We should focus on Intercultural Communication

5

By The Piper

The PiperThe PPP/C governed Guyana for a little over two decades and although it achieved much in economic development it failed to do the same with social and cultural conflicts. The failure was not because of shortage of efforts, but because of a flawed approach. The basic strategy goes all the way back to the 1950s and has been employed in every PPP administration since. Dr. Cheddi Jagan was the intellectual author. The approach may be easily summarized in what immediately follows.

The foundation of any society is built on its economy, and accordingly, all conflicts can be traced back to economic underdevelopment. Racial and cultural conflicts are not real in and of themselves. Rather, they are forms of false consciousness, irrationality, and ideological distortion. Not surprisingly, the cure is to attack economic underdevelopment on all fronts, with an emphasis on infrastructural development and short-term basic needs relief for the very poor.

A larger economy would mean more jobs, higher incomes, and greater wealth for the business class. Inequality, though not desirable, is the social price to be paid for expanding the economy. The basic thinking is that a strong economy would lessen all kinds of discontent, including racial animosities.

We know that the strategy has failed, and that the failure is not due to lack of economic growth. If economic growth has not solved the problem then new ways of thinking must be developed and different strategies must pressed into action. The time has come to look at the social and cultural foundations of our most enduring problem, racial conflict.

We know from social psychology and cultural studies that our external actions are based on beliefs that are deep in human consciousness. Practically all of the animosities are learned over long periods of time, starting with the family, and running though religion, the formal education system, and various social institutions. The feelings of enmity are socially constructed, not natural. Prejudice cannot be wiped clean but a broad-based approach, at multiple levels, can yield positive results. The following ideas deserve consideration.

The Ministry of Education should reconstruct the curricula at all levels, from Pre-K to University studies, and include cross-cultural communication. The stress should not only be on academic studies (lectures and readings) but on interactive pedagogical techniques. There should be structured and articulated programs of study, rather than ad hoc lessons built on short term objectives.

All managers and supervisors in government employment should be required to go through human resource led programs. Consideration for promotion should not only be based on technical competence, but also demonstrated accomplishments in cross-cultural leadership.

The Private Sector Commission, should partner with both the government agencies and NGOs to provide ongoing education and training. The PSC should also publicly recognize firms and workers (both management and staff) who have made notable contributions to cultural understanding.

The police need special training and the GOG should mobilize resources from both within and outside Guyana. Police officers should be evaluated on a consistent basis, with the emphasis on providing feedback, though not completely abandoning metrics for reward and discipline. The media should be closely monitored with much stricter enforcement of the regulations.

Finally, all community centers, libraries, and other public spaces may be used to show movies and other forms of entertainment that are ‘high’ on inter-cultural content. The current APNU/AFC coalition has a number of ministries that appear to be concerned with these kinds of issues and this is a hopeful sign. Less time, however, should be spent on hunting for guilt and more on developing innovative programs of education and training. What would you recommend in terms of content and the ways of delivering the message?

5 COMMENTS

  1. RAMKARRAN HITS NAIL ON HEAD ON SEAN HINDS AND RACISM DIRECTED AGAINST INDIANS
    By Sultan Mohamedd

    Former Speaker Mr Ralph Ramkarran article “Sean Hinds” in his website conversationtreegy.com represents a noble and significantly profound welcome departure from his usual “kiss and tell all ” columns. Even Mr Sean Hinds deserves a trial like Mr Roger Khan got in court. Time will make them into far more significant eclipsing Accabre and Cuffy freedom fighters fit for monuments like Robin Hood has become.

    Mr Ramkarran, has for the first time reflected the extremely deep anger which Guyanese still harbour at the Buxton originating 2002-2008 crime wave which waged open terrorism targeting Indians just because of their racial origin. Against such a coordinated Taliban offensive Guyanese were nationwide completely defenceless. Mr Hinds, Mr Khan and many more have long become accepted as national heroes who came to their fellow Guyanese defense when the elected PPP/C government government was powerless to protect them. Even Mr Khan’s critics who are unable to address his valuable help in rescuing a kidnapped American diplomat held hostage by the Buxton criminals still remain nonplussed. The police were also flummoxed and needed his valued help as well.

