Dear Editor,In his speech to the nation to commemorate Guyana’s 52nd Anniversary of Independence, President Granger urged greater protection of the nation’s children, and said, “We need to bequeath to them much more than we inherited from our own parents.”I’m sure the historian in him was not only referring to property and wealth, but also to moral values: ethics; integrity; and tolerance for someone else’s religion, ethnicity and culture.Guyana is a country blessed with rich diversity, but, all too often, some in authority use their positions to discriminate against others.On Independence Day, an article in the media confirmed a story of a student of Mae’s School that gained wide coverage in the social media the day before.In the words of the student’s mother, Karen Small, “A letter came home from my son’s school requesting that he dress in an ethnic wear today. I decided to dress him like an Amerindian, and he was so happy when he left the house, as he was taught mostly by his father to be proud of his appearance and culture. Once he got to school, he was greeted by the security guard, who told him he had to put on a top because he was inappropriately (dressed). This was also supported by some of the teachers, who said it was inappropriate to bring him to school like that. All this is unfolding in front of him, which of course brought him to tears, and later on, (he) went on to say he hated the way he looks. So it’s okay to dress like the other races, but inappropriate to dress like Amerindian?”According to the article, the mother put a shirt on her son and left him at school for the day. But despite this, he was mocked and laughed at.What was done to the little boy from Mae’s School is a violation of at least two Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. These are:* Article 3 (Best interests of the child): “The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children”; and* Article 30 (Children of minorities/indigenous groups): Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about, and practise, their own culture, language and religion. The right to practise one’s own culture, language and religion applies to everyone; the Convention here highlights this right in instances where the practices are not shared by the majority of people in the country.Despite the school’s explanation, the child was appropriately dressed in traditional indigenous attire in cerebration of his culture, an event that the school participated in. Had he turned up for school dressed like that on a regular school day, it would have been inappropriate and unacceptable. Mae’s cannot apply the school’s dress code on Culture Day, or even Halloween (if participation is encouraged by the school) now that Guyanese have adopted yet another American culture.Cultural intolerance is unacceptable, and counterproductive to social cohesion. If the Ministry of Education fails to address this unfortunate incident, it may well affect future participation of our children in cultural events.This incident should never have happened, but it once again demonstrates the lack of respect that is given to our First People, the Indigenous People of Guyana.Clearly, this would not have happened if the child was of African descent and was sporting a similar attire. For I have no doubt that the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) would have turned up at Mae’s with placards, urging its members to pull their children from the school.Karen Small and her son have been traumatised by the cynical actions of these teachers. She finds it hypocritical. “This is just wrong. You might as well tell them to wear culture wear except for those from the Amerindians.”Who knows what devastating effect this will have on this child’s performance in school, and his relationship with his classmates. The head teacher and the staff of Mae’s School owe Karen Small and her nine-year-old son a public apology. And in the interest of social cohesion, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs should demand that this be done.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP/C Memberof Parliament
Daily Archives: January 17, 2020
Dear Editor,My letter seeks to analyse and evaluate the ‘contributions’ made by third force political parties, namely two which have had the potential to change the political culture in Guyana away from the two-party political domination. These are the United Force (UF) and the Alliance for Change (AFC).It is an accepted fact that the PNC and the PPP have dominated voting in nearly all elections at every level of Government, and a third force is meant to represent a departure from the way things are being done, the most important departures being the eradication of corruption and poverty, the tackling of unemployment, and the separation of powers.But what is the true intention of these third forces? Was it to bring the changes mentioned, or simply to get rid of the PPP and enjoy the “good life”?Since these small parties lack the numbers to win an election outright, they have to coalesce with either the PPP or the PNC. In the past, such a coalition was possible before the General Elections, but now the coalition must occur before such elections.Two significant coalitions to mark these different scenarios are the following: the PNC and the UF coalescing in 1964, and the PNC-dominated APNU and the AFC coalescing in 2015. Remarkably, both are failures!Guyana’s long period of economic bankruptcy and social decay, from 1964 to 1992, can be traced back to when the United Force introduced itself into the political arena as the ‘third force’. This curse lasted 28 long and hellish years, which saw the PNC dictatorship wreaking havoc on all things progressive. No stone was left unturned in destroying the socio-economic fabric of this nation.But what happened to the third force during this 28-year period? The United Force was unceremoniously kicked out of the Coalition Government because its leader dared at some point to question the policies and corrupt practices of its bigger partner — the PNC. This unholy alliance lasted just over two years, but the devastation lasted 28 years, and was punctuated daily by starvation, mental anguish and degradation, abject poverty, and an upsurge in criminal activities and prostitution. It was a time when it was a criminal act to have certain food items in your possession! The only benefits were reaped by the PNC, and those who benefited from the UF were the ones who crossed the floor. How many from the AFC will cross the floor in 2020?In 2015, another Coalition was birthed, this time with the AFC, a political party launched to ‘free’ the Guyanese people and bring ‘prosperity”. In the AFC’s Action Plan 2011, Presidential Candidate Mr Khemraj Ramjattan had decisively stated that, “Over four decades of PNC and PPP Governments have left us all bruised, weary and hopeless,” while Mr Raphael Trotman had proudly declared that, for 45 years, Guyana has had the same parties making turns in the wrong directions, disappointing and betraying (their) citizens and allowing for an unfair distribution of the country’s wealth, as the rich got richer while most Guyanese continued to remain poor.With all these declarations being made, both these AFC leaders shamelessly embraced the PNC in their quest for power, of course being chaperoned by the Cadillac Man. However, after the coalition, the PNC was omitted from the equation and the AFC became the ‘poodle’ of the PNC. The fight became an obsession to get rid of the PPP, with the atrocities of the PNC conveniently forgotten!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor,Region 6
