August 5, 2015

Against Government Assistance to students

Dear Editor,
It’s a shame and disgrace to see a certain political party using a couple of parents to picket the Government and the Education Ministry for a mere pittance of $10,000. The “Because We Care” voucher was invented for their own political gains, while some of these same people are being accused of stealing millions of dollars from the State treasury while they were in office.
I stopped and I saw two top officers belonging to the PPP, which is heading the Regional Democratic Council of Region Two, holding placards. These officers are being paid by taxpayers to conduct the Government’s business and should have been in their office to meet with members of the public to hear their complaints and address them. I was later made to understand that a number of rice farmers went to meet with the officers to fix their dams so they could bring out their paddy without much difficulty.
On arriving at the office, they were allegedly told that the two officers were not in office, they were on the road leading a picketing exercise with parents. The farmers and other members of the public came from as far as Charity and Supenaam and nearby communities only to be turned away without seeing them. As far as I can remember, the vouchers were implemented in 2014, coming near to the May 11 2015 elections. Most of those persons who received this money did not buy uniforms or books for their children, some of these children do not even attend school – the money were spent on other things.
There was no monitoring of how the money was spent. As a little boy I had to help my parents in the rice field to plant and reap the rice when school was closed so my parents could get money to feed my seven brothers and two sisters and buy school clothes, books and shoes. If our school uniforms were torn, my mother would patch them and we would attend school with them; sometimes we would go to school without shoes when they were damaged.
The only thing we received in our school days was two cups of milk and biscuits from the school feeding programme, and there was nothing like brand name pants, shirts and shoes. My mother after receiving money from my father’s paddy crops would go to the shop and buy cloth to take to the village tailor who then sewed our school clothes. Without help from Government, I managed to get a higher education. I first started out school at St Agnes Anglican in Danielstown, some two miles away from home. Every morning and afternoon I would walk to school; life was no bed of roses. I later attended Rosignol Secondary School in Berbice very far from my home and later went to Berbice High School in New Amsterdam.
My parents made a lot of sacrifices to educate nine children without assistance from the Government. I also made that same sacrifice for my two sons without those vouchers and they are today educated young men pursuing Master’s Degrees overseas. So people should abstain from depending on handouts from any Government and should just make the sacrifice without allowing political parties to manipulate them. A parent’s duty is to look after and take care of their children from nursery to university.

Yours faithfully,
Mohamed Khan

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Kissoon has no solutions, just vile criticisms

Dear Editor,
Guyana is indeed a fascinating place. Imagine more than half of the population had their legitimate choice of Government snatched from them by GECOM and more so, Surujbally.   PPP/C supporters protested in a peaceful and dignified manner. If the APNU/AFC coalition was in the place of the PPP/C, hell would have broken loose in Guyana. There would have been riots and the stores, especially on Regent Street, would have been targeted. The PPP/C should refuse to take part in Local Government Elections if Surujbally is still at the helm of GECOM.
I try my best to ignore Freddie Kissoon and his vile, scandalous daily attacks that he passes for intellectual writing. When someone has so much hatred as Kissoon has for the PPP/C, then it is obvious that his ramblings become poisonous, heavily biased writing severely lacking objectivity. The latest, colossal blunder that Kissoon committed was in his column of August 1, 2015, “What about a Black Guyanese entrepreneurial class.” In this malicious column, Kissoon claims, “That man, Jagan, had an employment bias towards East Indians during his presidency.”
This is a horrible attack on former President Dr Jagan who has an unblemished and clean track record where Guyanese, irrespective of race, religion or creed, were allowed the freedom to pursue their dreams. African Guyanese love Dr Jagan and this was evident when Buxtonians blocked his funeral cortege (heading to Berbice) to pay their respects. Only Kissoon seems to think otherwise.
Ravi Dev has presented Kissoon with a very excellent response in his letter “We cannot escape marginalisation in Guyana” in which he  presents three powerful remedies to the problem that Kissoon suggests, namely, “federalism, shared governance and alternating the presidencies”. The difference between Kissoon and Dev is huge. Dev offers solutions to problems while Kissoon attacks people, calling them (including Dev) “Indian supremacists”.
This is why I was disappointed when Dev stopped writing his feature column in the said newspaper Kissoon writes for. He offers an intellectually stimulating discussion along with viable solutions to various problems.
Kissoon ended his column with the following, “Will I be a jinxed human from now on? According to Clement Rohee when goat bite yuh, you can never be successful in life.” You be the judge, Kissoon! Interesting enough when a goat literally took a bite at you in reality.

