I have lived long enough to know that my younger generation needs to be left with a legacy that I (and they), should be proud of. Forget for a moment that you have a political affiliation. Forget, if you will, that you have been socialised to like one party and hate the other. Now that you have put your brain in neutral, answer this simple question. What are the adults in Guyana leaving for their children to be proud about?
Yes we have unlimited, or yet untold, amounts of natural resources but aside from that, what can we honestly say we are bequeathing to our children. Someone asked me recently if I am proud to be a Guyanese and I literally had to pause before I answer. After all, to say that I am proud to be a Guyanese implies that I own the behaviours that have plagued this nation for decades now. To say that I am a proud Guyanese is to say (indirectly), that I am proud of the political nonsensical behaviors that have been exhibited for over the last 50 years. To say that I am proud to be a Guyanese, is to say that I condone (in some way), the uncontrollable levels of crime that continues to decimate our progress. I mean, when I say that I am a proud Guyanese, am I not sanctioning the systematic racial tensions that have stymied the growth and development of this nation?
So while I love my country and have always sought to represent and project the best in us, I am not sure that I am proud to be associated with the evils for which we are well known; locally and internationally. Every person who knows Guyana knows of the atrocities that obtain here. Everyone you know has reservations of traveling to Guyana, for fear that they will be robbed of killed. Guyanese used to be known for their excessive wearing of gold chains, ear-rings and other attractive pieces of gold jewelry. Have you observed that that practice has been discontinued? The truth is, the political climate in Guyana has not allowed for the fostering of goodwill among the citizens. The political and ideological stubbornness have polarised us and pauperised us and we are completely disrespectful and cruel towards one another. Guyana is a mere shell of what it can become; thanks to our political leaders.
The last sitting of the 71st Parliament was yet another proof of how unmannerly and backward Guyana has become. Imagine, the President – the Head of State – visited those hallowed walls – our highest legislative outfit – to make a formal address and he was completely humiliated in the sight of the world. I remember when then President Barrack Obama visited the Senate for a joint session, in 2009, to make a speech. The Republicans did not like or respect the president and one of the Republicans, Joe Wilson, shouted, “You lie”. For months after that he was ridiculed and he paid a political price.
Is this what we are leaving for our children? Maybe I am getting old and too sentimental but I guarantee you that this is not what I would like as my legacy. And frankly, it is these kinds of behaviours that I hope to change in my political pursuits. May God bless Guyana.
Dr. Vishnu Bandhu