    “Fiat justitia ruat caelum” is a Latin phrase which means “Let justice be done though the Heavens fall”. Probably more known as being spoken in England for the abolition of slavery, philosopher Immanuel Kant also interpreted it in 1795: “Let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it.” These words are as old as the scriptures where evil is not tolerated. The ancient Hindu Rig Veda offers its own sublime Sanskrit contribution. “A-no bhadrāḥ kratavo yantu viśvataḥ” (1.89.1 Rig Veda) which English translation, means “Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides”. Simple, but profound is their message. “Generally our ability to perceive nobility is constrained by many factors such as beliefs, social system, profession, nationality, religion, politics, race, culture etc. At times these can act as barriers in seeing the truth without distortions”. (Wikipedia) The fight for justice and the rights to defense and survival are however natural notions which have been around for thousands of years and must be recognised regardless. Which Guyanese would quibble about the unjustified Venezuelans claim threatening our Essequibo? So, why the invocation of such age-old legal and religious maxims now, you might ask?

    Mr Khan and Mr Hinds provided adequate effective defense when the GDF headed by the current PNC National Security Advisor Mr Edward Collins and former Commissioner Mr Winston Felix, now a PNC MP and advisor at the President’s office, proved to be total failures, in effect,inadequate operatives paid by taxpayers money. Were their failures deliberate? Credit must be given to the Africanised Mr Freddie Kissoon for his personal outrage, as Mr Ramkarran reminds, that he publicly condemned the degutting of sleeping Indian children, women and men under cover of night. But why should it matter what he does once upon a time? The gruesome horror of armed men slaughtering their fellow Guyanese in premeditated and unprovoked savagery cannot be easily dismissed or forgotten to rush into any cohabitative shared governance with their militarized lackeys. What crimes did Indians commit to earn such unrighteous wrath except they were Indians? Buxton’s Mr Eusi Kwayana who engineered and exacerbated race animosity into an industry and directed it at his countrymen was responsible for Guyana’s race conflagration. He is a living historical non saint seeking self timing exculpatory fumigation to which he is most welcome.

    While the massacre found Lusignan residents blocking the public road, disrupting traffic and burning tyres in protest, the carrion insensitive at that time Social Services Minister Ms Priya Manikchand enraged protesters by exhorting the hostile crowd” “All you better stop or they (meaning PPP/C government) will hurt all you”. PPP/C stalwart and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee was welcomed and treated with the usual courtesy.

    A bedraggled man who held up a picket crying out “we want Roger Khan” reflected the depth of anger – it still does- which fuels national angst. Unless Guyana’s armed forces are racially and ethnically balanced the temptation exists that similar eruptions can spiral out of control when unregulated. The possibility that future based Buxton criminals could again attack another wake at the neighbouring Enterprise village like those who terrorised a village’s mourning Muslim family, dousing and setting their family head who protested the invasion was unprecedented in its political barbarism. The ruling PPP/C government held no Commission of Inquiry and offered no financial compensation compared to its 2012 compensation to Linden’s belligerent rioters. Rioters demanded and got cheaper electricity rates to be continued by the PPP/C government for their privileged benefit which they alone enjoyed.

    Are the voices of justice awakening finally? Who must be held responsible are those within both the PPP/C and PNC coalition who forgot their human origins and mandate to provide national security in conformity with their sworn oaths.

    Who is to be held accountable now that the top heavy vacuous PNC militarizing cluster at the President’s office has become law enforcement’s leverage of political power? Why has crime suddenly increased by nine percent with the change of government given their skills?

    Why did the Buxton based criminals skip nearby Annandale to wreck havoc on Lusignan, one village away where Mr Eusi Kwayana was born and whose parents moved years ago to Buxton’s embrace? Its because displacement of south Annandale Indians has long become Buxton’s spillover displacing Black habitat enclave like Nonpareil and Enterprise have found similar incursions telling more about Buxtonians.