Yours faithfully,
Rakesh Singh

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Women should be able to walk the streets unoppressed

Dear Editor,
If I were to say that men in Guyana have no respect for women, I might be accused of being partial, exaggerated or worse, a misandrist. As such, I invite any man to take a walk in a woman’s shoes down the road, any road, at any given hour of the day, to experience what it feels like to be on the other side.
Street harassment is a daily plight in the lives of Guyanese women. Most women in this country are forced to walk or use public transportation in order to go about their daily businesses. However, walking a few meters without having to endure the obscenities hurled at us is purely fiction. Without distinction in age or ethnicity, all women stand to be harassed by Guyanese men on the streets.
Such harassment involve cat calls, yelling sexist comments, insisting on obtaining a response from the victim, making crude sexual remarks about her body or what can be done with it. Sometimes this goes to the extreme of physical abuse which include touching, groping and rape. The age of these victims of street harassment seem to have no influence on men engaged in these nasty attacks that often target teenagers.
While we live in a crime drenched society, the insecurity felt by women is worsened by the relentless harsh street harassment we are subjected to. Being in a crowded place can sometimes reveal itself to be a true nightmare. I myself have had the experience of being groped during the Mashramani celebrations by a young man who didn’t seem to be 18 yet.
The question is, what is society and the Government doing about this?  It is clear that the repetition of what is being practised by elders influence the action of young people. However, there needs to be a mentality shift, and members of the civil society need to compensate for the Government’s failure in addressing such issues. Awareness needs to be raised so that the predicament of women is understood by all and that respectful behaviour by men becomes what it should be in Guyana – a norm.
Street harassment exists in every society I have visited, but never have I actually felt harassed and unsafe as I have in Guyana with regard to the behaviour of men. Yet, it is these very women, mothers and sisters to all, who have birthed the men of this country, and will birth those leaders of the future. In this regard at least, we deserve to be able to walk the streets unoppressed.

Sincerely,
Stacy Cheong

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Urgent diversification of the rice and sugar industries

