaping dirty cavities in our hinterland while castles are built elsewhere for the benefit of a few.   Guyanese must awake from their slumber and believe that our combined voices and where necessary, action can change the scheme of things.

One Caribbean person said to me that the challenge is that in Trinidad for example the government responds to protest and the views of their people.  Not so in Guyana.  I believe we can change this but we must be confident that no matter how stubborn and obtuse a government we have, there is no way we the people will allow this imperial state to continue forever.
Guyana should awake from its slumber.
Yours faithfully,
Hamilton Green, JP 

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