Racial politics coming back to haunt PPP, PNC

Dear Editor,

The reality is Guyana is too far gone down the road of racial politics. It won’t change. The PPP and PNC won’t change. Jagdeo’s recent rhetoric plus Granger’s actions since 2015 confirm this will not change. Third parties with feel-good ethnic inclusivity messaging don’t work. With oil money coming, race politics most definitely won’t change. Race politics leads to race politics. To think that Amerindians and Mixed Races were not going to follow the lead of the Indian and African voting constituencies, particularly when the oil riches emerge, is foolish. People will do what they have naturally learnt. Guyanese have learnt race politics. They have learnt it is a terrible yet forceful weapon. Amerindians will be given a chance to use that weapon if Mr. Shuman proceeds. Who knows, maybe Mixed Races will soon follow.

You cannot dominate a nation with racial politics for six decades, destroy its economic and educational sanctity, refuse to address the issue of racial confrontational politics, encourage winner-takes-all endgames, do nothing to confront ethnic competitiveness and then expect other rising racial groups will not venture down the same perfidious political path you have created when they sense their time has come or the lure of oil wealth is too hard to ignore. The monster of racial politics and ethnic power struggles the PPP and PNC have created and perpetuated for the past 60 years is now coming back to haunt them when they are in demographic decline.

Nothing of substance has been done in the past 60 years and in decades of PNC and PPP domination to fix the problem of ethnic aggrandizement, racial agitation and the psychic tragedies of this failed experiment. Look at this current government’s actions as a stark reminder of this tragedy.

So, the talented Lennox Shuman and his friends will fight the fire with its own fire. Some talented Mixed Race leader will do the same thing if Shuman succeeds. The tragedy in this country, and it is perhaps the most chilling and profoundly philistinic irony of Guyana, is that we probably need the Amerindians and Mixed Races to form their own political movements to shatter the hegemony of race. That slaughters winner-takes-all politics. It destroys the foundation for race politics. It reshapes the political landscape. The spoils will have to be shared, parties will have to reform and elements of national unity governments will emerge.

Yours faithfully,

M. Maxwell

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