    Yet forgiveness is exactly what the late and popular Pandit Prakash Gossai became associated with during his annual dignified religious memorial of Buxton’s signal savagery of Lusignan. Why the Afrocentric Mr Kwayana bitterly attacked Mr Gossai’s appointment at the Presidential Secretariat was because the Pandit’s religion and race were found most objectionable. But Mr Gossai’s job was completely unrelated to his religion. Yet Guyana’s revisionist history records that Mr Kwayana’s entire King (original family name) were themselves recipients of frequent financial sustenance from Buxton’s premier Pandits Latchman and his son Sama Persaud, if truth be told. Ironically the latter Pandit himself fled Buxton during the 1960s race riots whiles Mr Kwayana’s mission publicly surged into national apocalypse on the eve of their 1964 massacre of Wismar’s entire Indian population.

    Up to this day, into the 21st century, later, Mr Kwayana has not found it expedient to clarify why he failed to ensure even his Indian benefactors in Buxton were secure from race violence.

    Will Guiana skate merrily back to the slime pits from whence our national depravity originated without so much as a slap on the wrists for race crimes against all humanity? To promote real Guyanese democracy as being worthwhile even in the most dire of circumstances, we must be rid from zealots and crimes which we have endured from the past. The PNC coalition is most legally entitled to merrily investigate and prosecute the previous government for their shortcomings unlike Dr Cheddi Jagan’s forgive and forget treatment of the PNC for its 28 years. Should bygones be bygones and let time get busy with cleaning up the PPP/C mess? Just like night follows day the PNC coalition is weaving its own hangman’s noose destruction for the next round when the PPP/C will be expected to do unto others as was done to them. It shall come to pass.

    Mr Speaker, sir, the ship you abandoned or rather from which you walked the plank is not half full but half empty now heading into uncharted waters. Keep your shoes pointed straight ahead to nowrang them like your venerable father did to everyone’s delight. Being AWOL is a most serious dereliction of duty in face of the enemy if you would know.

    Sultan Mohamed

  2. RAMKARRAN HITS NAIL ON HEAD ON SEAN HINDS AND RACISM DIRECTED AGAINST INDIANS
    By Sultan Mohamedd

    Former Speaker Mr Ralph Ramkarran article “Sean Hinds” in his website conversationtreegy.com represents a noble and significantly profound welcome departure from his usual “kiss and tell all ” columns. Even Mr Sean Hinds deserves a trial like Mr Roger Khan got in court. Time will make them into far more significant eclipsing Accabre and Cuffy freedom fighters fit for monuments like Robin Hood has become.

    Mr Ramkarran, has for the first time reflected the extremely deep anger which Guyanese still harbour at the Buxton originating 2002-2008 crime wave which waged open terrorism targeting Indians just because of their racial origin. Against such a coordinated Taliban offensive Guyanese were nationwide completely defenceless. Mr Hinds, Mr Khan and many more have long become accepted as national heroes who came to their fellow Guyanese defense when the elected PPP/C government government was powerless to protect them. Even Mr Khan’s critics who are unable to address his valuable help in rescuing a kidnapped American diplomat held hostage by the Buxton criminals still remain nonplussed. The police were also flummoxed and needed his valued help as well.

    “Fiat justitia ruat caelum” is a Latin phrase which means “Let justice be done though the Heavens fall”. Probably more known as being spoken in England for the abolition of slavery, philosopher Immanuel Kant also interpreted it in 1795: “Let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it.” These words are as old as the scriptures where evil is not tolerated. The ancient Hindu Rig Veda offers its own sublime Sanskrit contribution. “A-no bhadrāḥ kratavo yantu viśvataḥ” (1.89.1 Rig Veda) which English translation, means “Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides”. Simple, but profound is their message. “Generally our ability to perceive nobility is constrained by many factors such as beliefs, social system, profession, nationality, religion, politics, race, culture etc. At times these can act as barriers in seeing the truth without distortions”. (Wikipedia) The fight for justice and the rights to defense and survival are however natural notions which have been around for thousands of years and must be recognised regardless. Which Guyanese would quibble about the unjustified Venezuelans claim threatening our Essequibo? So, why the invocation of such age-old legal and religious maxims now, you might ask?

