Some thoughts on Minister Trotman’s comments

Some thoughts on Minister Trotman’s comments

Dear Editor,

I note the article titled, “Small, sparsely populated Caribbean Islands must keep out of the “Guyana problem” – Raphael Trotman” (Demerara Waves, July 12). The courtesy of space is sought to share the following thoughts.
I offer comments because I identify closely with some of what Minister Raphael Trotman articulated. I chose to do so because of my respect for the level of our relationships as minister and servant, of fellow believers and citizens, and of that which came from our man-to-man dealings that put Guyana first. I may have chosen milder words than “keep out” for our brethren in the region, but that is moot.

I agree and said so before, too many foreigners have been allowed to become too involved, at too intimate a level, in our political and sovereign affairs. In regular life, no friendship, no matter how close (or frayed), no marriage relationship, no matter how held sacred (or desecrated), no fellowship, no matter how neighbourly (or torn), would have allowed the degree of intrusions from outsiders that was encouraged by Guyanese leaders and their thinkers and backers. When two friends or partners are involved, it is not permitted; but in the case of Guyana, we speak of a country and all of its “nuances” most still unfamiliar, even to those outsiders who believe that they are familiar with how we behave and how we are deep down inside. Now we are forced to deal with the many fallouts from the law of unintended consequences of all those foreigners being so closely and so stridently involved in our affairs, as to be inseparable.

Too many foreigners were invited, I say so again. They stayed here too long the first time around, and they ended up going where they shouldn’t have. I must wonder, as I look back at all that happened, as to which one of them individually, from any of those foreign groups, would have allowed the same in their house, in their domestic travails. As should be obvious, I agree with Minister Trotman as I have elaborated. But I think that we have allowed too many and too much to go too far, with our reality being what it is now. This disagrees with where I think he stands, but I say it: it is too late now. Even as I write this, the air is overloaded with calls for sanctions. Any sanction directed at any of our people – my people or others – only divides deeper and incites more feverishly.

In addition, I have said that this is a Guyanese problem that requires Guyanese solutions. The people who pay attention, only do so with polite hearing and with even more perfunctory lip service. If we invest precious time and energy, and goodwill and capital and heartbreak into Guyanese – only solutions, then we have something a little more cherished and much more inheritable. But it is for the foreigner we reach, and I to the white man we go. I apologize if I offend anyone, but this is the hardcore truth of our limitations and our craven dependencies.

I reject outright any assertions that in a country of 750,000 souls, there are none that could urge and bring listening from the two sides of our angers and our hates, not even one, who can offer the “proper guidance as to what to do” and of which Minister Trotman pointed out that we need.. He and I agree that it cannot be so; yet look at where we leaned and what we have today. Surely, we cannot be this bad, this far gone. As I look, I detect that that is exactly where we are in the slippery mathematics and sciences of our distrusts, the terrible suspicions of our social order. It is why we need direly the region and the far foreign. And with that we are delighted.

To shift gears slightly, Ms. Melinda Janki, another for whom I have some appreciation, articulated last week that we do not have a racial problem, but a toxic political one. I humbly disagree. For as I sense it, what we have is a toxic political environment and populace made possible by the high-octane fuels of our racial and racist impulses, our very DNA. The racial stokes and supports the politicos and the racial politics, in turn, feeds and stirs the racial embers in a continuous circle. One does not exist without the other; both are made possible by the strength of the other in what is a mutually addicted and tribally self-empowering society.

Though none wants to address this at the present time, it is Guyanese who must summon the will to fix this, not dependence on foreigners to heal our home; or then all we would have is another Band-aid, another poultice that falls off as soon as everybody leaves for home.

Last, Minister Trotman spoke of our own political leaders putting their heads together “to find a way forward” so “that both sides could win, and the country could win.” It must be no other way, and to that I spare whatever I have left.

GHK Lall

Leave a Comment