Dear Editor,At the risk of being characterised as “absurd”, “nonsensical”, and “foolish”, I would like to address the deficiencies in Dr David Hinds’ article captioned, “It is the role of Government in Guyana to directly and indirectly create employment for its citizens”.Hinds anchors his arguments in the “thinking of Jagan’s PPP, Burnham’s PNC and Rodney’s WPA”. Guyanese must be thankful to the CIA and British for their machinations in removing Jagan because Guyana would have been reduced to a Cuban style dictatorship. While Burnham wreaked havoc on the Guyanese economy experimenting with nationalisation, price controls, etc, Jagan deemed it “old wine in new bottle” and offered “critical support”. Rodney was the ideological twin of Robert Mugabe. His death [whether by his mishandling of explosive or treachery] saved Guyana from the faith of becoming another Zimbabwe-style disaster.Hinds seeks to liberate Guyanese from “four centuries of economic and political bondage” and advocates Government determining “who gets what, when and how”. Replacing massa with Government does not liberate Guyanese from “economic and political bondage.” Not massa but Government will take care of everything. Instead of liberation, Hinds institutionalises the dependency mindset of the plantation slave.Hinds fails to grasp the complexities of the Guyanese economy. Accordingly, he believes that Guyana is a “mini-private sector that is mostly engaged in “buying and selling” and does not have a “thriving and diverse private sector”.On his way to Buxton, Hinds should take a detour to Ogle. He will see the nascent Guyanese aviation sector. Furthermore, Hinds is clearly oblivious to all the construction that has taken place around the country, totally disregards the mining, timber, hotel, rice, sugar, bauxite, etc. Instead, he wants Government to determine “who gets what, when and how”. Guyanese will do well to remember the privation that they experienced with socialism. The ETB, co-op stores, KSI did not deliver for the Guyanese populace.Hinds, at his most dangerous, advocates the economic equivalent of “crack cocaine” – that is cash transfer to the poor. While this proposal sounds appealing, it reinforces the very dependency that he so desperately wants to overcome. Hinds should take a refresher in primary school proverbs – Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. The Government of Guyana should focus on education – build schools, award scholarships to study abroad; invest in hospitals; build roads, sewer systems, electricity grids, water, etc. Doling out cash is not the role of Government.It is time Guyanese reject the snake oil peddled by Hinds and his ilk.Sincerely,Roger AllyFort Lauderdale
Dear Editor,Now that Justice Ret’d Claudette Singh has awoken out of her slumber and issued the statement that elections have to be held before the year’s end, immediately heads start to roll, because the PNC Commissioners at GECOM have realised that this is it, this is the end of the road for them.A full stop has been put to their shenanigans and delaying twists and turns.We must respect the Constitution, and that entails free and fair elections this present year, not a futuristic fantasy election of next year as proposed by the PNC. Elections have to be held within the time frame stipulated by the Constitution and our courts. For too long, we have been bogged down by this illegal Government and its Commissioners stifling the rights of the people at every turn. It is time for this nonsense to come to an end.We look forward to a headway straight into the Claims and Objections period and the production of a verified, updated, national voters’ list in time for election. As a nation, we have waited, too long to be exact, and here we are at the brink of a new day. Let us be vigilant and never let our guards down, we have to be constantly on the alert.However, there are two other major obstacles in our path on our way to a free and fair election. These two shackles I shall explain as we move swiftly forward to that healthy place called freedom.Respectfully,Neil Adams
Even as Police continue to hold one man in connection with the Gangaram, East Canje, shooting last week, another suspect was on Monday taken into custody.According to a police source, a teenager is now being questioning because he may have vital information.Last Thursday the bullet riddled body of Ramnarine Itwaru called ‘Bill’, 38, a cattle farmer of Gangaram Settlement, was found on a dam in Canefield at Speculation.The teenager arrested is also from Speculation.It is believed that the man was executed over a land dispute. Police had earlier arrested Ramadolar Shamdundar also called ‘Arnold’ of Gangaram. He remains in custody and is the prime suspect in the murder of Itwaru.Meanwhile, the dead man’s wife Kunti Hemraj also called ‘Rosie’ says she is now living in fear following her husband’s death.She believes the police have the man who is responsible for her husband’s death but is fearful of being harmed by his relatives.The woman explained that some of her husband’s cows were stolen some time back and Itwaru had accused the man, who is now in custody.As investigations continue, the Major Crime Unity have taken the suspect to Georgetown as they try to piece together the events leading up to the fatal shooting.It is expected that the teenager will provide information for further questioning of Shamdundar.The slain cattle farmer was laid to rest over the weekend. He leaves to mourn a wife and an 11-year-old son.
Sherwin Thompson, 17, of Lot 24 West La Penitence, Georgetown, was slapped with two counts of robbery thus he appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly on Monday at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.It is alleged that on October 13, 2016, at Georgetown, while being in the company of another and armed with a gun, he robbed Diana Richards of $14,520.Also, on the same day and at the same location, he robbed Stephen Emanuel of an undisclosed sum of cash.His female attorney denied the allegations, explaining that her client was wrongfully accused and was also beaten by villagers in a case of mistaken identity.However, the prosecution contended that the defendant was caught and beaten by villagers after Richard’s raised an alarm as she was being robbed.He was remanded to prison and is expected to return to court on October 25, 2016.