Dear Editor,
I would like to commend all those involved in putting together the National Rice Industry Conference. The feature address by the President and the presenters covered most of the concerns in the industry, except its sustainability.
The farming community was well represented and did air its concerns, mostly on timely payment by millers, ways of bringing down the cost of production and paddy price for the coming crop.
Unfortunately, no firm decision was made on any of the concerns, and no mention was made on sustainability of the industry. It was highlighted that the number of farmers are getting smaller and holdings are getting larger, obviously for a reason.
Naturally, the bigger farmers are better equipped to have a greater return on investment, because of lower cost of production and higher yields.
Lots of numbers have been thrown around for cost of production; however, I have decided to consider the numbers presented by Mr John Tracey, as they seem most realistic.
Consider $80,000 for cost of production of one acre and the farmer gets 30 bags per acre and is paid $3000 per bag.
Then his profit per acre per crop is $10,000. For two crops per year its $20,000 per acre.
The National minimum wage per month is $50,000; that is $600,000 per year.
This shows that a farmer should cultivate a minimum of 30 acres of paddy before he can make the minimum wage, which is impossible for the farmer, wife and children to support.
There are many farmers who cultivate much less than this acreage, resulting in lots of dissatisfied farmers. A farmer cultivating five acres will only earn $100,000 per year.
The problem is compounded by the fact that there is not any other form of employment available on a regular basis. Obviously, this is the root cause of the problem, but was still not addressed at the Conference.
Bottom line is that it’s not a rice industry issue, but a social issue.
It is important that this issue is addressed urgently and a solution found.
The best and only solution at this time is diversification, which will result in less acreage under paddy cultivation, resulting in less rice production, which might not be a bad idea, as we are very vulnerable, because of having to market about 75 per cent of our production, while only about five per cent of world’s production is traded.
Mr Kuldip gave a 32 per cent of cost for labour, which is way too high, as the industry is relatively mechanised, and the farmer is left with lots of spare time, which can only be taken up by him doing another job.
A farmer cultivating five acres of paddy, earning $100,000 per year, which is just minimum wage for two months, lives way below the poverty line. With diversification, he can work wonders by earning lots more in a year, and keeping himself beneficially occupied year round.
An ADP (Export Agriculture Diversification Programme) should be introduced and involves three Clusters: Fruit and vegetables, livestock and aquaculture/ aquaponics.
This was implemented recently but failed miserably, mainly because of non-involvement of stakeholders and the authority. This system can be implemented, both in the rice and sugar industries.
Consider a rice farmer or a Guyana sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) employee with five acres of land. There will be a mixture of livestock, fruits and vegetables and aquaculture/aquaponics. The mixture will be:
Aquaculture/aquaponics – two acres to produce 5000 fish per acre
livestock… A combination of two dairy cows and six goats… zero grazing.
Fruits and vegetables – a mixture of cassava, sweet potatoes, black eye, boulanger, tomato, pepper, sorrel, passion fruit, pumpkin, water melon,etc.
The layout is very important, as the aquaponic system will be used to allow the farmer to utilise the water from the fish pond as a fertiliser and a source of moisture, resulting in a high priced organic crop.
It is assumed that the farmer and his family (when available) will work six days per week at six hours per day, earning $5 000 per day; that is $30,000 per week equal $120,000 per month equal $1,440,000 per year against $100,000 per year if he were cultivating paddy and will also be occupied year round. At the end of the day, he will also have lots more available by sale of vegetables, milk, fish, and sale of live animals (goat and cattle).

Investment
For the farmer to get started, the following will have to be done.
1. He will have to fence the five acres.
2. Dig two ponds a ton acre each. Acquire fingerlings and feed, infrastructure for drainage and irrigation already in place.
3. Acquire two dairy cows capable of producing two gallons milk each per day and six goats (ewes, capable of their off springs getting to 100 lbs at the end of one year and producing three births of two each in two years), utilising Artificial Insemination (AI) for both cattle and goats.

4. Gardening tools
5. Planting materials
6. Finance (fixed and variable)
The farmer will expect some initial help from the Government as it’s a new idea to be executed.
The five acres owned by the farmer, whether leased or transported has lots of value and can be held as security at a development bank, at an affordable interest rate.
Because of the nature of the different crops to be cultivated, after a couple months, the farmer can start receiving income providing the market is available.

Markets
Very, very important that this is assured before the farmer goes into production.

Technology
The relevant agencies will have to become active.
These are:
NAREI – National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute
GLDA – Guyana Livestock Development Agency
NGMC – New Guyana Marketing Corporation

Respectfully,
Beni Sankar, A A

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From what or whom have we emancipated?

Dear Editor,
Because I have detected a marked reluctance by some Editors to carry letters even remotely critical of the present Administration, I am sending this letter to all the major print media houses to prove my point.

I am not politically aligned; never was, never will be. But I am politically conscious. What is truly happening in Guyana is taking all Guyanese down the precipice. For now, the supporters of the present Government are gloating. Over what?

That Ministers of the previous Government are being hauled before the courts? That is nothing new. Even Presidents of several countries have been impeached. What should bother us all is that the previous Government did not prosecute any People’s National Congress Government Ministers when it got into power. And please do not suggest that there was no corruption under the Burnham regime. The Granger regime is still to probe into the involvement of some at its own top echelons. If Minister Ramjattan were to carry out his idle threat to investigate how some people got firearm licenses, I would advise that he starts with the mining community. Remember, two Firearm Licence books went missing from the Police Force? One wonders if these would have been used to issue bogus licenses. One licence was allegedly being sold for $800,000. It is also alleged that $300,000 went to one who is now pretending to be holier than a Saint and $500,000 would have gone to a now deceased top Policeman. Minister Ramjattan should probe these allegations.

