Letters and Blogs are the Greatest Threat to Stability in Guyana

5

By The Piper

The PiperCommentators on Guyana usually use race as a point of departure in their analyses of politics, economics, and culture of the country. This is true for those both inside and outside the ‘land of many waters’. The basic narrative is that Guyana is a racially divided society, most stridently so between Indo and Afro-Guyanese. Others in the land of six races are usually ignored, although of recent, comments about the Chinese have bucked that trend. The time has come for us to take a time-out, and to carefully consider the extent to which these claims are true, and if so or not, what to do about them both in the short and long term.

I assert here that while racially constructed conflict is indeed present, it is not nearly as pervasive as most people suggest. I further argue that most of the racial stuff surface around elections, and especially through the period of campaigning. This last election was no different.

You will notice, however, that since May 11, the temperature surrounding racial claims have subsided, and even though the PPP has not yet indicated it will accept the results, its protest is basically grounded in the incompetence of GECOM. It is not about racial victory or racial defeat.

Critics of this position, including university scholars, columnists, letter writers, and bloggers will no doubt respond by saying that the recent elections confirm rather than reject the claims of a racially divided society. As usual, the arguments are based on a historical affinity between the political parties and racial groups, that is, Afro-Guyanese vote PNC and Indo-Guyanese vote PPP. Yes, there is some correspondence there, but the record of the political parties when in government belies that basic assumption.

The point made here is so easy to prove that it may appear simplistic. Both during a campaign and after the elections are over, the victor always stakes the claim to legitimacy on race neutral or multi-racial political discourse. Huge efforts are made to lure, co-opt, or simply and sincerely attract noted individuals to bring about racial balance in the cabinets and other high offices of the state. We see this happening now, and we saw it under every administration of the PPP/C – like them or not.

Let us not forget the WPA and the AFC, because they actually prove the point just as well. The WPA has been around for a long time and it biggest claim to fame is that it is anti-racist and multicultural. The WPA’s ideology and policy platforms are hardly known, and their leadership figures have never been the most important aspect of their presence. Very few could probably identify what the WPA stands for outside of its claims of being the backbone of an anti-racist movement.

The AFC did in a few short years what others have taken much longer to do, but on the same grounds, that is, multiracialism. From day one, Raphael Trotman and Khemraj Ramjattan represented the party as a sort of racial middle-ground, a place for those who want greater national unity might find a home. However you may skin the cat, it worked.

While the political parties are not innocent in whatever racial politicking there may be, they are not the worse. Most of the destruction actually comes from letter writers and bloggers who show no restraint in what they write, and who seem to specialize in a politics of personal destruction. If you want to see the most sordid side of what our fellow countrymen and women are made of, all you need to do is read the letters and blogs.

The new APNU-AFC government did the right thing to immediately fire those bloggers reportedly on the state payroll under the PPP/C. The question is – would it work towards legislation, or for that matter, enforcement of existing legislation that might put an end to the rampant racial politicking in the letter sections on Guyanese newspapers? Bloggers are more difficult to deal with, but as a lawyer, Khemraj Ramjattan, the new Minister of Public Security can find innovative ways to cool-off the hatred.

Guyana is a democracy and citizens should have every right to express their views. Many letters and blog posts are informative and balanced, and what we need do to do is build on the positive side of things.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. What has to be initiated is the balanced reporting in the newspapers and the photographs of black men splashed ( in close up shots) as criminals here and abroad. Hence the comment about “blacks are thieves” Although we are aware that there are thieves and serious crimes committed by other races,Guyanese newspapers and internet sites, rarely insert a close up picture of other criminal races except if they are black. It is time that these serious identity crisis which is contributed by the news media be stopped. The newspapers and and internet sites understand their power in shaping the image and thinking of the reader.

    In reference to the piper comments, whoever he/she is, is very bias. An objective view of the former government representation and service to the Guyanese nation should be looked at and condemn as we are seeing the blatant theft, and poor services rendered to the nation that entrusted their leadership to guide and to serve the nation. Furthermore, the excellent co-existence of blacks and indians the main races of Guyana are so close that the older politicians, especially the indians are trying desperately to separate and dismantle this unity that exist strongly with the younger generation. The younger generation do not care about race as is seen every day.

