The Road to Ruina­tion: APNU+AFC Racial and Po­lit­i­cal Dis­crim­i­na­tion

Weekend Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By Don­ald Ramo­tar

Guyana

is a multi-racial/ multi-eth­nic coun­try. For it to progress and reach its full po­ten­tial, it has to be man­aged in the in­ter­ests of all its peo­ple. To do other­wise is surely a clear-cut path on the road to ruina­tion.

We don’t have to look far for ex­am­ples of this. Our own ex­pe­ri­ences un­der the PNC regime are enough to tell us that fol­low­ing that course is a recipe for de­struc­tion.

It should be re­called that when the PNC took power in 1964, Guyana (then Bri­tish Guiana), was one of the most de­vel­oped colonies in the Caribbean, English speak­ing and oth­ers.

By 1992, when the PNC was re­moved from power, we were the poor­est coun­try in the Western Hemi­sphere. This was the con­clu­sion drawn by t he McIn­tyre Com­mis­sion.

The rea­son for that were the un­prin­ci­pled poli­cies of the then un­demo­cratic gov­ern­ment (rigged elec­tions, etc) and mas­sive racial and po­lit­i­cal dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Even though this is our sor­did his­tory, t he APNU+AFC regime has cho­sen to go down that path again.

Some­time in mid- De­cem­ber 2016, the me­dia re­ported that was regime was plan­ning to ex­pend US$12.4M to up­grade ‘ne­glected vil­lages.’ The funds would be com­ing from the Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank.

The vil­lages iden­ti­fied for this project are over­whelm­ingly Afro-Guyanese pop­u­lated com­mu­ni­ties – Mocha Ar­ca­dia, Beter­ver­wagt­ing/Tri­umph, Bux­ton and Ithaca.

This is clearly an­other naked act of racism be­ing prac­ticed by this regime. It is a con­tin­u­a­tion of what is clearly a con­scious, de­liber- ate pol­icy of dis­crim­i­na­tion against Indo-Guyanese.

Dur­ing the pe­riod of the PPP/ C in of­fice, the then gov­ern­ment spent a lot of money on im­prov­ing the life of all com­mu­ni­ties/vil­lages, re­gard­less of eth­nic makeup. It had set up a joint com­mit­tee with the PNC to en­sure that no dis­crim­i­na­tion would be prac­ticed in the al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources.

De­spite all the charges made against the PPP/ C ad­min­is­tra­tion, no ev­i­dence has to date been pro­duced of a pol­icy of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion against vil­lages.

As part of t he Agri­cul­ture Sup­port Ser­vices Project, the fol­low­ing ar­eas ben­e­fit­ted from full drainage and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes, but were not men­tioned by the APNU/AFC Gov­ern­ment.

This is why un­der an ear­lier PPP gov­ern­ment ( 1957- 1964), our coun­try made huge leaps for­ward. With the PPP/ C in of­fice from 1992-2015, our coun­try moved from be­ing de­scribed as a ‘bas­ket case’ to be­ing viewed as the fastest grow­ing econ­omy in the re­gion. We moved from be­ing a Heav­ily In­debted Poor Coun­try (HIPC) to a Mid­dle In­come de­vel­op­ing Coun­try (MIDC).

Both the PPP gov­ern­ment of 1957-1964 and the PPP/C gov­ern­ment of 19922015, man­aged to make these achieve­ments un­der very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions and an ac­tive pol­icy of sab­o­tage by the PNC and PNC-led APNU+AFC.

The rea­son the PPP was able to ac­com­plish those feats was be­cause we re­fused to be di­verted from the demo­cratic path and never prac­ticed racial nor po­lit­i­cal poli­cies. The PPP and the PPP/C never had any such poli­cies.

The same can­not be said about the PNC-led APNU+AFC.

From the mo­ment they took power, less than two years ago t hey be­gan a purge of Indo- Guyanese from the pub­lic ser­vice. This is still on­go­ing and Indo-Guyanese’s pres­ence in the pub­lic ser­vice is at one of the low­est levels ever, and con­tin­ues to de­cline.

Indo-Guyanese are hardly be­ing em­ployed too. Less than 5% of the per­sons be­ing hired as con­tract workers or in the tra­di­tional pub­lic ser­vice are Indo-Guyanese.

Also, judg­ing from the pho­to­graph pub­lished in the news­pa­pers of the first batch of trainees ad­mit­ted for the pub­lic ser­vice train­ing cen­tre, ap­prox­i­mately 2% are Indo-Guyanese. This means that if this regime stays in of­fice by 2020, Indo-Guyanese pres­ence in the pub­lic ser­vice will be non-ex­is­tent.

This racist pol­icy is also seen in the regime’s at­ti­tude to the sugar and rice in­dus­tries. These sec­tors are per­ceived to be dom­i­nated by mainly Indo-Guyanese and the regime’s seems de­ter­mined to de­stroy these peo­ple’s liveli­hood.

They have shut down Wales Es­tate and they have not de­nied that Rose Hall Es­tate is their next tar­get.

Re­call, too, that they have not lifted a fin­ger to as­sist the rice in­dus­try. In fact, in­stead of help­ing, they took away the duty-free and VAT-free con­ces­sions that the PPP/C had granted to farm­ers and millers pur­chas­ing equip­ment.

Un­der the PPP/C, gov­ern­ment schol­ar­ships were fairly and evenly dis­trib­uted and pub­lic meet­ings were held with stu­dents go­ing abroad to study. Even the blind could have seen the fair­ness in the grant­ing of schol­ar­ships.

This regime has never pub­lished a list of those per­sons granted gov­ern­ment schol­ar­ships. Why?

The only rea­son is that it is skewed against Indo-Guyanese. now the regime is mov­ing t o dis­crim­i­nate against vil­lages where Indo-Guyanese live.

All the vil­lages on Guyana’s coast­land are ap­prox­i­mately at the same level of de­vel­op­ment. The Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment has all the in­for­ma­tion the Na­tional Drainage & Ir­ri­ga­tion Author­ity (NDIA) can also sub­stan­ti­ate this.

There­fore, the at­tempt by the regime to de­scribe Mocha, Beter­ver­wagt­ing/ Tri­umph, Bux­ton and Ithaca as ‘ne­glected com­mu­ni­ties’ is dis­hon­est and aims to per­pet­u­ate racial dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Pres­i­dent Granger, is a his­to­rian by train­ing, but he seems not have learnt the les­son of the PNC gov­ern­ment from 1964-1992, i.e., in a multi racial/multi-cul­tural so­ci­ety such as ours, it is im­pos­si­ble to dis­crim­i­nate against one sec­tion of so­ci­ety in or­der to pro­mote an­other sec­tion. This will even­tu­ally harm all sec­tions of our so­ci­ety.

This is a dis­as­trous path to fol­low,

The regime has done very lit­tle to halt the pol­icy of racial and po­lit­i­cal dis­crim­i­na­tion. It still has a lit­tle time to change.

Fail­ing to change its racial line will lead to the ruina­tion of this land.

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