The change in Government seems to be just a change of who will now dip into corruption, with no interest in this country’s development. People of this dear land, wake up from your ethnic biased slumber. Corruption existed in both the previous Administrations and the current Government.
August 1 was Emancipation Day but the question is, have we truly been emancipated; and from whom or what?

Faithfully,
Charles Selman

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We must vote sensibly and with confidence at LGE

Dear Editor,
I read with great delight and utmost happiness in your newspaper dated July 31, 2015 that Local Government Election will be held sooner rather than later (December was touted as the tentative month). This as many have said before is long overdue and should have been called as early as yesteryear.

Having read the article I must congratulate the Honourable Communities Minister, Mr. Ronald Bulkan for not just fighting for LGE while in opposition but for ensuring the early holding of LGE under his watch as the shadow Minister. This shows honesty and trustworthiness on the part of the Minister and largely on the Granger – led Government. What is even more delightful, is the fact that the real power will be in the hands of the local bodies which would be elected by the people for the people. The passage of the most recent Local Government  bill in the national assembly shows that this Granger – led administration is not about absolute or maximum power but rather to give the people power.

In addition to the above, now that the people have been given the authority and power to elect local representatives of their choice to manage the affairs of their community without central Government’s interference, they must chose competent and well educated persons who are driven by success through hard work and determined to champion development. Voters must screen the prospective candidates to ensure that they are more than capable to do the job and do it right. Two good traits to look for are their level of activism in the community and how much they have been fighting for good governance with honesty during the previous PPP administration tainted with corruption.

In conclusion, I say without any fear of contradiction, let us be cognizant of the fact that this is a more serious election that the one recently held. It is more serious because we would be electing people to be servants who would be controlling resources that would have a direct impact on our lives. We must elect the blood that supports change and not just change but change for the better. Vote for community leaders that are honest, reliable and willing to go beyond the call of duty to serve your interest.

Sincerely
Ganesh Mahipaul

Editor’s note
Calls for Guyanese to be disqualified from contesting elections just because they belong to a particular political party cannot be published. The Constitution is clear on what is considered a disqualification for exercising the franchise.

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Op-Ed: Trafficking in Persons: A Global Challenge

Dear Editor,
It is time to be frank.  The world has a human trafficking problem.  The United States has a human trafficking problem.  Guyana has a human trafficking problem.  This problem needs to be addressed.  And we all have to fight it – together.  We are all humans.  We are all connected, and we have to look out for the common human interest.  Not only can we each make a difference, but we each must make a difference by taking the responsibility to protect each other from modern-day slavery.

The U.S. Department of State’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report was released on July 27.  Guyana was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third year in a row.  While the report concludes that Guyana does not yet fully meet the minimum international standards for the elimination of trafficking, it recognizes that the country is making significant efforts to do so.

One area of grave concern is the failure to hold convicted human traffickers accountable.  Despite the pervasiveness of the problem, only eight individuals have ever been convicted for trafficking in persons in Guyana – three in 2012, one in 2013, one in 2014, and two in 2015.  Of those eight people, every single one of them (including this year’s convictions) has been released on bail, pending appeal.  None of these alleged traffickers are currently being punished for their crimes. Not only does this put their victims at risk for reprisal or re-trafficking, such treatment is unlikely to provide any deterring effect on potential traffickers.  Understandably, then, the 2015 Report suggests that Guyana vigorously investigate and prosecute sex and labor trafficking cases and hold convicted traffickers accountable with time in prison that is commensurate with the severity of the crime.

The United States prepares the annual TIP Report not to criticize but rather to call attention to a serious global threat.  By calling attention to the problem, we seek to stimulate discussion, attention, and most importantly action. I say again: we have a global human trafficking problem.  We believe that only a concerted global effort can bring this human tragedy from the shadows into the light.

