Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 August 2021, 23:54 by Denis Chabrol
by GHK Lall
Today I join two events because I believe that they are related. The first occurred at an opposition rally in Brooklyn, with 2,000 Guyanese attending. The second was of an almost overnight Presidential announcement of a ‘one-off’ $25,000 cash grant for some 60,000 Guyanese pensioners, and others living under distressed circumstances. The claim in Brooklyn was of government discrimination against Afro Guyanese; while the presidential announcement was to assist with much-needed relief to vulnerable Guyanese. Which is which and what is what, behind the sharp contentions, and sweet leadership response? And where do this singular gathering in Brooklyn point, as to what exists in Guyana, and what could possibly develop a full head of steam in the future? I start with Brooklyn, and present where I stand, how I interpret.
Two thousand Guyanese came out of their homes in Brooklyn to rage against PPP injustice and PPP discrimination. There were overwhelmingly Black Guyanese. I am not Black, I am Indian. I agree with those claims of injustice and targeted racial discrimination. The PPP record is there. The words and deeds are there, and with only the past year considered. I have read of them, heard of them, seen and detected them. Close up and from the victimized. In one state agency after another, Black Guyanese are isolated and sent packing. I have names, places, and instances; and I think that for each one that I have, the coalition has a score more. They didn’t steal. They didn’t engage in wrongdoing. They were longstanding workers with clean histories. This is in the realm of employment only. Their only crime is their color. Oh! and the color that they followed faithfully (but wrongly) for 19 grueling months. I say wrongly, and I have stated before where my mind and conscience take me.
But following the wrong party is never grounds for witch hunts and terminations and keeping out applicants and torturing those already in the worksite. Theirs is a sorry and tortured lot. The wounds of elections have not closed, and they are probed and stretched further by these ongoing incidents of racial discrimination by the PPP. Undoubtedly, there would be some exaggeration and inflation, given politics and racial politics is at work. But there is also the reality, of which I know, where too many Black public servants have been pushed out to pasture. Though there is no reason that stands scrutiny and honesty, there is rime. The rime is the acid of their color, the pungency of their political affiliation; and, given the closeness of the 2020 elections, clearly it was a case of apaan jaat in near absolute terms on both sides of the racial divide. Now I get down to the dirty.
The fact that 2,000 primarily Black Guyanese could muster interest and energy in Brooklyn to rail against real and suspected PPP racial discriminations presents a disturbing picture. It disturbs because it was an opposition driven event, and which group is still floundering to find its feet and strength. If in its internally divided and weakened state it can stir 2000 overseas Guyanese (Black Guyanese) to spend a summer afternoon, amidst an escalating pandemic, to voice their anger and call for action against what is wrong, then I read much from that painting.
It is that, though enfeebled, the PNC-APNU-AFC (plus outliers) can inspire this degree of energy and following tells me of what else it could do, what more could be lying in store. If the troubled opposition can bring out 2000 in Brooklyn, it can bring out 20,000 in the streets of Guyana, and in a whiff, once its leadership finalizes. Even more importantly, there is deep and intensifying resentment and animosity over elections (misplaced) and natural resources wealth (on the money) political management at the hands of PPP leaders, and from their crooked visions.
The vision of Black Guyanese, wherever they are, is that they will forever be dependent on a cash handout, PPP leadership charity, and condemned to the margins with frail hopes and dreams that hinge on the kindness of PPP leaders. In the minds of Black Guyanese that is totally unacceptable. And if the shoe was on the other foot, then Indian Guyanese would be of the same sharp and stormy disposition. No number of presidential platitudes and Vice-Presidential reassurances find footing in the hearts of Black Guyanese. They don’t in me, and look at who I am. No occasional and tactical $25000 cash relief (national or segmented) serves to satisfy long-terms, the dreams and aspirations of a national race that is more than an electoral statistic; demographically a condemned, perpetually losing one.
Even further, none of these now recognizable red herrings that PPP leaders widely use to rearrange the attention of Guyanese, especially simmering Black ones beginning to agitate, are working as well as before, if they ever did in the first place. When I contemplate all this, I arrive at a rough and undesirable place.
My sense is that there is great discontent in the hearts of Black Guyanese, which racial discrimination only fuels, though at a low burn currently. Discontent is prey to ratcheting pressures, with pressures prone to cultivation, and people open to getting off knees and standing spiritedly. PPP leaders have aided with discriminations and deviousness producing unending deceptions. I believe this: people can accept where they are stoically and resignedly. Or they can say, to hell with this, and put an end to their misery. Of course, misery breeds more misery. I think it is brewing. I think (definitely haughtily) PPP leaders have set the stage with divisive and vengeful actions. I keep saying: this cannot hold, it cannot stand.