Racial discrimination! This has been the mantra of the PNC/AFC from the day they were placed on Opposition benches by the people of Guyana. It must be noted that no ethnic faction enjoys a majority in Guyana, and no political party enjoys 100% support of any race.
The PPP/C is far more aware of this fact than the APNU/AFC were when they assumed office. An examination of the endless claims of racial discrimination being made as a political strategy exposes the mental laziness of the Opposition political leadership. There are real issues of national importance that should be carefully monitored, examined, raised by the Opposition, and debated intelligently for our democracy to function optimally.
David Granger’s administration (2015-2018) promised to trim the Public Service on the campaign trail, but instead hired 14, 325 new persons, most permanently. The ethnic breakdown shows 13,786, or 96.2%, were of Afro descent; 8492 applications for jobs by other ethnicities went unacknowledged by APNU/AFC.
The strategy of ethnic and political hiring in the Public Service did not lead to an improvement in efficiency, and many of Granger’s Ministers complained of being saddled with ‘weights’. One new employee was famous for arriving at work with a briefcase filled with the daily newspapers, which he would proceed to read minutely for the duration of the workday.
There have been shifts in the Public Service. Some persons left after refusing to work with the new administration; political appointees resigned (some were retained), 84 of the 44,738 Public Service staff were fired for incompetence, insubordination, or outright refusal to work.
The APNU/AFC’s claim that there is racial discrimination in the Human Resource Management of the Public Service is completely false. ‘Newspaper man’ is still on the job. Ask any political activist what people ask them for, and the answer will most likely be “a house lot”; I would beg any/all persons or organisations to examine the Irfaan Ali administration’s distribution of house lots throughout Guyana for any indication of racial discrimination. When persons are allocated a house lot in any area, they are required to attend a public meeting, where all the available lot numbers are placed in a bag and each allotted person has to pull their own. This policy, implemented under the Presidency of Bharrat Jagdeo, eliminated the creation of ethnic enclaves. There will be areas where the preponderance of applications will be of one ethnicity, but those are fast disappearing as our population mixes and the dynamics change.
The wilful ignorance that characterised the Granger/ APNU/AFC Administration has evolved into a machinery that fabricates outright fictions and bald-faced lies, the sheer volume and intensity of which are difficult to comprehend. And it is increasingly difficult to respond to all; whenever one goes unanswered, it is immediately treated as ‘fact’ and doubled-down upon.
Today, for example, a post on social media makes a ludicrous claim of intervention in the marking of NGSA exam papers by the Minister of Education; the patently false claim is then shared by none other than Coretta McDonald, who disingenuously says, “I hope this isn’t true”. McDonald epitomises the new APNU/AFC political leader: expedient, callous, and dangerously uncaring of the consequences of her actions.
The APNU/AFC conflation of vaccines and discrimination remains the most callous political act in a country that has experienced rigging of elections, mathematical gymnastics to avoid going to polls after failing a no-confidence motion, and refusal to leave office after losing an election. The straw man of ‘mandatory vaccination’ is beaten to death; that it will inevitably cause some misguided soul to succumb to COVID-19 and depart this earth seems to leave the APNU/AFC leadership unbothered.
President Irfaan Ali has made it simple for anyone to avail themselves of medical advice and exemption, where medically prudent. No effort is being spared to protect the lives of all Guyanese.