The new Government of Guyana campaigned on, and has since repeated, a pledge to attack the trafficking in persons problem.  I am both hopeful and optimistic that progress will be made this year.  To help make this progress, the United States Government stands ready to assist by increasing the capacity of law enforcement personnel and other relevant ministries.  For example, we recently funded the travel of six Guyanese officials to the Trafficking in Persons and Child Exploitation Course at the International Law Enforcement Academy in El Salvador.  We also are procuring funding to work with several local NGOs to help increase their ability to help fight trafficking and assist victims.

Although more than 20 million people today are trapped in the modern-day slavery, oftentimes it is difficult to recognize the signs of a trafficking victim.  So what does a victim of trafficking look like? A victim can look like the cook at a mining camp near Mahdia, the victim may be the store-hand on Regent Street in Georgetown, the boy working in the cane fields of Region 6, the barmaid in Baramita, the logger in Region 10, the girls working in kaimus in the Rupununi.  They look like your sister.  They look like your brother.  They look like us. They look like what they are – the sons and daughters of Guyana.  The sons and daughters of Suriname, Venezuela, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and our neighbors across the globe.  And they may have come from any background.

What makes someone a trafficking victim?  The technical legal definition is explained in the full 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report (http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/).  The principle underpinning trafficking is the exploitation of someone – either in forced labor or forced prostitution.  Any child under 18 years of age subjected to prostitution is also a trafficking victim by definition.  At the heart of this phenomenon is the traffickers’ goal of exploiting and enslaving their victims and the coercive and deceptive practices they use to do so.

One of the most terrifying aspects of trafficking in persons is that many people are tricked into becoming victims.  Their stories often begin with aspirations for a better life and a lack of options to fulfill them.  Traffickers exploit these ambitions.  A young woman from the Coastland who is offered a job as a barmaid in the Hinterland might arrive to find that she is being forced into sex work.  An agricultural worker could be promised a lucrative job, but his employer forces him into debt bondage by charging the employee exorbitant prices for necessary goods or services like housing, food, or transportation. In such cases, such people find that they are unable to leave jobs in mines, factories, and agricultural fields, on construction sites and fishing boats, or escape the commercial sex trade, which often flourishes alongside these industries.

Each of us can make a difference, so let us all commit or recommit ourselves to the eradication of trafficking in persons.  Much like the scourge of domestic violence, human trafficking thrives in the shadows.  It flourishes when good people do and say nothing.  Please do not turn a blind eye to your sister behind the bar, to your brother working the fields.  The saying goes that sunlight is the best disinfectant.  So let us shine a piercing and illuminating light on the plague of trafficking in persons by speaking out.  If you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, report it to the authorities.  If a friend or family member is in a vulnerable situation, ask them if they are okay.  Ask if they are trapped.

It bears repeating: each of us can make a difference.  Each of us must make a difference.  And together we can protect our sisters and brothers, our sons and daughters, and ourselves.  Let us do our part.

D James Bjorkman, Political and Economic Counselor
United States of America Embassy Georgetown

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What record is your Government forging President Granger?

I must not be the only Guyanese who is still under shock after having read the Guyana Times article captioned “Ministers/VPs pay hike pegged at over $245M annually”, published on August 2.

There has been a deep felt sentiment of revolt and injustice among parents, especially single parents in rural areas, regarding the abolishment of the “Because We Care” vouchers, along with the firing of almost two thousand CSOs and a significant number of employees in the public sector. Yet, we now are informed that the Government is actually considering a major pay hike for Ministers and Vice Presidents.

The stipend of a CSO amounted to a mere $ 30 000 per month but the average Amerindian Village employed approximately ten CSOs, resulting in a monthly increase of village income of + $300 000. Now Amerindian leaders are dumbfounded that the increase in salary and other entitlements of Ministers and Vice Presidents who will each be earning more than twice the combined stipends of ten CSOs in one village per month.  $ 245 million represent 24 500 vouchers and 8 100 CSO stipends. How could the Government defend even considering such an initiative in the face of the newly unemployed and disenfranchised Guyanese citizens, many of whom are young people under the age of 25 and single mothers?

