Running up to the elections I wrote a letter that was captioned ‘Elections are wired to race.’ Though there is a new government I don’t think my assessment was wrong, and as Rohan Sooklall correctly wrote in a letter, our political landscape is racially divided.
The elections were nasty and the ordinary people were exploited, manipulated and played; moral decency was stripped to the bone. It seemed as if nothing was sacred any more, and the views expressed rattled the brains of those still with a modicum of decency. These were campaigns devoid of decorum, laced with personality assaults and plain vulgarism. It was a period where the filth that was unleashed found a haven on Facebook, which had a field day; many in the lead were leaders!
Editor, I’m aware that open honest opinion oftentimes is not seen as politically correct, still, I want anyone to look me in the eye and with a straight face tell me that this election has made us any better and we are now set for a grand take-off as one people one nation one destiny. I am waiting to hear from him/her. I have not had the privilege of being among Indians and have not heard a single utterance from any except what has been rumoured, but listening to the utterances of young adult Africans in conversation was most vile and disturbing; most of the things parroted hardly made any sense. But it was even worse hearing the things that were said by grown-up folks.
And really I have to agree with Ryhaan Shah – who is never one to slight – when she said that judging from the just concluded elections she doesn’t see our people coming together and living out our motto. For me I see our motto as just fancy empty words that sound nice, until we can really get them to start meaning what they say. Editor, I am not going to be in denial about the charges of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and other improprieties that were allowed to run unchecked, and for which the accusing fingers were well in order. I further agree that it is unhealthy for a political party to be in power for too long since it breeds arrogance and other counter-productive behaviour. But tell me, is there not a single solitary good that was done? That nothing they did, not even with highly qualified, personnel, consultants, experts, professionals, both foreign and local, nothing was ever good or right?
Well I have here to endorse former PM Sam Hinds when he wrote: “I was half expecting that the MC would have extended some words of appreciation to past President Bharrat Jagdeo for boldly and courageously pushing forward against criticism from many directions to have that facility (Stadium) built and available” (SN, June 3). I have to agree that that would have been a timely and magnanimous acknowledgement. My observation is that the many congratulations that came pouring in for the APNU+AFC victory were overwhelmingly Afro-Guyanese, and further that in all the upbeat demonstrations, euphoria and celebrations there was not a large spread of Indians; not even those supportive of the APNU+AFC alliance were many. The smiles on the faces of Guyanese were racially lopsided. The election it seems, has driven us a bit more apart, widened the racial cleavage − a setback. Is this the Guyana we crave? A Guyanese victory!
I dare say that we are in bad shape when everything done by an African-led government is seen as bad by Indians and everything done by an Indian-led government is seen as bad by Africans. This kind of behaviour brings Walter Rodney to mind and so I ask: Whither goeth Guyana? I noted also the loud talk on racial unity resonating and reverberating around, but the lips from which this clamouring is flowing are heavily ethnically lopsided − but we will see. There is hesitancy from the other side and its response is more measured and with a question mark. But what is certain is that we can’t by mere shouting and wishing expect to mend our racial cleavage without deliberately and sincerely working to achieve it. In other words we must walk the talk.
And since this new administration is seen as starting over, then without a doubt there is much to be done. For me a priority is that the lawlessness which has pervaded the land should be yanked in with lightning speed. I need to repeat a charge I made against the former government: in spite of whatever they have done to their credit they can’t escape the accusation of the moral decline and social decadence which spun out of control. I dare say the minds of our people need cleansing just as do the drains and the city. Yet I am hoping that down the road there is a positive side to all the distasteful negative things that took place that will serve as an awakening of consciousness, especially of our young people, towards a new, more enlightened, more responsible and objective approach beyond the blind, narrow, ignorant confines of prejudice and racism.
I wrote a poem titled the ‘Mask’ about people not showing their true selves. Boy! Was I ever so accurate. Look for the words of the prophet between the raindrops.