By Dr Vishnu Bisram
Contrary to what some anti-Indian racists may say, the PPP administration was and is representative of the diversity of the population in the country that is about 42% Indians, 29% Africans, 18% Mixed, 10% Amerindians, and 1% Others (Portuguese, Chinese, etc).
The ruling party whose electoral base is over 85% Indians has established a government that is half Indians, a third Africans, a tenth Mixed, a tenth Amerindians, and it also has members of other ethnicities. It is an all-inclusive government whose resources and governance benefit all regardless of ethnicity, class, religion, region, and political affiliation. Thus, any attempt to paint the PPP as anything other than inclusive is misplaced.
Anyone who advocates war against the democratically elected government called, violence against Indians, and for partition of Guyana must be condemned in the strongest words possible. He must also be brought to book. The country needs political stability not violence.
The PPP government was elected in a free and fair election last year March and was only allowed to exercise power five months later in August. Efforts were made by the incumbent to rig the election results and prevent the declaration of the PPP as the legitimate winner. But international opinion was against its bold effort.
At a time when Guyana is moving towards prosperity, the first time in its history (mainly because of discovery of over 10 billion barrels of oil by Exxon), and where investors from the United States and other countries, are pouring into Guyana to seek out investment opportunities, Guyana’s stability as a democratic country must be upheld. It is more critical now for development than ever before. Destabilization efforts and calls for violence including revolution, will destroy not only Guyanese dreams but also wreck the new road to prosperity that have been laid out by the government. The country experienced such violence in the early 1960s when the PPP administration of the great Cheddi Jagan was destabilized and ousted. A repeat must not be allowed!
Unfortunately, a small group of Guyanese, some of them in Brooklyn, whose political party lost power in the 2020 elections, cannot come to grip yet with the reality that their party lost power. It should be noted that all the western diplomatic missions, including the US, CARICOM and Latin America agreed that the PPPC party won the elections fairly. The CARICOM high level oversight team certified the viability of the conduct of polls and the legitimacy of the election results. And because their findings ran counter to what the APNU and some of its supporters had harbored; they quickly vilified this esteemed team of CARICOM professionals. In fact, the entire Caribbean leadership and academia were demonized because of its staunch support for democracy and the swearing in of the legitimately elected PPPC government.
Outbursts against the government must go beyond the norms of civility, must be credible, and have empirical evidence. Any examination of data in Guyana would debunk any claims of anti-African racism: 75% of the public service workers are Afro-Guyanese, 90% of the army are Afro-Guyanese, 75% of the Police Force are Afro Guyanese, 70% of nurses are Afro Guyanese, 65% of teachers are Afro-Guyanese, and 80% of the academic staff at the University of Guyana are Afro-Guyanese; 65% of the students at UG are Afro-Guyanese. The proportion of the Afro-Guyanese in the general population is 29%. The ethnic composition of the government and staff at its agencies are representative of the pluralist nature of the population. How could anyone make a case for race discrimination when looking at those figures?
I urge fellow Guyanese in the USA, Canada, UK, and other parts of the diaspora as well as those in Guyana to strongly condemn advocacy of violence and hate speech against fellow Guyanese. And a legitimately elected government. Creating racial hostility and advocating partition, are symptoms of losers.
Under the “One Guyana” initiative, the country must continue to build on this (societal cohesion) that will pave the way for the good life for all Guyanese, irrespective of race, religion, gender of disability. We must continue to support each other and ignore and isolate those with radical and racist motives. Guyanese should not allow the calls for violence and the spewing of incendiary rhetoric to derail the country’s development trajectory.
The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the THE WEST INDIAN.