The rice industry is literally collapsing due to the unfortunate elections results which served as a catalyzer for Maduro’s exaggerated controversial move to worsen the Venezuela Guyana land and maritime border controversy. It was to be anticipated that Madurowould not lightly accept the installation of a pro US Government in Guyana, and his deliberate attack on our national sovereignty is specifically directed to the pro US Granger Government for whom he seems to have little or no respect. Unfortunately for Guyanese, in particular Guyanese rice farmers, the coalition Government appears to be deprived of the much needed skills in diplomacy required to handle the diplomatic crisis. Instead, it has swollen its chest with arrogance, in full knowledge of the grave it is slowly digging for itself and our rice farmers.

The Government should abstain from projecting aggressive messages toward its neighbours, as this is not patriotism but only a display of a false sense of pride, which as it has proven, has born no fruit and served only to worsen the situation and degrade the image of our country in South America. Guyana has yet to forge its legitimacy and credibility in MERCUSUL, and perhaps the first lesson to be learnt by the Granger Government, is that respect has to be earned, not commanded.

So while our rice industry collapses, our social welfare benefits are being dissolved and there is hardly any progress in implementing the 100 Day Action Plan promised by the APNU/AFC Government, it is rather curious to know that Finance Minister Jordan is shamelessly considering a dramatic pay hike which extends for the time being only to Ministers and Vice Presidents.

The rhetoric piped by Government and their partisans will continueto defend that the rice industry was failing under the PPP/C Administration and that pay hikes were granted to Government officials during its 23 year leadership. However, the rice industry was revived and maintained as best as it could considering the international market practices and prices of primary goods. There was no indication under the previous administration that the Venezuelan Government intended to halt bilateral Agreements nor that our access to the rice market was compromised. While pay hikes would have been granted under the previous Administration, it wasn’t to the detriment of social benefits, employment, failing agroindustries and an economy on the verge of recession. It didn’t involve a 100 per cent increase each of the five times the PPP/C was elected to govern us. For those who argue that prior to 1992 there would have been no such pay hikes and benefits, and that these were much inferior to what was earned by the previous Administration, it is important to note that under the PNC dictatorship the country was literally bankrupt, while the cost of living was drastically lower than what it is today.

Maybe, if the PNC led APNU/AFC Government actually showed signs of investing in the promotion of a healthy economy and the social well-being of at least its electorate, then one could attempt to justify such a pay hike. Instead, it has only shown Guyanese its resolution to engage in finger pointing and witch hunting, ethnic discrimination instead of unity, self-interest instead of social welfare and lavish Government spending instead of economic strategising.

Maybe those soidisant benefactors who allegedly financed a multimillion inauguration and a lavish birthday party for the President, while Guyana was covered in waters, vouchers were scrapped and people were being fired from their jobs, would like to contribute to the cheap vouchers and CSO stipends? Must one remind the APNU/AFC coalition that some of those very CSOs accused of being “political” were engaged in the Government’s very own campaign trail across the country, even in Regions Seven and Eight?

Once the Budget is announced on August 10, the Government would no longer be able to use the previous Administration as an excuse for its failure to live up to its promises. Coalition gurus and partisans should remember that while the PPP/C Administration rightfully blames the PNC dictatorship for destroying this country, it has forged a solid record of progress to show for its many sustainable contributions.
What record is your Government penning President Granger?

Sincerely
De Sά

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Concern for citizens aged 65 and over

Dear Editor,
The annual pension, whenever announced, is never ever retroactive to January 1. How is it, therefore, annual? Pension for 2015 will be scandalous due to this.

The annual subsidies for Guyana Power and Light and Guyana Water Incorporated are only given to those with their own meters. Of the 42,000 or so seniors, how many receive this benefit, while paying each month as tenants or family residents?

The Low Vision (Eye) Clinic subsidy of $8000 has long been suspended. When will it be restored for our seniors who previously paid $2000 for an eye test and a complete pair of spectacles?

