Seeing the front page of the Stabroek News on December 31, 2016, showing the vigil exercise by members of the PPP outside the Red House, and then reading in your paper as to why this exercise was taking place, disheartened me and many other readers as well. This was especially so considering that we were in a season where peace, joy and goodwill are shared, and that many, many Guyanese friends and family had returned home to share these wonderful days with people they loved.
Your report of the happenings outside the Red House was a sad reflection and reminder to us all that 50 years of Independence as a nation has done very little to stem the poisonous political and racial division that is still nurtured in our country.
I support the views expressed by your columnist, Dr Ian McDonald, which appeared in the Sunday Stabroek on January 1 – New Year’s Day. In his article Dr McDonald draws our attention to the dangers of “group think”, where small closely-knit groups – cabinets, party executives, boards of directors, church congregations or club committees become more and more certain that their collective judgement is infallible. Dr McDonald points out that here in Guyana, group think has prevailed for decades; that ethnic division was group thinking on each side of a cleavage. This prevented solutions and remedies that challenge how each side thinks. Dialogue between all sides has broken down.
Like Dr McDonald, many of us also clung to the hope that the new government would bring about change, but as he stated in his article, that hope is rapidly subsiding. Like him, we, too, ask ourselves how has this new group which was offered so much goodwill from all quarters of the nation, brought us so quickly back to this stale place.
As we continue to celebrate the anniversary of our 50 years of independence as a nation we could take a leaf out of the manual of those who are totally addicted to substance abuse. Like them we cast ourselves at the feet of a higher power so as to be lifted up again.
It requires truly selfless leaders to bring us to a different place – to sing a new song. Only leaders with Faith who dedicate themselves can call us to be One People, One Nation, and One Destiny – under God. I pray that in this new year of 2017, God will raise up leaders to plant fresh challenging and positive ideas and action.
Fr Keith Hardless