Sunday shouldn’t have been just another day of rest. It was, after all, the “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” for 2021 – with the theme “Youth standing up against racism”. Your Eyewitness had expected our streets – at least in Georgetown – to be flooded with our youths agitating against that pernicious evil called “racial discrimination”. But had everyone gone to Church??
Were they confused as to who are “youths”? Your Eyewitness is. The UN itself refers to people 18-24 years old as “youth”. According to them, many members push this to 18-30 and they don’t have any problem with that. Russia sometime back moved their “youth” cohort to from 18-35 as have many African nations. Here in Guyana, it appears that we go along with the latter definition since your Eyewitness has noticed we’re assured we have a “youthful” population – with 65 per cent of our population below 35 years old.
Then again, there seemed to be a new “in” method of grouping “age cohorts” – as to whether one is a member of “Millennials” or “Generation Z”. Millennials, he now understands after looking it up, are those born between 1981 and 1996 and anyone upwards is “Generation Z”. Now, your Eyewitness had always thought that Millennials were those born AFTER the new millennial. As it stands now, a “millennial” might be as old as 40; some Generation X’ers could be 25 and a whole lot of them should’ve been in the streets!
But could it be that these “youths” don’t think there’s any “racial discrimination” in Guyana? Your Eyewitness hardly thinks so! After all, he’s been living here for the past decades and it was all he heard about while the PNC was in office between 2015 and 2020 and in the eight months since the PPP got in. But he knows that when it comes to charges on discrimination, it’s such a subjective matter in most instances, there will ALWAYS be folks feeling picked on.
Take the matter of those 2000 Indigenous youths who’d been fired by the PNC from the hinterland Community Support Officers (CSOs) programme. The youthful ones (who were in the majority) shoulda been out in front of Congress Place with their banners and their chants. And so too the 7000 mostly Indian-Guyanese sugar workers fired in the sugar industry. They shoulda been shoulder to shoulder with their Indigenous sisters and brothers.
And yes, there were some PNC types protesting in front of CID headquarters. Why? That the PPP was discriminatorily going after African-Guyanese govt officials for criminal prosecution. Never mind the PNC had only hired from that ethnic group!
But the protesters certainly weren’t Millennial nor Generation X “youths” – by any stretch of the imagination!
But in Guyana, there’ve been these cries of “racial discrimination” since even before independence. So, when the PPP finally got back into office in 1992, they immediately launched a Race Relations Committee to deal with the problem. The PNC, however, boycotted the Committee because they insisted that the Chairman Bishop Randolph George (of the Anglican Church) was biased!!
The Committee was dissolved, and the constitutionally-mandated Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) was launched in 2007. And lo and behold, the PNC again boycotted! This time, they insisted another Bishop – Edghill, this time – was also biased and shut it down! The ERC had been given the power, the manpower, and the mandate to go after racial discrimination. So when the PNC re-launched it after 2015, there was hope that something at last would’ve been done to address the charges.
It was not to be. Granger made sure – as he evidently always does – that the Chair was under his thumb.
The ERC has proven to be (an expensive) toothless poodle!
It’s clear that there are some people in Guyana who want to be so “woke”, they’d have us remain in the Stone Age.
Just so we not drill for oil and eat the Paleo Diet – because it’s “good for us”!