Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) parliamentarian, Gail Teixeira lampooned the David Granger-led coalition administration for alleged racial discrimination by replacing many Indo-Guyanese with Afro-Guyanese.
“Only conclusion can be a State-instituted ethnic political discrimination exclusion,” she told the House on Day 3 of Guyana’s 2018 National Budget Debate.
Teixeira said that her analysis shows that the lack of inclusion and political discrimination. She accused government of terminated more than 50 heads of agencies, 663 of the 1,063 places on the 98 State boards appointed between June 2015 and August 2017 are Afro-Guyanese; 255 Indo-Guyanese and 28 members are Mixed.
Teixeira added that of the 187 members on the 43 Boards of Guardians under the Poor Relief Law, 48 are Indo-Guyanese, 10 percent are Amerindian and the majority are Afro-Guyanese. “How do you get inclusion in this country, how do you get social cohesion when you are ignoring the diversity of our nation,” he said, adding that half of the population is excluded.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has said in his 2018 National Budget speech that in 2018, government would continue to engage civil society groups and local and central government agencies, through its sensitisation and information sharing initiative, to ensure that they are aware of their roles in achieving social cohesion. Government plans to use housing, culture and art as tools to build social cohesion in this country whose political landscape is divided between East Indians who mostly support the PPPC and Afro-Guyanese who back the People’s National Congress Reform-dominated A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) which is in alliance with the Alliance For Change (AFC).
Jordan assured that government is firmly committed to creating a harmonious society, based on the principles of mutual respect and tolerance for one another, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or sexuality.
“Admittedly, this is a mammoth task, given the distrust that has been sown among brothers and sisters of our Nation or the lack of tolerance for persons who are seen as being different. Mr. Speaker, we will not let such divisions and intolerance continue to hinder our development. The Government will continue to work to rebuild trust and cohesiveness in our society,” he said.
When the PPPC was in government from 1992 to May 2015, numerous accusations of racial and political discrimination had been leveled against it.
A recent United Nations mission that examined the state of African Guyanese has recommended the immediate reconstitution of the Ethnic Relations Commission and the Human Rights Commission.