  2. WHEN I WAS BORN INTO THIS WORLD, WAS NOT COLOR COLOR COATED IN MY THINKING , I WAS KID GROWINGS AMOUNG OTHERS ,I WAS TAUGHT BY MY FAMILY THAT I AM OF THIS KIND
    SO THAT IN ENBEDED, IN ME AND YOU, THAT BECOMES OUR CULTURE ,HANDED DOWN FROM GENERATONS TO GENEGRATIONS
    AND THAT IS I IN ALL CULTURE.

    AN YET WE USE A BOOK THAT, WE SWEAR ON IN COURTS, AND IN PARLEMNTS
    THAT IS CALLD THE BIBLE

    IN THAT BOOK THERE IS JUST MAN AND GOD, THERE IS NO COLR, DONT, YOU FIND THAT STRANGE ,THAT WE UPHOLD THE HIGHEST PRINCIPLES OF OUR CREATOR, AND YET WE STAND DIVIDED
    DIVISION,IS OF SATAN HE USES THIS DIVISIONS, TO CON FUSE MANKND , IF WE STAND UNITED HE S DEFEATED

    I HOPE THAT MY FEW WORDS IS HELPFUL TO THOSE THAT LIVES IN THE SHADOW

  3. Ref, Letters And Blogging-The Enemy In Guyana?

    This concept may have been so in the previous out voted political administration in power.

    It was common knowledge that many journalists were threatened, and some individuals had to flee Guyana, in fear of the journalistic reporting and lives.

    But the political climate has indicated so far, that a new mentality is in the air politically. And Bloggers, and other forms of Reporting will be tolerated. For how long, is left to the imagination.

    But us Bloggers and reporters are hopeful, and will be ever vigilant while we continue doing what we do best.

    And that is bringing our observations to the commonweal.

    Derryck S. Griffith.

  4. Very true. Guyanese need each other. Our country is too small for us to live separately . We depend on each other. If Afro Guyanese stay away from the markets and stores what becomes of the bottom line of Indo Guyanese. Simplistic but instructive. Where did we go wrong? Was it in 1953 or is it something in our makeup. Some of my best friends growing up in Guyana were Indians. They enjoyed my mother’s cooking and I looked forward to eating out of eddo leaves at Indian weddings. My first girlfriend (Rose) in high school at Guyanese College on Robb Street was Indian . What went wrong. Is this racism fuelled by parents or politicians? The most recent example- jagdeo during the pre election period. Maybe it is something more deepseated more innate. My personal experience in Queens NY 2014. After seven years as a Foster Care Social Worker I had developed a relationship with the proprietor of a small business on the street where I worked. We would occasionally chitchat during my visits. On this particular morning while talking to him an Indian male standing next to me who I recognized as Guyanese from his accent, while on his phone said as loud as he could.”All then black people are a bunch of damn thieves”of course I was offended as I’m sure he knew where I was from by my accent. I started to respond but did not at this deliberate and obvious ignorance. What is to be done to address such twisted perceptions. Can we leave it up to the politician? The parent? Both have done a terrible job. Maybe the answer lies in us individually seeing each person as a member of the human race and the things we do or don’t do are individual decisions not controlled by our ethnicity.

  5. I would like to endorse the Piper and would like to see those bloggers here engage in serious, intelligent discussions without resorting to racism, insults, name calling, on issues printed in ”Inews Guyana”. They must also be closely monitored by the moderator(s). I have read many which should not have been published in the first place. Everyone has a right to express his/her political view point but at the same time do so in a civilised way.
    The Piper however, needs to accept that one particular section of the population has been the most attacked both in the online newspapers and physically on the streets of Georgetown in particular as well as some rural areas.To deny this is to pretend that all is well for everyone. This has been an historical issue even during the previous administration.
    In a particular online news desk supposedly supporting the current administration, the mostly unedited (I am inclined to believe) trash that are allowed in print, is beggars belief.
    All online newspapers must take stern actions against those bloggers whose sole objective is mostly to incite hate in whatever form. Let’s see which one will make the first move

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.