The PNC (APNU-AFC) is the only group in Guyana that can currently organize, mobilize and defend their supporters against the ongoing and building onslaught of prosecutions, persecutions and race-prejudiced discrimination. We have come to the breaking point in this country or a point of inflection, where racial issues that have been with us for decades need to be addressed frontally. I am dismayed to see this new administration act with such extreme economic prejudice, especially considering that over 85% of property and capital in Guyana is controlled or flow to non-PNC supporters. When the PPP is referenced herein, I am referring to the decision makers, not individuals in the PPP hierarchy with status and titles, but having miniscule power or no power at all to make decisions of consequence.
My political writings over the past ten years have been critical of both the PPP and PNC and was primarily done during their respective tenure in office. What I have found consistently is that the two large parties by their conduct in power, heighten the racial divisions in Guyana. The non-inclusive mentality seems to come to prominence once executive power is bestowed. Due to the support base of the two political parties, the vindictive actions largely target African-Guyanese or Indian-Guyanese depending on if the administration is controlled by the PNC or PPP. It unfortunately forces otherwise well-intentioned Guyanese to immerse themselves into a cul-de-sac of racism and ancestral division, and for these pro-Guyanese to speak for a particular group of people, instead of all Guyanese. Thus, we trend towards being racist and over time the division intensifies and widens.
The behaviour of the PPP since regaining power in August of 2020, with the goodwill of the global community is a case in point. Their continuing assault on the economic well-being of PNC supporters actually justifies the rigging of elections by Burnham and Hoyte between 1964 and 1992. It also justifies attempts by the Granger administration to disenfranchise the votes of PPP supporters in the 2020 elections. The efforts by Lowenfield and Mingo to undermine the majority vote is now defensible. The dismissals in the public sector which are inclusive of junior to senior officers are acts of callousness. Small contractors with government agencies are replaced only because they are perceived to have voted for the PNC. It is understandable when political appointees and those who while holding public office and who have opined publicly on political issues are terminated. However, it is an abuse of power to wage a war against PNC supporters who are dismissed from top-level to lower-level positions in the public sector, especially considering that the public sector is where the core of PNC supporters gain sustainable livelihood.
The onslaught by the PPP decision makers extends to private sector contracts, property ownership, access to capital and use of the law to frustrate and diminish opportunities for the economic advancement of PNC supporters. The small parties have gone into their shells, speechless against the discrimination rendered against PNC supporters, as have most of the mainstream media commentators, who in the past have been critical of both the PPP and the PNC. These silent commentators must know that they are consenting enablers by their silence. Access to contracts and insider treatment for public commentators must not take precedence over exposing overt and covert racism. Can you imagine Walter Rodney breaching his code of ethics for a job or for fear of losing a contract?
We seem to expect progress by focusing on the rear-view mirror, this vendetta mentality must end. There really is not much difference between the handouts by NICIL from 1992 to 2020, even though we had two different political parties holding executive power. One administration may have done a better job of record keeping or more ingeniously covered the gifting of state assets under cabinet approval; the end results were the same, the party supporters received the valuable assets at popcorn prices. When I stood with the PPP to support a democratic transition as part of the Change Guyana Party, following the March 2020 General and Regional Elections, I was not being anti-PNC, I was being pro-Guyanese. It’s sad to see the broken promises on genuine inclusiveness, prosecutions galore and prejudiced economic discrimination by the PPP, bubbling up with ever increasing intensity. How bereft of logic is it not to recognize the opposition, because PNC (APNU-AFC) has claimed that the elections were not free and fair. The law is again being used in 2021 as a weapon against one group of Guyanese, instead the system should be used by the administration’s political and legal luminaries to secure justice and economic opportunities for all Guyanese.
We all have a limited timeline to nurture what is best for Guyana, let us live and act in this manner. Embracing economic disenfranchisement will only ignite the divisions and undermine the social and economic development of Guyana. Instead of trying to renegotiate the awful oil contracts and use the monetary benefits from the renegotiation to improve the livelihood of Guyanese, we are stuck in a time warp of racialization of our economic system; this will not end well. It is shocking to visit some large private sector establishments and see the extent that employment is based on race. Well known individuals in the private sector also embrace this employment discrimination practice. Then we have the sad reality and damaging effects burdened on one group in their efforts to obtain loans or loans of scale, and the added wickedness of the flow of capital to one group at low interest rates and to another group at high interest rates, within the banking sector. This extends the wealth gap between the Guyanese of different ancestries.
We have some journalists and commentators camouflaging their silence on the racial policies now being executed in Guyana by writing extensively on other matters, especially oil and the wrongdoings of the previous administration and blinding themselves to the present race based actions of the current administration. Yet during March-July 2020 the drumbeat for a democratic transition was extensively published across all media, except state media. Writings on oil issues were generally suspended during the referenced period and other issues were given limited traction. Now we need the journalists and commentators to write fearlessly to expose and blunt the avalanche of dismissals and other aforementioned actions by the new administration. It seems to me that anti-racial governance has to be the flagship issue to confront for our country and making it so will overcome the ever-rising tide. The administration must govern openly to reduce inequalities within and between groups of Guyanese and inevitably good governance will lead to the renegotiation of the uniquely atrocious oil contracts. This racial onslaught must be ended!