‘Social cohesion’ vs peaceful co-existence

-another review of some Coalition negatives

Even if not the state’s Supreme Executive Authority as His Excellency is, some forms and levels of authority can empower you to come up with brand new names, titles and descriptions for national occasions, events, agencies.

So one guess as to who came up with the post – 2015 “Social Cohesion”? Correct, you got it right! A whole government ministry was created to promote this concept, then this desirable national trait amongst the various groups of people who constitute the Guyanese nation.

But has this type of cohesion, “social” cohesion, ever been defined? For the ministry, its officers or for the actual ordinary citizens required to cohere? Hardly. Whoever came up with this cohesion business still has some more work to do. As an old-time teacher I know that social comes from society. Cohesion means roughly sticking together, to cohere. So some official in high office and authority wants our society at large to stick and stay together as a people committed to the united existence as a Guyanese nation. Great concept and aspiration! On paper!

I suspect that there should be other forms of cohesion – political, cultural, economic for example. But one has to be ever mindful of the challenges, pitfalls and sensitivities regarding those latter. I guess that there are a few activities and structures that officialdom can create to engender national cohesion and (even) consensus. But I remain a quintessential skeptic about governmental roles in trying to promote national harmony. To begin with, there are those who are not matured enough to embrace activities – even advice – emanating from authority they do not `like’; don’t appreciate, did not or would not vote for.

The better form of cohesion, harmony, even “unity” – Frankly Speaking – should flow from the people, the varied groups themselves – naturally, however slowly. For example, I’ve  always been fascinated by the fact that so many thousands of persons descended from Hindus have converted to Christianity in our Guyana. Just check today’s congregations and Pastors.

Our people co-exist

Any thrust to promote any form of national cohesion anywhere has to acknowledge, identify and accept existing differences amongst a population. Nations accommodate political, cultural, economic, ideological, philosophical differences. When these are recognised and appreciated the various groups of people may be persuaded to accept diversity and make it work as a practical whole.

We must never expect wholesale acceptance of differences. Too many humans would always feel that their “way” is the better one. I hold the view that Guyanese must learn to live with cultural and political diversity. We don’t have to agree. Let there be structures to vanquish discrimination and perpetuate fairplay and opportunity. On the economic front much of our national bitterness and discontent would diminish significantly if our small population can all be made to benefit from the management of our national resources – currently and in the near future.

Oh and go easy on those who tell you – like the national motto – that we are “one people”. (Originally all from Africa and all humans, yes, but we have a right to be different, diverse). Let’s co-exist peacefully. Love flows naturally. Or hardly at all. (End of sermon.)

Recalling some coalition negatives

Two or three columns ago I essayed to be largely pro – APNU+AFC coalition. I used Minister David Patterson’s pronouncements of his own ministry’s current and imminent programmes, to reflect vision and fulfillment of woefully delayed development. Gave six months for review and assessment.

I’ve been persuaded to record today all that I – and numerous others including the official political opposition, of course – regard as government’s missteps, blunders, even mismanagement. Here goes – a partial listing.    

• Giving themselves salary increase way too soon  • Minimum government–union negotiations to improve government workers’ pay and conditions • Shady, undetermined deals related to D’Urban Park and residential house/drug “Bond” • Removal of certain subsidies for senior citizens • Governmental domination deciding when parliament meets • Political interference to abort Corentyne Republic flag–raising • Bullyism to postpone Dr Jagan’s anniversary stamps launch • Indecision in managing GuySuCo’s necessary “right – sizing” • The two big ones: his Excellency’s unilateral choice of GECOM chairman (terrible!) and • The government–Exxon initial agreements.

Note that I’ve left out the seemingly – valid criticisms and warnings from Dr Jagdeo’s opposition and his surrogates. There is time to return to those. Remember however two considerations – PNC and PPP: fifty one years; His Excellency’s coalition: three years, and secondly, if you voted for His Excellency and PNC you have the best right to criticize constructively. Tribe or no tribe!

Ponder now…

• 1) When will the old co-op bank building in Stabroek be renovated and made into a vendors mall?

•2) Do you realise that there is both the reality and futility regarding the question of race?

•3) Which Third World countries did the old Soviet Union/Russia exploit to become the power it is today?

•4) World Cup football joy! Watch the referees and coaches behave like fathers to those players. And the world’s most–disciplined security guards are those who keep watching the spectators all the time!

Til next week! allanafenty@yahoo.com

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