    Mr Khan and Mr Hinds provided adequate effective defense when the GDF headed by the current PNC National Security Advisor Mr Edward Collins and former Commissioner Mr Winston Felix, now a PNC MP and advisor at the President’s office, proved to be total failures, in effect,inadequate operatives paid by taxpayers money. Were their failures deliberate? Credit must be given to the Africanised Mr Freddie Kissoon for his personal outrage, as Mr Ramkarran reminds, that he publicly condemned the degutting of sleeping Indian children, women and men under cover of night. But why should it matter what he does once upon a time? The gruesome horror of armed men slaughtering their fellow Guyanese in premeditated and unprovoked savagery cannot be easily dismissed or forgotten to rush into any cohabitative shared governance with their militarized lackeys. What crimes did Indians commit to earn such unrighteous wrath except they were Indians? Buxton’s Mr Eusi Kwayana who engineered and exacerbated race animosity into an industry and directed it at his countrymen was responsible for Guyana’s race conflagration. He is a living historical non saint seeking self timing exculpatory fumigation to which he is most welcome.

    While the massacre found Lusignan residents blocking the public road, disrupting traffic and burning tyres in protest, the carrion insensitive at that time Social Services Minister Ms Priya Manikchand enraged protesters by exhorting the hostile crowd” “All you better stop or they (meaning PPP/C government) will hurt all you”. PPP/C stalwart and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee was welcomed and treated with the usual courtesy.

    A bedraggled man who held up a picket crying out “we want Roger Khan” reflected the depth of anger – it still does- which fuels national angst. Unless Guyana’s armed forces are racially and ethnically balanced the temptation exists that similar eruptions can spiral out of control when unregulated. The possibility that future based Buxton criminals could again attack another wake at the neighbouring Enterprise village like those who terrorised a village’s mourning Muslim family, dousing and setting their family head who protested the invasion was unprecedented in its political barbarism. The ruling PPP/C government held no Commission of Inquiry and offered no financial compensation compared to its 2012 compensation to Linden’s belligerent rioters. Rioters demanded and got cheaper electricity rates to be continued by the PPP/C government for their privileged benefit which they alone enjoyed.

    Are the voices of justice awakening finally? Who must be held responsible are those within both the PPP/C and PNC coalition who forgot their human origins and mandate to provide national security in conformity with their sworn oaths.

    Who is to be held accountable now that the top heavy vacuous PNC militarizing cluster at the President’s office has become law enforcement’s leverage of political power? Why has crime suddenly increased by nine percent with the change of government given their skills?

    Why did the Buxton based criminals skip nearby Annandale to wreck havoc on Lusignan, one village away where Mr Eusi Kwayana was born and whose parents moved years ago to Buxton’s embrace? Its because displacement of south Annandale Indians has long become Buxton’s spillover displacing Black habitat enclave like Nonpareil and Enterprise have found similar incursions telling more about Buxtonians.

    Yet forgiveness is exactly what the late and popular Pandit Prakash Gossai became associated with during his annual dignified religious memorial of Buxton’s signal savagery of Lusignan. Why the Afrocentric Mr Kwayana bitterly attacked Mr Gossai’s appointment at the Presidential Secretariat was because the Pandit’s religion and race were found most objectionable. But Mr Gossai’s job was completely unrelated to his religion. Yet Guyana’s revisionist history records that Mr Kwayana’s entire King (original family name) were themselves recipients of frequent financial sustenance from Buxton’s premier Pandits Latchman and his son Sama Persaud, if truth be told. Ironically the latter Pandit himself fled Buxton during the 1960s race riots whiles Mr Kwayana’s mission publicly surged into national apocalypse on the eve of their 1964 massacre of Wismar’s entire Indian population.

    Up to this day, into the 21st century, later, Mr Kwayana has not found it expedient to clarify why he failed to ensure even his Indian benefactors in Buxton were secure from race violence.

