What do we do to build a better Guyana?

Dear Editor,

The most important question we should be asking ourselves is what do we do to build a better Guyana? And the real answer is yet to be realized in actions. Since we are not able to make decisions based on ideas and strategies and we are still voting for race, we are moving from one extreme to the next, which is counterproductive and to the detriment of the youth.

The hope to have political and economic parity as a collective, regardless of race, is more elusive than ever before in Guyana. But our politicians pretend this is not so and behave as if everything is normal under their rule. But we must accept that the country is divided down the middle and that is not because I am saying it now; it is more of an historical disease without a cure so far.

For us to change the course of our country’s disastrous history, there are four basic premises that all of us must embrace sooner rather than later. Of course these are not the only premises but from my experience as an average Guyanese, they are critical.

The first premise is we must consciously separate politics from our ability to develop as a people. In other words we must relegate politics to its original function of state affairs and public service. We must nurture the practice of self-development and community strengthening through micro-economics, collective security and leadership.

Secondly, we must see politics as a process based on ideas and measurable successful outcomes and not race. When we move away from the primitive and insecure behaviour of race politics and move towards ideas, Guyana will see a transformation for the greater good. We have to come to the realization that the ability to be great politicians is not limited to race but can be demonstrated in any skin colour.

Third, we have to quickly learn to embrace unity based on reason in the interest of the country. By sharing ideas and working together for common solutions for Guyana, we will inevitably build a higher level of understanding and trust for each other.

Functional pluralism is achievable and it is vital for our success.

Finally, the private sector has a moral and patriotic duty to foster an environment of race-free relations that should be coded in their policies of conduct and procedures. By creating a business culture of racial parity and being corporate citizens free of race identification, we will see a culture of respect and working together evolve more quickly.

From my observation and experience, our greatest weakness has been fear of each other. I see Indians acting the way they do out of a sense of fear of Africans and Africans portraying behaviour of intimidation because of insecurity. This dynamic has spiralled into a fault line driven so deeply into our country that if we don’t act soon, it will require generations to reverse it.

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Watkins

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