Granger Urges Guyanese Against ‘Denialism’

President David Granger addressing delegates to the Cuffy 250 State of African-Guyanese Forum. (DPI image)

Says in Pursuit of ‘a Good Life’ Social Reality Cannot be Denied

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – President David Granger has called on nationals to disassociate themselves from what he termed “denialism” saying that inconvenient truths particularly about the country’s challenges must not be concealed.

Granger, addressing the “Cuffy 250 State of African-Guyanese Forum” told delegates that every person must contribute to crafting and implementing plans to improve education, employment and empowerment.

“We should not allow people to deny that there are problems because that would obstruct us from implementing solutions. I believe Cuffy 250 is one of the solutions. Where there are problems, we must be courageous enough to admit there are problems and look for solutions and sometimes it calls for research,” he told the Forum on Sunday.

“We must all do much more to quicken the pace at which social problems are solved, local democracy firmly re-established, community development improved and the people could enjoy a good life,” he said.

Granger told the delegates that Guyanese, in pursuit of a ‘good life’, ought to avoid the dangers of ‘denialism’, which he said distorts the reality of present-day conditions, constructs a false reality and leads, inevitably, to failure.

He said nationals deceive themselves and others when social reality is denied and this can lead to consequences.

“A prominent leader of one country, notoriously, denied the link between Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and because of that denial 330,000 people died because his Government refused to provide treatment to HIV-infected persons.

“Even today people deny the impacts of global warming. Other prominent persons have described global warming as an ‘expensive hoax.’ Cigarette manufacturers have long denied the link between smoking and cancer. Denialism, in every phase of life, could have dangerous consequences but there is another side to denialism,” Granger said.

He said that denialism can be seen in a recent article, in which a prominent Guyanese writer “asserted that African-Guyanese practised self- hatred”; accused African-Guyanese of “cultural blindness”; alleged that African-Guyanese were “surrendering their collective dignity to the dictates of party politics.”

He said the writer also attacked African-Guyanese for “losing faith in the ability to overcome” and of “dumping the emancipation spirit;” and claimed that “there has been no bigger sinner against the Black man, since Emancipation, than the Black man himself.”
President Granger noted that this is a form of denial, which seeks to deny that this whole group in society has the capacity, the self-respect and self- esteem to transform their lives, to belong to political parties to improve their lives and to be culturally aware.

“There has been no credible research to explain these reckless pronouncements. I am convinced that national problems can be resolved but they cannot be resolved by inventing fake theories and notions, which refute reality and impede the process of solving the problems that confront society.

“We need to examine causation and causation of pervasive social problems needs to be determined before correct solutions can be sought and implemented. There are problems and we should not deny that there are problems because if we deny there are problems, we would never find correct solutions,” he said.

Granger said that one of the main problems particularly, which affect Guyanese currently, are the rate of school ‘dropouts’, which see at least seven students leaving school per day, with the highest incidence being in public secondary schools where at least five students drop out every day.

He said the rate of unemployment, which is estimated at 12 per cent of the labour force or about 37,119 persons is another problem plaguing Guyana and that the country is also having to deal with the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy, which is the highest in the Caribbean Community.

According to officials, more than 3,000 Guyanese teenage girls become pregnant every year and Granger said denying the prevalence and pervasiveness of these problems will not solve them.

Instead, he issued a call for a concerted effort to successfully address them.
These are big problems and we cannot deny that they exist. We cannot take our hands away from working towards a solution. We are seeking solutions and we need organisations like yours, non-governmental organisations and civil society, churches, religious organisations, Mandirs and Mosques to work together to solve these problems for all Guyanese particularly young Guyanese,” he said. – CMC