Put Guyana First

Hecklers, offensive statements that go against the nature of national unity, a surprise appearance by a Santa Claus, secrets exposed around oil bonuses – haven’t the Guyanese people been betrayed enough?

Insubordination – the ‘Bishop had not exhausted his queries about proposed expenditure under the Ministry of the Presidency’ though the time set for examination had expired, so he disregarded instructions to be seated given by the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland and remained standing. In questioning the character and actions of Member of Parliament Bishop Juan Edghill, many wonder if he really is a man of God or a false prophet. Or maybe a strategist in solidarity with his colleagues—like ‘they shall overcome’ while their mansions glisten under the sun in the Pradovilles.

After the pandemonium, an opposition member, former Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, tearfully claimed that she was punched in the chest and stomach by police. But many doubt her as the video footage that has emerged so far revealed policemen being assaulted and a mutual pulling and tugging between members of the opposition and the police. 

A voice also shouted “Rape! Rape!” There was no woman or man being violated. No. Men with the lust for power have degenerated to the point of screaming ‘rape’ for the purpose of adding to the chaos. It all invites the question: Is it all just a game?

Had one been telling this tale to someone who had no knowledge of what occurred between last week and this week in the National Assembly, one would be tempted to believe that some crafty playwright had constructed a good farce; that the cast of annual stage productions like ‘Nothing to Laugh About’ had come up with brilliant satire that would attract sold out crowds’ night after night. Or that the Link Show had returned in all its glory. But no. Described above were the actions of some of the supposedly best and brightest, who are tasked with leadership.

Guyana’s parliament has always been a hub for entertainment for as long as I can remember. I say entertainment but really they are embarrassing situations that cause discomfort, sadness and disappointment and the only response sometimes is to laugh off the uneasiness.

But things have long passed the stage of nervous laughter. They have long passed the point of capturing images of parliamentarians sleeping and drooling at their desks; or politicians constantly walking out of parliament to the events of recent. Who is finding this amusing? As an outsider looking in, my confidence in the performers in this political drama has moved from slowing dwindling to almost expunged.

We have had enough laughs. Young men and young women do not wish to laugh anymore at the candidates for the best actors and best actresses awards in the bad reality show. We do not wish to be appeased anymore by some temporary balm of betterment to come. We do not wish to be quiet because of the fear of victimisation. We want to be heard now and we are shouting ‘Put Guyana First!’

Our former dictators formed a barricade around the defiant Bishop Juan Edghill, who refused to leave the parliamentary chamber after being instructed by the Speaker of the House, like some rubber bullets, full metal jacket bullets or water cannons had come their way. But this is not about measuring the weight of assaults on the people of this nation. This is not about the murdered Lindeners or Crum-Ewings or Waddells, whose blood was shed for this land. Maltreatment is maltreatment and if members of the opposition are hurt by police it is unacceptable.

I will not resolve to dwelling in the past to try to justify wrongs of the day. I am concerned with moving Guyana forward. I am concerned with complaints that I have heard over and over again from children of the 80s, 90s and even 2000s, who have quickly lost hope in the present government and are once again on that journey out. The ones who are ashamed of the opposition and also have no confidence them. The ones who do not want to vote for either camp in 2020. Is oil supposed to bring about a miracle? Are players like Juan Edghill expecting to save Guyana now? Were the PPP/C’s 23 years just a trial run?

They formed a barricade around him. In the height of chaos created by their own defiance, they formed a barricade. Who will form a barricade around the young people and assure them that their futures are in good hands? Who will form a barricade around them and have them believe that after graduating from the University of Guyana or skills training that they too will enjoy the good life? Who will form a barricade around them and blot away the hopelessness and replace it with leaders they can trust; leaders they are confident have their best interests at heart; leaders who will not scoff at their abilities or overlook them; leaders who will encourage; leaders they can aspire to be like; leaders who will make them believe that they too can have a say in shaping the future of this land?

I am a frustrated creative. In the past few years I have been asked many times: What are you still doing in Guyana? It hurts to accept that the conditions for me to fully evolve might not exist here. This is home. I love my home. I want to help build my home. Why is it that so many believe that to achieve the best one must leave?

The gimmicks, deception and charades are not looking good in the eyes of the young people. To compare some of the politicians to children might be an insult to the intelligence of children.

How long are they going to put their egos, their selfish ambitions and their thirst for power before Guyana? How long are they going to continue to use race to divide us? How long are some of us going to be apologists instead of holding them accountable?

Put Guyana first! Do your best to fix her! Do your best for her children! Whether in government or opposition, put your self-centeredness aside and put Guyana first!

Remember, the national unity you spoke of? Remember why the majority voted for change in 2015? Stop behaving like all we did was exchange one set of dictators for another set.

Do you not hear the cries of Guyana’s children? Wasn’t it time in 2015 when you preached it was time?

Opposition, do you really want the best for Guyana? Another chance to show us you can get it right? Perhaps those who blindly follow you believe but all many others see are desperate people with a thirst for power who will go to any lengths to cause chaos and confusion in this our beautiful land because they must rule.

Dear Government of Guyana;

Dear Opposition,

Put Guyana first.

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