In many parts of the coastland, from the Corentyne to the Essequibo coast, people had to go to Masjids for their COVID-19 vaccines.
Why these Islamic places of worship were selected for this purpose when schools, community and health centres and hospitals were and are available leads to inevitable speculation. It is also noted that Masjids are centres for distribution of Old Age Pension books, and that food hampers allegedly provided by the PPP during the early days of the pandemic were handled exclusively through the Masjids.
Of course, in this matter of food hampers, it is the prerogative of the party to decide the distribution system, but it certainly gives the impression that the state, departing from our foundational secular principles, is involved in promoting a religion.
Further, if Masjids have been selected for the distribution of Old Age Pension books and for administering the vaccines in such an open and blatant way, one shudders to think what may be going on behind closed doors.
Is this the new order we are now to expect in Guyana, identity politics and preferential entitlements, the exchange of one form of discrimination for another?
It might be the official teaching of a particular religion that its followers, being the first among equals, must be given preferential treatment; but in this plural, multi-cultural society, that is a policy that is as dangerous as it is foolish.
We are already blighted by racial mistrust and insecurity. Our leaders must be careful not to add religion in the cauldron, because, in the fatal words of Prime Minister Rowley, “This may not end well.”