Dear Editor,

We at Pro-Guyana hear that some students at the University of Guyana are proclaiming that they “will take Guyana by ballot or bullet”. If these reports are true, we urge these young people to be thinkers instead of idle and dangerous talkers. We also condemn any notion of seizing power through force. Only a few years ago we saw the death and mayhem this can create when two convicted drug dealers (one offering testimony in New York courts) tried to destabilize the PPP government so as to make Guyana a full blown narco-state. We urge the students to remember how the legal and legitimate marches of President Hoyte were destabilized by hooligans paid to attack individuals to make it appear to be an ethnic issue.

Young men and women at UG ought to be debating and persuading their counterparts, regardless of their race, with reason and evidence. If we want government to be changed, we should support the political party or candidate of our choice by using political methods. For instance, we can help with voter registration and turnout in areas or social circles we consider sympathetic to our political preferences. We can call on the party we support to behave in more persuasive ways, for instance, appealing for MPs to be more active and visible in their constituencies. We can tell MPs that the privilege of honest civil service is not about perks, it is about service to the people who pay them: taxpayers.

Calling for violence is clearly dangerous, and is also politically and pragmatically naïve and unproductive. From a political perspective, those suggesting violence will likely be playing into the hands of opponents who characterise them as nothing more than thugs who should be prevented from having access to power for exactly that reason. From a pragmatic perspective, it is possible, and sometimes even likely, that their opponents are far better armed and equipped than one may suppose. It is alternately possible, of course, that these “ballot or bullet” threats are part of a deliberate ploy to further a negative stereotype. If this behaviour is indeed a deliberately sustained racist tactic, we condemn it in the strongest terms.

Yours faithfully,
Errol Chapman
Mark Dacosta
Tarron Khemraj

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