In his very long letter of October 8, Mr Anand Boodram argued that Guyana’s politics is reflective and the survival of African and Indian Guyanese is the name of the game. I agree. This is exactly the point I made in my two recently published letters on Sep 26 and Sep 30 in the Stabroek News. My letter of Sep 26 acknowledges that a large percentage of the population votes along ethnic lines instead of policies. The letter of Sep 30 made the argument that the thesis of the Ethnic Security Dilemmas (ESD) is a poor predictor of crimes given the rise of narco-crimes under the PPP. However, the ESD is still a good predictor of voting patterns. I have even modelled Mr Boodram’s reflexivity as the prisoners’ dilemma in my recent IDS Working Paper: ‘Bi-communalism and the economic origins of democracy: a case study.’
However, I part company with Mr Boodram and join Guyanese who do not wish to be trapped in the past. Many of us are willing to judge a leader on character and support the reform party of today. Hence, I argued in those two letters for a regular change in government so that politicians will not take the voters for granted. It is irrational to vote today based on things that were done more than 21 years ago. I called this process democratic turnover. Politicians must be punished at the elections for blatant corruption and incompetence.
This is why I have decided to be associated with the forward-looking Pro-Guyana Think Movement, which Brigadier General (rtd) David Granger endorses. Many of us are busy working overtime to come up with a blueprint – policy proposals – for achieving the theme ‘Unity and Human Development’ (UHD). Brig General Granger is very passionate about the theme of UHD. Therefore, we have decided to unite with him and APNU to achieve this objective.
Mr Boodram is of the view that the PPP does not need to apologize for anything and it is the PNC which must apologize for rigging elections. My view is the PPP must apologize for the criminalization of the state which took place under their watch, and for not stopping a drug dealer from killing hundreds of people instead of pursuing serious police reforms. The PPP is by far the most financially and morally corrupt government since independence. I certainly believe the PNC should apologize for the rigged elections.
With respect to the Guyana National Service (GNS), Mr Boodram is dead wrong to believe all East Indians feel the same way as he does. I have spoken to family members and several educated East Indians who had great praise for the GNS. Some spoke fondly of the good times they had in GNS. Therefore, Mr Boodram’s narrative against the GNS does not indicate the truth. I actually feel that I was robbed because I never had a chance to go to national service since the PPP abandoned it by the time I went to UG. My loss becomes even more obvious when my friends from Turkey, Israel and Denmark speak fondly of the time they had in their equivalent of national service; and, furthermore, we cannot give people a free university education and get nothing in return. It is not cheap to run a university.
Let us also not forget the insidious propaganda campaigns in the villages the PPP carried out against all institutions the PNC established. Hence, Mr Boodram’s reflexivity comes into play here. Growing up we were told not to cooperate with anything the PNC did. Even the PNC does not understand how much the PPP has messed up the spirit of many East Indians. The GNS came in for special vilification in the villages. We were told East Indian women were raped routinely. However, Mr Boodram and his colleagues have to prove that Afro-Guyanese women did not face the same sexual harassment. Editor, PBS recently did a radio show on sexual harassment in the American military. It is at crisis levels. Many times, PBS notes, male chauvinists cover up sexual harassment in the US military.
This is a serious crime over which we must never propagandize.
Today if there were a national service there would have been no need for a Fip Motilall to squander US$15 million of the peoples’ money. In America its army builds sea defences, bridges and dams. I urge the free thinkers and liberals to get behind Pro-Guyana and Mr Granger. Let’s bring democratic turnover to permanently ease prejudices and tensions in Guyana. A Granger presidency will be significantly better for East Indians. Do not fall for Mr Boodram’s propaganda trap. The PPP has been the most destructive for East Indians in Guyana.