Revolutionary thinking needed

To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
August 24, 2001

I WRITE in response to an article by Dr. Prem Misir in the Guyana Chronicle 13-7-2001 headed `Power sharing proposals based on false assumptions in Guyana'.

This article reflects a comprehensive echo of the logjam in understanding by an influential group on the political landscape; hence, this letter is tailored to address this situation.

Abysmally, the predicament exists in Guyana where there is scant grasping of the essence of what is meant by Government and pluralism in Government in a democratic context.

A Government is created fundamentally with the transferring of power by a people to a selected group within the ambit of a particular regime empowering them with the mantle to ensure that their needs (security, socio economic etc) are met.

Pluralism in Government becomes a necessity when the people choose because of a division in perception to transfer that vital mantle to different groups (bi-partisanship).

With the introduction of the ethnic factor, the existence of different ethnicities within a specific bounded geographic area; the desire among the varying ethnic groups to transfer that mantle to their own representatives has to be met with a new dimension of the concept of pluralism in Government.

If such efforts are not made, a dilemma is created which historically has been known to fuel ethnic tension. If this dilemma is allowed to exacerbate, factors such as the socio-economic status and social stratification become irrelevant because a struggle is created where the ethnic groups sanction political power with the highest moral value.

In Guyana, the concept has been given the label ethnic insecurity, hence when the claims of racial discrimination and marginalisation are made; these are what are called euphemisms- a milder way to put a harsh reality.

There has been the continuous regurgitation of the folly that ethnic tension is only sustained and amplified by the deliberate coaxing and manipulation of wretched politicians. But without a receptive and gullible subject how can the process of manipulation occur?

The fact that the pinnacles of ethnic tension are only manifested explicitly every five years doesn't offer any consolation. The tornado of destruction than invariably manifests itself as some form of ritualism cripples the economy and stifles relations for the next five years.

Recently the Minister of Finance disclosed a gargantuan sum that was calculated to be the total of all losses of the pre- and post-March19 mayhem. Can a developing country really afford this sort of ridiculousness?

Dr. Misir claims in his article, "scientifically administered research on the social and economic conditions of all Guyanese may uncover the folly of the assumptions of power sharing."

I quote two sentences from a document I downloaded from the Inter-American Development Bank's website. A study evaluating Guyana's economic and the political performance and recommendations.

It said, "It is hoped that reform of the electoral process and the constitution will result in a more rational sharing of power between the parties and help break the ethnic impasse. In the meantime, political uncertainty is having a negative impact on economic activity through business and investment."

Guyana continues to slide deeper into an abyss of economic misery because the political component wavers in ethnic strife and yet there are those who seek to downplay this stark reality.

One can only shiver at the thought of what drives this.

The ethnic groups in Guyana must have the appurtenance of being represented by those they say are there representatives, but first it is imperative that these representatives jettison this ostentation of pseudo-denial and accept the responsibility imposed on them by their constituency.

A Government of ethnic representation through a Federalist structure is recommended.

The faster we start effacing the chimerical fallacies that exist and start accepting the reality Guyana would start asserting itself as a burgeoning international force.

The issue of multiculturalism is of great significance in this discussion about the sharing of power between a multicultural populace and it should be noted that those schooled in Marxist philosophy with the emphasis on social stratification based on wealth variations would never fully grasp the profundity of cultural pluralism.

Multiculturalism will have varying connotations to different peoples based on the philosophy they have been nurtured to accept.

However, with the paradigm of the melting pot where peoples of different cultures are fused together under some uncertain heritage much less rich and splendid than the individual cultures, not only will vital parts of the individual cultures wither but historically this imposition has been precisely the cause of tension and conflict.

The ethnic groups that inhabit this land must be compelled to hold on to magnificence and beatitude of the culture of their foreparents.

If there is such a thing as a Guyanese culture, it should be the concordant co-existence of these separate cultures. According to the philosophy books I have been groomed under, this is what is meant by multiculturalism.

The peoples of Guyana have gone through much, slavery, indentureship and now ethnic tension but their history began long before these morbidities, and as soon as there can be a recapturing of these experiences dignity and honour will be the epiphenomenona.

I have deviated a bit from my initial topic to show precisely what revolution in thinking is needed to move away from the antiquated ways of governance and to enter the realm of the fresh and vitalising spirit of the democratic evolution.

If such a vision is considered utopian, our future looks rather lachrymose.