Condemnation of WPA’s Calls

Dear Editor,
Having listened to recent presentations made at public meetings by leading members of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), I cannot restrain the compulsion to state how appalled I am at the utterances, and to lend my voice in total condemnation of the calls for violence made by some of the speakers.
I find it extremely worrying that persons, who are expected to be reasonable and responsible, would, in the public space, express sentiments that were glaringly racist and incited violence, including acts of terrorism.
From what was stated, it appears that the speakers ascribed upon themselves ownership and influence over one segment of the professional Joint Services and can seemingly direct their actions to bring harm to the democratically-elected government of President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
Guyana’s political history is an open book. Indisputably, the utterances made at the meetings in question reflect racist overtones and not-so-subtle calls for instability.
Such calls, and again, given our history, have the potential to shatter the fabric of national cohesion that is being built and strengthened. With our country having experienced the devastating impact of political instability and unsavoury maneuvers in and out of the courts with regard to national elections in the past, the lessons and pains are relatively fresh.
The vast majority of Guyanese have denounced such actions. There is no desire for the disruption of democratic gains, of the state of peace, and of the overall sense of safety and security all enjoy. There is, therefore, no place in our society for such calls which were made by the speakers in question. Those calls can only be seen as being wantonly irresponsible and a threat to our nation and all of its people.
While freedom of speech has been restored, it is not absolute and must not be used to spew hate, and racism and to incite public violence. We must be mindful that those calls also have the potential to sow discord within and to tarnish the image of the hardworking men and women of the Joint Services as they infer those in uniform may have some allegiance to and may be at the beckoning call of the agents who stood behind the microphone at the public meetings to spew vitriol. Not surprisingly, the Joint Services’ swift response debunked such inference and reiterated its professionalism.
Any initiative to unify our people in this beautifully diverse nation of ours is most welcomed. At this juncture when the One Guyana initiative is making tremendous gains in precipitating the long-desired and seemingly elusive unification of our people, and when rapid unprecedented transformative national development is unfolding across the country, the timing and motive of the calls made, are questionable. There are more constructive ways to handle discontent.
Despite different opinions and disagreements on some issues, Guyanese have time and again demonstrated that they can rise above such ill-placed calls for destruction, and instead remain steadfast in building a society where peace and goodwill permeate, and hatred is rejected.

Neaz Subhan
Ethnic Relations