I wish not to believe there is Colourism in Parliament. I wish not to believe that the public buildings of Parliament have different yardsticks for measuring mode of dress between the Guyanese people and their foreign counterparts – some aliens, no pun intended.
Allow me the space to explain my plight. My friend and I were preparing for a debate competition hosted by the University of Guyana Students Society, with the moot reading “The Constitution of Guyana should restrict participation in Government based on dual citizenship to the President and Prime Minister only” and so, we thought it best to go down quickly to Parliament Buildings and read the Hansards concerning what led to the reform and the Article in question.
My friend was dressed in a lovely red dress, with broad straps and with length passing her knees, while I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. My friend was told by a security officer that she cannot: 1) Enter the building with arms out, he (the guard) was adamant. However, my friend reached into her bag and took out a sweater jacket. 2) We were then told to check back after lunch, for the Parliament workers are on lunch. At this point, we managed to convince him (security guard) that we will seek the discretion of the researchers, for we needed urgent help as we were in preparation for a final debate that afternoon.
Fast forward, we got the much-needed information from the Hansards.
As we were leaving the public buildings, my friend highlighted to me that a group of Caucasian people were about to enter Parliament. They appeared to be foreigners – greeted with a hearty welcome – they were escorted by an officer from the PR department.
The irony, and colourism, and double standards existed whereby the group of foreigners, who were dressed in fine straps that exposed their cleavage, short pants that showed their legs and slippers and sandals were allowed to enter our Parliament dressed in whatever made them comfortable, while we, Guyanese were asked to get in order according to dress code.
This type of attitude cannot bolster public knowledge on matters of Parliament and encourage students to do primary and or secondary research. Further, it will not engender the cohesion we seek as a nation.
What goes for Peter must go for Paul.