Yesterday I read with great interest in the Stabroek News that the `City Chamber Head says SARA probe of oil blocks `waste of time.’’
This probe and that of Pradoville and others is merely an attempt to say that justice is properly served.
As the inheritors of Guyana (83,000 sq. miles), we the descendants of brutalized de-humanized slaves and disadvantaged indentured labourers reserve the right to preserve our patrimony so that we can bequeath to our descendants every square inch of land and all of our natural resources given to us by the Creator.
This means that the allocation of the nation’s property must be done in a decent and proper manner.
When someone therefore publicly states that the SARA probe of oil blocks is a waste of time, it runs counter to wisdom, propriety and patriotism.
I may have been among the first to call young Eddie Boyer to congratulate him on his appointment as President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).
I was excited that GCCI was now being headed by a young progressive business magnate. I was excited and happy as one who believes that young people should be given an opportunity to take Guyana forward to the highest plateau recognizing past mistakes, traditional prejudices and some of the follies of our past.
In the absence of a truth commission, Guyanese are entitled to have someone get to the bottom of some lurid stories of impropriety we’ve heard about.
SARA was established to get to the bottom of these stories we hear about in the market places, cocktail parties and when we sit to sip and chat.
This exercise or probe provides for the underpinning of our democracy.
I am one who is anxious to support the young generation and the likes of Nicholas Boyer, a young man I quite like and therefore offered him the benefit of my experience of three generations in public affairs.
For now, I recommend the following words written by the Prophet Khalil Gibran – of wisdom
“The WISE MAN is he who loves and reveres God. A man’s merit lies in his knowledge and in his deeds, not in his color, faith, race or descent. For remember, my friend, the son of a shepherd who possesses knowledge is of greater worth to a nation than the heir to the throne, if he be ignorant. Knowledge is your true patent of nobility, no matter who your father or what your race may be.
Learning is the only wealth tyrants cannot despoil. Only death can dim the lamp of knowledge that is within you. The true wealth of a nation lies not in its gold or silver but in its learning, wisdom and in the uprightness of its sons.”
Young Boyer and others ought to be aware of events which took place on December 28, 2009 related to the disposal of 103 acres of land at Plantation Liliendaal, Pattensen and Turkeyen. Lands which my slave ancestors made usable by their sweat, blood and tears.
They dug thousands of miles of canals and built dams on the coastal plains with their hands using shovels and spades. There were no bull-dozers, hymacs and trucks during slavery.
This great task took place before William Wilberforce, Politician, Philanthropist, Member of Parliament and Leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade and others secured improved conditions on the sugar plantations in British Guiana before 1834.
This was in addition to efforts of the slaves themselves by uprisings and rebellions; the most notable in 1763 and 1823.
The second stanza of our National Anthem is instructive which says it all –
“Green Land of Guyana, our heroes of yore,
Both bondsmen and free, laid their bones on your shore;
This soil so they hallowed, and from them are we
All sons of one mother, Guyana the free.”
When SARA therefore was asked to investigate what appears to be a capricious transfer of those lands by the likes of Dr. Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington, I expect organisations such as GCCI, religious, social and political groups to applaud such efforts and not to dismiss it as a waste of time.
Let us not forget that when the slave trade was curtailed in 1807, the British administrators did not compensate the slaves but instead compensated the slave owners.
A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. (Marcus Garvey)
For our young people everywhere, ponder these words of the great Mahatma Gandhi who said the future depends on what we do in the present.
Our young people elevated to positions of responsibility must be in the vanguard for justice, moral revival and must appreciate the deeper philosophy which has led to the case in Guyana for reparation.