    Will Guiana skate merrily back to the slime pits from whence our national depravity originated without so much as a slap on the wrists for race crimes against all humanity? To promote real Guyanese democracy as being worthwhile even in the most dire of circumstances, we must be rid from zealots and crimes which we have endured from the past. The PNC coalition is most legally entitled to merrily investigate and prosecute the previous government for their shortcomings unlike Dr Cheddi Jagan’s forgive and forget treatment of the PNC for its 28 years. Should bygones be bygones and let time get busy with cleaning up the PPP/C mess? Just like night follows day the PNC coalition is weaving its own hangman’s noose destruction for the next round when the PPP/C will be expected to do unto others as was done to them. It shall come to pass.

    Mr Speaker, sir, the ship you abandoned or rather from which you walked the plank is not half full but half empty now heading into uncharted waters. Keep your shoes pointed straight ahead to nowrang them like your venerable father did to everyone’s delight. Being AWOL is a most serious dereliction of duty in face of the enemy if you would know.

    Sultan Mohamed

  3. Bridging the racial divide in a country such as Guyana may never happen. Sorry to be such a wet blanket. Why doI make such a statement? When a policy of racial superiority and intolerance is spoon fed to an individual from the cradle to the grave no program regardless of how well meaning is doomed to fail. When that person returns to an environment where this spurious, false, baseless,empty and sinister dose of racial superiority is taught, discussed and advocated almost on a daily basis what developes is a sense of superiority. The most poignant example can be seen and experienced here in the U.S. The facts are well-known America would not be America had it not been for the four hundred years of free labor and fantastic innovative inventions of Afro Americans. Just about in every area of everyday life in this country the Blackman’s stamp is evident. The cell phone, air conditioner, lawn mower, harvester, street lights,shoe making, street sweeper, refrigeration, subway technology etc etc etc.. Laws were enacted to force the hand of employers to make the playing field level. And I am intimately acquainted with those laws having been an EEO. Investigator with the United States Department of labor. One would think that after decades of these efforts America would be miles ahead in equality and racial tolerance. Not so. The question is why? There are many answers but the primary one is White Supremacy. When one race sees itself inherently better than another. When ways are found to get around the laws and efforts continue to skirt the law. This is America. Now lets look at Guyana. For the most part Indians are fed a daily diet of the ” better than them mentality” that coupled with a party’s stated policy of (Apan Jat) forgive spelling -when the lions share of
    the resources are directed to family and frinds of that same race. What do you have . What we experience in Guyana on a daily basis. It is not only a perception problem as to how one race view the other but state apparatus geared to foster that sense of superiority. That is a tall mountain to climb. This sense of superiority is ingrained in the Indian Psyche. Unfortunately what most ordinary Indians do not see or seem to realise is that the uneven distribution of the countries wealth affects them as well. As was said before only a select few prosper. For the most part they are at the bottom of the economic barrel as well. Can anything be done about how we view each other. It must – quite obviously begin in the homes and it is the homes that are the breeding ground for this slanted view we have of each other. Just recently I read a contribution on INews from an Indian man who said in essence Afro Guyanese are primarily responsible for the recent upsurge in crimes.He wrote that on the same day the Young Indian male was arrested for planning the demise of Boyo. Go figure!

  4. Absolutely a non starter. First, you have to identify the diversity of cultures, what are they. kids do not know this. Once each race can identify its culture, then you may have something to build on.The Indians can do this very easily, because they preserved and practiced their cultures. Secondly, this government has lost all credibility to shoulder this responsibility. The ethnic cleansing of the public services and whole sale sackings goes no way in winning hearts and minds. The pursuit of their Leaders created immense discord. The snatching back of $10.000 grant to poor people for the Education of their children has destroyed the government’s credibility. The Minister who said he was not an Indian has sent out the wrong message to the religious and cultural organisations within the Indian community. The suggestion would have been a workable proposition had this government shown a more united front, not stacking the Ministries with 90% Ministers of Afro Descent. Guyana has six races of people, who caters for them? We know who caters for the blacks.

  5. Diversifying the public service, especially the armed forces, and including cultural and religious representation of all our people at the national level, would go a far way in addressing the racial divide.

LEAVE A REPLY

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