Power sharing is the only way to deal with ethnic insecurity

Stabroek News
July 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

Mr.De Groot in his letter captioned "Both parties rejected power sharing"(SN July 25) should ask himself whether, as a member of an older generation, he is happy with the failed state that we have passed on to the young people. An example is the appointment of Nirmal Rekha as Secretary to the Treasury when the obvious choice of Winston Jordan exists. Rumour has it that an equally Indo-centric appointment will soon be made as Governor of the Bank of Guyana. Party paramountcy is alive and well. The state is buried beneath the struggles for party paramountcy.

In England and America ,the security committees in Parliament and Congress are briefed with the same information by the secret service agencies. That is not possible in Guyana. There may be informal liaisons which dare not be made public and which cannot therefore be institutionalized. As these examples demonstrate, the state in Guyana which can deal predictably with all the races has failed to emerge.

What has kept back the emergence of a state that is autonomous of party paramountcy interests? The answer is racial insecurity. Mr.De Groot knows this from both sides of the party divide. But he does not have the leverage to bridge the divide and assist to superimpose a statist position to which both parties should subscribe. Recent converts, like Mr.De Groot are more fanatic in their partisan utterings and, in fact, are exploited by the party machinery to villify their erstwhile comrades.

Does Mr.De Groot seriously believe that majority rule in a racially divided society is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for democracy? Is Mr.De Groot proud of an economic performance of a failed rice industry, hundreds and perhaps thousands of bankruptcies, a sense of hopelessness that is giving rise to an increasing rate of suicides and to a massive outflow of capital?

The answer to this debilitating situation is to build trust between the respective peoples by sharing power. There is no other way. Domination of one group over the other with the hope that economic prosperity will assuage the subordinated group will not work. The economic prosperity is not likely and ,even if it is achieved, second class citizen status leads to social instability. The elites in the PPP and the PNC know all these arguments very well. They have rejected power sharing because of their preoccupation with "Power, power". Mr. De Groot knows better than to join this power hungry elite. Dr. Hinds's generation deserves better from those like Mr. De Groot who can tell both sides how narrow their excessive partisanship has become.

Yours faithfully,
Clarence F.Ellis

Editor's note

Mr Jordan is a special adviser to the Minister of Finance under a contract funded by the World Bank.