Submitted by a 77-year-old concerned citizen

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Kissoon on the question of humanity

Dea Editor,
Kissoon again insults Guyanese in July 26 column, by accusing this country of practicing a “backward political culture and authoritarian governance” and as such lashes out at Guyana for having “lost its conscience”. In so doing, he proves his lack of basic knowledge and/or understanding of the historical events which culminated into our Independence and which define our political structure and institutions. The backwardness Kissoon refers to, is reminiscent of the Burnham’s dictatorship which was similar to Franco’s or Salazar’s reigns of terror, maybe worse when one considers that in Guyana Burnham’s regime didn’t just target political opponents but also aimed at ethnic cleansing. Authoritarian governance hasn’t defined our model of governance since the end of the dictatorship, and Kissoon should refrain from misleading his readers by using such adjectives to describe our political arena. Authoritarianism suggests that power is centralised in and withheld by one political leader or group of leaders who practice political, social and sometimes cultural repression. There is no place for democracy in an authoritarian regime. Were we in an authoritarian regime, healthy political debate would be suppressed and freedom of expression currently enjoyed in Guyana would have been limited. I would have been unable to respond to the ludicrous babble spewed by Kissoon on a daily basis.
The closest that Guyana has come to an authoritarian Government since the dissolution of the dictatorship would be the present APNU/AFC Coalition, formed with the intention of securing enough votes, without which the PNC led APNU would have been unable to accede to power. Signs of authoritarianism are being manifested through the undemocratic rule of the Coalition which so far has shown little intent on promoting ethnic unity as it promised during its campaign trail. Its ranks are strongly dominated by Afro Guyanese, the State boards are predominantly comprised of APNU/AFC partisans and on all front women suffer the blow of being strongly underrepresented. The seizing of the Sectoral Committee reducing the voice of the Opposition is devoid of democratic principle and reminiscent of the PNC’s authoritarian dictat. No different from this is the stark move to rename public institutions without national consultation, or cut social welfare benefits while moving toward drastic salary increases for ministerial and other senior Government positions. Guyana Mr Kissoon, is not yet ruled by an authoritarian regime, but if Guyanese fail at their task of ensuring that power is kept by the people and not the Government, then the country will indeed succumb.
Finally, people in Guyana “have not lost their humanity” as Mr Kissoon would like us to believe. Guyanese have maintained their aptitude of feeling empathy toward their fellow country men and women. Using horses and personal experiences as Mr Kissoon does to represent a population of 750 000 individuals is inaccurate. If there are wild horses on the road then Mr Kissoon as a concerned citizen should have engaged the responsibility of local authorities rather than complain that Guyanese are deprived of humanity in a column of one of the most read newspapers. The lack of freedom he complains about in Guyanese schools is not reflective of the inhumanity of Guyanese, but rather of an inherited colonial model built on religious restrictions which Guyanese Governments and associations have chosen to maintain.
The further inapplicable examples provided by Kissoon to describe our soi disant inhumanity as a people proves that he has little knowledge of what inhumanity means. Inhumanity Mr Kissoon is not the indifference of Guyanese for charges delivered by the Court, nor for school codes of conduct, dysfunctional parents’ associations or wild horses on the streets.
It is more profound than that. It is the voluntary persecution or indifference to the persecution of fellow Guyanese; persecution and indifference often due to a sentiment of superiority. It is this inhumanity that ravaged Guyana under Burnham. It is this inhumanity that has caused the downfall of many African States ravaged by ethnic and territorial wars under the nose of the West which stands to reap the benefits. This very inhumanity is leading to the surge in crimes targeting Indo Guyanese as we speak. Inhumanity is not synonymous of the lassitude that Guyanese feel towards the inefficiency of some of our national institutions in dealing with societal issues affecting us. Perhaps Kissoon confused inhumanity with lassitude, a sentiment which engages another form of indifference without being inhumane?
Subsequently, and based on the complaint pleaded by Kissoon, “the biggest danger facing the Granger Government” is to implement the policies required to overcome the underlying issues affecting this country, instead of encouraging further divide as the APNU/AFC Coalition seems keen on doing presently.
The question is, would the Government be willing to work toward eliminating the controversial characteristics which define the social behavioural pattern of our people, if this were to remove the divide among the electorate, and thus change voting patterns in Guyana? All indicators seem to point in the other direction, a path of power lust.

Sincerely,
De Sá

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