Racial politics will exist as long as people allow it

Dear Editor,

We claim to be free from colonialism and that we are an independent country, but every day and in every way, we still demonstrate the politics and economics of colonial influences. Even when these behaviours are destroying ourselves, we seem to be blind to it. It is because this form of colonialism is rooted in our psychology so it sinks deeper into our psyche with every new generation. Now here we are, divided down the line of race, like the first day the British introduced this evil into our politics and made it a tool of political and economic destruction for us and success for them.

We the people have played a major role in keeping this country’s politics racially divided. We quickly drink the soup of racial rhetoric that politicians hurl at us and when we vote, we give them the opportunity to keep us divided and Guyana deprived of its true potential. Apart from crab-in-the-barrel politics, political racism has been the most destructive element in Guyana. Race is also the main reason why politics has become so closely linked to our daily lives.

The people have never been able to rid themselves of the seemingly never-ending cycle of divide and conquer strategy that infiltrated our beloved Guyana from the minds of those colonials. A truth we must face is that my brothers and sisters need to vote for ideas, actions and good deeds that benefit the country as whole.

The supporters of APNU+AFC and the PPP have to realize that their vision of politics along racial lines is not the solution. Instead, we have to understand that everyone, whether PPP/C or APNU+AFC, has to continue to be vigilant and extremely active in all aspects of our political affairs. The point here is that it has never fully been about race, more than it is about political power and wealth for the leaders and their backers.

The real division in Guyana is and has always been about the concentration of wealth and power among a few (Indian or African) While the majority are in want and need. Racism has always been used as a tool and the people have always been used as the weapon.

The people will have to determine their political future and not leave it up only to politicians to make that decision. Like every other country in the world, Guyana has lobbyists and interest groups, and they are not fighting for the people. We have to understand and define corruption at the systemic, international and national levels.

Guyana is starved of new ideas and perspectives in our politics, and criticism is one of the best ways to inject new ideas and thought. If we continue to suppress the critics, then we are directly suppressing ourselves and the country.

We must learn to embrace the power of independent thinking, remove fear and stereotyping, and see our countrymen and women for their ideas and skills, and not the colour of their skin or texture of their hair. We must understand that racial politics will exist as long as we allow it.

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Watkins

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