Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:01 by GxMediaA veteran political activist has appealed to African Guyanese men to stop domestic violence and instead participate in community efforts to combat illiteracy and create booming village economies instead of depending on East Indian communities.
Political Science Professor, David Hinds told a public meeting in Melanie Damishana, a predominantly African Guyanese village, that there was no reason to kill women because of unfaithfulness.
He said women make up the backbone of villages and endure the challenges while the men go to the interior or Caribbean islands to work.
“This business of beating our women and killing them has to stop. If you are killing your women, you are killing your community. They are the ones who create and recreate our community,” said Hinds who said he was not speaking on behalf of the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA).
He cautioned that perpetrating violence against women would leave a legacy of violence among Blacks who have themselves been victims.
While acknowledging that women are not faultless, Hinds said they were the ones carrying the burden of the African Guyanese community that were overall “in a bad shape.”
“We have to defend our women because when things are down and out, it’s the women who see us through and so my brothers I’m appealing to you tonight please do what you can do in your individual capacity to stop the violence against our women,” said Hinds.
Latest figures released by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) show that of the 85 homicides, 13 were domestic related.
In order to reshape the African Guyanese community, the political activist said plans were in train to establish homework centres, provide teacher training and raise funds for small business ventures.
Against the background of mostly East Indian Guyanese performing better at CXC examinations, he urged African Guyanese to establish their own businesses and spend in their own communities rather than in others.
“If you are in Melanie and you go and spend your money at the market in Enmore when the man in Enmore is going to give a donation for scholarship, he is giving it to children in Enmore so you in Melanie helping to educate children in Enmore and not educating yourself,” said Hinds as an example to illustrate his point.
Education was singled out as the driving force behind the re-energizing and re-development of Black communities by combating poverty, low self-esteem, adult illiteracy and being able to vote for the political party of their choice. “If we pull ourselves out through education we will be starting a minor revolution in our
community,” he said.
He lamented the almost complete reversal of the successes of post-slavery villages that were bought by freed men and women who then established churches, farms and schools and produced high quality teachers and other professionals.
Concerns were raised by the speaker that African Guyanese were not competing with other ethnic groups. “As I look around Guyana and I look at what is happening, it is very clear that African Guyanese are not competing with the other ethnic groups of this country,” he said.
African Guyanese were likened by the political activist unto plantations because they are plagued by dependency, lack of self-respect, absence of self-love, ashamed of their identities, poor education, almost non-existent economic activity and disempowerment.
“We are drifting back into the plantation and we must recognise that and begin to lift ourselves up,” he said.
Hinds, fellow political activist Aubrey Norton and other like-minded persons say they are on a mission to revive economic activity in the villages and avoid disrespect (eyepass) from being meted out to African Guyanese. “When you trade in your village, you keep your money in your village and when you keep your money in your village, you are developing your own village,” he said.
Another option, Hinds said, could be open to African Guyanese would be to offer small interest-free loans to single mothers to start small businesses.
In a speech that he was really “true talk,” Hinds urged attendees to ignore the Peoples Progressive Party Civic-led administration’s entertainment policy through which mega artistes are brought to Guyana “and get our young people crazy to go to those shows.”