At the recent Town Hall style meeting held by RISE to discuss consequences of the No-confidence motion and possible avenues for averting crisis, I clashed with ANUG representative Timothy Jonas when he asserted that no party other than APNU+AFC has the ‘muscle’ (his word not mine) to successfully apply pressure via protest action in Guyana. I reminded the gentleman that in the late 70’s, as a schoolboy, myself and schoolmates staged protest walkouts and marches in the streets of Georgetown, the issue was the arbitrary replacement of our headmaster Fr. Khan by the Burnham administration, we could not accept that Mr. Trotz of Queen’s College (a rival school) would understand our culture or ethos, and knew that he was being placed there to destroy what could not be controlled. St. Stanislaus provided an education beyond academics, minds were being molded to make their mark, Aterna non Caduca (The Eternal not the transitory.) We, the students, were neither members nor followers of any political party; we followed a greater power, our conscience.
I reminded ANUG’s Jonas that no political party owns my conscience or that of any citizen, and as Guyana is once again faced with a government bent on rule without regard for the Constitution, it will be up to every citizen to make a personal decision on what actions he/she will take to protect the Constitution of our country.
Editor, it is not for the PPP/C alone to fight for our rights as citizens, all Guyanese shoulder this responsibility, including supporters of the Granger administration. The rights enshrined in the Constitution are ours and they are under siege. We should not rely on others to protect our freedom, this is the time to examine our conscience and let it be our sole guide.
Lawful actions we can take to protect our rights include:
Make social media posts to air our views.
Write Letters of protest to Editors, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Congressmen, Senators, Members of Parliament and Leaders in Guyana and abroad.
Picketing: A form of protest in which people congregate outside a location where an event is taking place to draw public attention to a cause.
Boycotts: Decline invitations to interact with members of the Granger administration.
Communicate your disapproval of actions by letting Granger et al know through chants of Shame! Boo them in public! Set a date for elections! Be creative with timing and delivery.
Organize mini-motorcades, get friends and drive slowly through towns, blow horns!
Chase them out!
I recognize that protest is not everyone’s cup of tea, the QC boys did not join the Saints lads in our street marches, (even then they would rather sit and pontificate endlessly) the girls of St. Rose’s were magnificent in support however, many did the quiet things that enabled us to get lawyers when we were arrested or let our parents know we were fine after we were locked in and tear-gassed during school hours. For those who cannot or will not protest openly, I urge you to find ways and means, sick-outs, work stoppages, go-slows any legal way to force the government to respect the Constitution and return to the rule of law. Where there is a will there is a way, in the words of American Abolitionist Henry David Thoreau “If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.”