Home Features Those calls for racial violence in our country
If one were to audit a list of challenges that have contributed to Guyana’s underdevelopment since 1950, for each decade since then, ethnic and racial polarisation would rank at the top or near to the top of all the lists, no matter who was compiling the list. It is definitely not the only reason for our underdevelopment; however, it is one of the major factors. It is in this context that it is appalling that there is so much silence surrounding the recent spate of calls for racial violence in our country. At a WPA meeting in Mocha, we heard the unmistakable call for racial violence. At a meeting in Buxton, organised by the WPA and including speakers from the PNC, there was an open, blatant and brazen call for racial violence. Rightfully, there have been rejections and demands for apology from some sections of the country, but the overall reaction in the country has been mostly timid and muted.
There are times in every nation’s history when citizens speak with one voice. During 9/11, the people of the US stood as one and spoke as one. There are many examples of divided countries putting aside their daily differences and chronic divisive issues to speak with one voice. The recent call for racial violence and an uprising supported by the armed forces of Guyana, for Afro-Guyanese Police and soldiers to turn their guns on other citizens for one purpose only – install an Afro-centric Government to replace a duly-elected government – is reprehensible and illegal. Rightfully, some have rejected the demand from the WPA meeting; but, overall, there has been a nonchalant response. There are some whose voices are loud every day about one issue after another. Nothing has been too small or trivial to silence them. In no way whatsoever is the WPA’s call for armed violence to replace elections a small, trivial thing. The call was made in contravention of the laws of Guyana. It is pure sedition, but for those who routinely exercise their right to speak, this matter has not garnered any attention from them. Had such a call come, however, from the PPP, rest assured that these voices would have been the leading ones.
The Leader of the Opposition and the PNC spoke at the WPA meeting. This is how far down the political ladder the PNC has come under Aubrey Norton – he now depends on the WPA, with only a handful of members and supporters, to provide him an opportunity to address a public meeting. As revealed in Mocha and South Georgetown, the PNC by itself cannot mobilise a crowd for Norton to address. Norton was present when the incendiary words were spoken. Norton did not refute the words. Indeed, the odious words were spoken as part of the call for a Day of Resistance. He took time to distance the PNC from the WPA’s call for boycotting the Local Government Elections, but insisted the PNC would support the Day of Resistance. This was his opportunity to distance himself and his party from the call for Afro-Guyanese, led by Afro-Guyanese Police and soldiers, to turn their guns against innocent citizens in order to install an Afro-Guyanese illegal Government. Despite the widespread circulation of the video from the meeting, Norton has remained silent. The PNC has remained silent.
A few of the handful of Indo-Guyanese who are PNC MPs and who are in the PNC executive in a cosmetic way have voiced their rejection of the call for racial violence. But they also sought to defend those persons who uttered the words. In their rejection of the call, they expressed understanding, and claimed that the call was not made out of maliciousness and ulterior motives, but the call came only after the extreme provocation of the WPA members by the PPP Government. This is obnoxious. A call for armed violence by any group against any group is wrong, and cannot be justified or excused. The only PNC members who spoke out against the call for violence were those who must campaign for the PNC in Indo-Guyanese communities, who were merely concerned about the reaction they would get from those communities.
The expression of understanding and being sympathetic to those who call for violence exposed the hypocrisy and deceit of those PNC members.
The GHRA, who mostly were silent for the entire period when David Granger started the process of rigging the elections by the illegal appointment of Judge Patterson to be the GECOM Chair, and then when he tried to derail the No-Confidence Motion, and throughout the shameful five-month period when the PNC-led Government worked with GECOM to rig the March 2, 2020 elections’ results, suddenly now have a voice for every and all matters. Their anti-PPP posture is very evident. During a time when the rejection of calls for racial violence should be the top issue in our country, the GHRA has come out swinging against a contract to provide all Guyanese with an electronic card they can use for all financial and civil transactions. Most countries in the world have this already. Guyana is catching up with the rest of the world. The GHRA, which is largely silent on the WPA’s call for violence in the presence of the PNC’s leader, is more interested in why the Government signed a contract without widespread consultation with the people.
But where is the Page One comment from KN and Stabroek News? The Stabroek News, to its credit, did an editorial. But, instead of an unequivocal rejection, it also seems to think that the guilty ones were provoked. Too many are guilty of silence on a matter that is an existential threat to our development as a nation.