“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Justice. They shall be satisfied.”

first_imgDear Editor,This is a quotation from the Bible that can be found on the big white rock next to the huge grey cross outside the St. Stanislaus College school compound on Brickdam.While most of us just walk past without wondering, the students who attended St. Stanislaus College in the eighties always knew that the school suffered a huge sacrifice in this nation’s struggle for democracy. The rock is in memory of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Father Darke.As a child growing up during tumultuous times in Guyana, we always had in our home a newspaper called the Catholic Standard, a vanguard for democracy and principle.As a people, as a nation, we must not forget the price that was paid for democracy and freedom, and we must never forget our heroes — those who paid with their lives for our freedom. We must not forget the value of democracy and the reason that we fight so hard for it. It is an essential foundation of political and economic stability.Participation in free and fair elections is the cornerstone by which we, the people, express our consent to be governed. This right was not handed to us on a platter by President Carter in 1992. We had to fight for this right to free and fair elections. While the children watched in awe and in fear during the long years of the PNC dictatorship, the upright citizens of this country waged a war against injustice and paid, a heavy price for the freedoms that we now enjoy.The people of this country cannot therefore offer a lukewarm response when our hard-earned freedoms are threatened. The first dent that President Granger put on our confidence was in hand-picking a Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The Guyana Elections Commission provides the mechanism through which the will of the people is determined. Our political culture demands consensus in the choice of a Chairman of GECOM.Political culture is important, because it represents our collective standards, values, virtues and wisdom; it is what we embody as a people. It is what the children learn from the adults, and it represents our baseline of standards – what we stand for as a nation – without it having to be articulated expressly. The people of this country are trying to improve political culture and take it to higher standards. Trampling of hard-earned political culture is the work of the ignorant. Ignorance must not rule over us, nor must the ignorant be given an opportunity to rule in the future, for the consequences of political power in the hands of the ignorant are already well known to us.We need skilled, competent leaders who are invested in service to the people. If there is one thing that we know well in this country, it is that politicians speak with forked tongues. We must therefore interrogate their utterances. Politicians must prove to us that they are genuine. We must not ingenuously believe them when they speak.President Granger made a grand speech about Local Government Elections (LGE). He said LGE is important to social cohesion. It is an entitlement of the people, and it is our right to select leaders; and on that basis, he therefore cannot postpone LGE. So the President asserts that his push for LGE is because it is a right, and that he is doing it for the benefit of the people and to improve social cohesion.However, the President’s claims are occurring against a backdrop of evidence that shows that there are certain glitches in the matrix. Four Miles, a community located in Region One, made a huge shout out to the Guyanese public at the end of August that the APNU/AFC coalition Government is pushing to form a CDC in titled Amerindian land (Guyana Times, 30th August, 2018).What is going on here, and what does this glitch in the matrix signify? This assault on the Amerindian people was not only against political culture, but it is against the law. The APNU/AFC Coalition continues to pursue its agenda as if it is above the law. This continuous aggravation by politicians against the people of this country is not appreciated. We elect statesmen and women to uphold the law and maintain and improve political stability, not to trample it.Further, CitizensReport (June 13,2018), informed the public that the APNU/AFC Coalition clandestinely changed two Amerindian Village Councils into Neighbourhood Democratic Councils without consulting the toshaos or residents of Aranaputa and Annai.Another glitch in the matrix was the clash between President Granger and the National Toshaos’ Council on Amerindian land rights. Anna Correia, in her article in the Guyana Times (April 9, 2017), asserted that this clash is part of a larger PNC philosophy geared to crush multiculturalism. Diversity is recognised worldwide as a virtue and a natural law that protects the human species against extinction.A fourth glitch in the matrix was the accusation, and the evidence provided, by the PPP/C that gerrymandering of the boundaries was taking place. Minister Bulkan has subsequently accused the PPP/C of trying to delay the LGE. Well, we don’t believe the Minister. The PPP/C has a valid claim.Maybe what can help us to understand President Granger’s resentment against the Amerindian people, his urgency for LGE and the motivation behind the gerrymandering is the opening paragraph of his article (on sale at Austin’s for $400) titled ‘Guyana’s Military Veterans.’ The paragraph begins with a sub-title: Promised Land.And continues thus: “In October, 1970, Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Guyana Defence Board reiterated his pledge that all military veterans would be entitled to a grant of state land once they had retired honourably from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).”The speech of Forbes Burnham “..I made an offer to the GDF that any long-serving GDF men, and women too, who retired or left the service honourably..would be given an opportunity, if they wish, along with others, to have control of large plots of land in the hinterland for development, agriculture, particularly, though there is no objection to other forms of use of the land.”Granger continued in his writing “..four Defence Ministers, and 28 years later, no land settlement scheme has materialised and the misplaced satisfaction of military veterans has turned to scepticism.”So, maybe President Granger’s passion for LGE is not so much for upholding the rights of the citizens, but for a dream for Amerindian lands crafted before many of us were born in an era of state control and dictatorship. If so, the Government is pursuing an agenda outside of the responsibilities given to it by the citizens of this nation. No government must feel that the people of this country are without courage, for thirst and hunger for justice flows through our veins, and a passion for righteousness ignites our heart.Sincerely,Sandra Khanlast_img

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