Home Letters Response to Congressman Hakeem’s remarks on Guyana’s politics
Permit me to respond to an article I read yesterday in which US Congressman Jeffries said, among other things, that the US should not interfere in Guyana’s political situation and that this country should solve its own problems.
I must say that I am truly surprised and shocked that a person of the Congressman’s calibre, who is an advocate for justice and equality, has made such remarks.
For the past five decades, leaders of the developing nations have been poor examples of leadership to those who govern third world nations. Where was the Congressman when LFS Burnham left a legacy of corruption and racial injustice in Guyana? Burnham nationalised the sugar and bauxite industries and kicked the British out.
He banned basic food items which were the staple diet for East Indians. Thanks to some resourceful Indians in the Upper Corentyne who established a contraband trade with Suriname and provided these basic food items which were transported from one end of the country to the other, both East Indians and Africans benefited. Where were you, Congressman Jeffries when a female Cabinet member was recently punched by a policeman in the Guyana Parliament when she spoke up for justice? What would you have done if she was your wife?
Where were you when Police were placed in Parliament to silence Opposition members who were peacefully expressing their views and standing up for democracy? The politics of Guyana has always been about race, and anyone who says otherwise is not being honest. Editor, I think the Congressman, because of his ethnicity is biased against the Opposition party, which consists predominantly of East Indians.
Guyana’s recent elections have been fraught with fraud. The Congressman must be reminded that the current President Granger of Guyana was voted out of office on a No-Confidence Motion in December of 2018. Elections were supposed to have been held three months after this occurrence. But the President illegally stayed in power for another year because of greed. He refused to hold elections as the Constitution mandated, and only did so on March 2 of this year.
He defied his own Constitution as well as the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Then he goes on TV, even now, and says how he abides by the Constitution, and that he is transparent in whatever he does. What a travesty of governance! During the extra year he stayed in office, the machinery for rigging the next elections was set up. Unfortunately for him and his party, the dishonest act was discovered in broad daylight by observers when the ballots were first counted on March 2, 2020.
I wish to let the Congressman know that the people of Guyana, both Africans and East Indians, who make up the nation’s majority population, are being politically and economically suppressed. They have endured this for a long time. Such suppression and discrimination resulted in the brain drain from the seventies to the present day. They are defenceless against a Government that controls the Police Force and the Army. East Indians have always been constantly harassed and intimidated more than Africans, for no just cause.
Politicians who have the best interest at heart for the Guyanese people have sought intervention from North American and European leaders. Here you are, advising the US not to get involved. The Congressman reminds me of the Priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan. He sees someone suffering and in need of help, and he walks to the other side. The Congressman is really practicing social distancing for the wrong reason, and he wants others to do the same. If you don’t want to help, don’t stop others who are willing to do so. God is not going to be pleased with you or anyone who refuses to help and still claim to love God and be God-fearing. East Indians are hardworking and educated people. They are humble, patient, and resilient. But in this century, they are not going to stay quiet when an atmosphere of freedom and justice is absent.
Your remarks, Mr Congressman can incite civil unrest in Guyana. In the same way you are fighting for justice in the US, Guyanese are attempting to do the best for their country. Fortunately for you, over there you are guaranteed freedom of speech and Police protection for your political views. They are not so fortunate.
I would like to suggest, Congressman, that you focus on the corruption and the cover-up in the White House. I have seen you during the Trump impeachment trial and heard your convincing arguments which were expressed so eloquently.
You know, as well as I do, that all is not well over in the US. Guyana, a country with less than three-quarters of a million people, cannot be of any help to you. But here you have all the available material and human resources that can be helpful to them.
In the interest of peace and goodwill within, and among nations, I encourage you to retract the opinions you have recently expressed and do your best to help a nation that reaches out for freedom, justice, and democracy.
Rev Dr Joel Chinapen