I confess, I was moved to tears on reading retired Major General’s Joseph G. Singh’s “An Open Letter to His Excellency … (KN 3/20/2020). The man, obviously in great pain, bears his soul at a time when the country is coming apart and judgment is fled to brutish beasts. There are indeed men of incredible honour and bravery still around in Guyana, I thought.
Then, reading down I came across G.H.K Lall’s “The Essence of the problem we have,” (KN 3/20/2020), and this sentence stopped me. “Editor, the heart of our existence is that we have a racial problem.” Lall went on to say, “it calls for – demands – a racial solution.” I hope I am not misreading Mr. Lall here, but I truly think our current fiasco is not an election problem but a racial problem.
I’ll explain, but allow me to first comment on what I regard as the most single dehumanizing act in the public glare. Returning Officer Mr. Mingo is made to stand on a podium before all and sundry and look at white and call it black. To so emasculate a grown adult, who might even be a grandfather, is most sorry. Imagine the pressure being applied! When this is over, what kind of life will this tortured soul live? All involved know what he is doing, even though the constitution gives him cover.
I get tired of the never ending calls for justice, fair play, credibility, transparency, etc. These calls are meaningless to the “dogs of war” who are dead set on taking power illegitimately. Remember we have a sordid history in this regard. Mr. Burnham’s greatest legacy is his rigged elections that lasted for quarter of a century. In magnitude, the 2020 elections do not compare with Burnham’s. The 2020 elections is methodologically a simple case of bare face petty thievery. It is the matter that is being stolen which makes the difference. Done in one constituency, that’s why it is so easy to see, place, pin point, show and illustrate. However, the spoil is mammoth, namely, 83,000 square miles with everything in it, including newly found black gold – 5.5 billion barrels and counting. Such a prize must be gotten by hook or crook, regardless – this must be the thinking behind the grab.
Let me return to why it is driven by race more than politics. Whatever, they may say to the contrary, the two behemoths each comprise in the main their own race, that is PPP for the Indians and PNC for the Africans. Against this background the struggle between these two major ethnic groups has been one of winner takes all and take no prisoners. Ownership, control, and management of the new wealth is the sure way to ensure that not only your own kind is enriched but also that the other side is excluded. In the extreme, heaven forbids, all that power could be used not only to create a permanent rich/poor division but also one played out along ethnic lines. This being Guyana, don’t discount it.
In these circumstances I wish all those pronouncing on the issue would bear in mind that to the stakeholders the winning of the 2020 mother of all elections in a matter of life or death – hence the stalemate. I hope that the eyes and ears of the world that have gotten involved to find a solution may mitigate against the extremism alluded to here.
P. D. Sharma
Los Angeles, Calif.