I am not the resident chief of Buxton, I condemn those who advised attacks on PPP supporters
Stabroek News
September 4, 2001

Dear Editor,

I have been out of Guyana since May 15 this year and will soon be asked "Where were you when....?"

I wish to respond to Mr.Alexander's letter on changes in local government discussion about village councils , but cannot say or write "village" without living again the April-May nightmare of Buxton Friendship. I can only condemn the desperate and dangerous idiots who went into that village and gave young people the idea that attacks on PPP supporters, that is, Indians, were a way to deliverance. They may be a younger generation, but they also rely on cannon fodder, pushing hopeful people into so-called action. They divide politics into clean work and dirty work. The dirty work, it seems, is for the nameless to do..

responsibility with those who carried out the actual offences. That kind of use of mind power makes those who practise it unworthy of mind power. Living there, and yet not knowing who is who, I have decided that my future engagement with persons at random will be very, very limited and selective.

It is commendable that persons are getting together to plan "development" and work for "racial tolerance". This is quite hollow for me, unless those taking part agree collectively to condemn the acts of personal violence and terror ( violence and terror) offending so many victims and others who disagreed with such false protests. This is not my first statement against the actions. I now know that my suspicions of persons acting behind the scenes

was not far off the mark. I know too that both Dr. David Hinds and Mr. Deon Abrams ( as villagers) condemned the reckless behaviour in clear words. I can now discuss government affairs.

The question has been asked by Mr.Bhola why some villagers, including me, did not stop the violence. Well, Dr. Hinds was not even in the country. He works abroad.

I was not only in the country but living in the village. The question does not offend me. Anyone who thinks Buxton-Friendship is a single street and that I am a sort of Boss-man, because I am a "prominent" villager will

ask questions like that. I am not a person, thank God, given to over-rating what I can do. And if my political influence was strong, as many suppose, why then did the party I am in get only 78 votes in Buxton-Friendship, a result I had sensed and warned about. One of the two

letters which really made me find a form of action with some chance of working had this passage:

"You continue to offer good advice to the country.

Your village is now the high point of disorder. Should we not expect that you, the Village elder and sage, should be ,and be seen to be acting to re-assert respect for the rights of the other?"

I am preserving this letter for its force, its beauty, its sincerity, its good intentions and its misunderstanding of village society.

Unless a public meeting is a PPP/C or PNC/R type rally, with motorcade, its message goes nowhere. If Mr. Sharma or Mr. Farouk goes into the village with a TV camera, the village knows. I can teach daily, meet fifty young people there to discuss HIV, meet seven or seventy farmers and it is known to those present only. People still think I am "abroad" -as I am one, two or three months a year. News of a death in the village comes to most from radio or better still TV. It is indeed easier for me to give out messages to the country than to send messages to the village! This condition is a result of many powerful changes, including the abolition of village councils in 1969.

This sense that Buxton-Friendship is a kind of tribe with a resident Chief is way out. Forget it!

I question whether half the adults in the village knew or know even now of my seven- day gesture during May and the greater one made by others. You see, we have media which "know" what is news and what is "stupidness". I did not over-rate my capacity. That was all I could do in a scenario knowingly designed to oppose my own views of the situation. "New wisdom " has been discovered . Even if I was self-important enough to go and try to shout down the protesters, every outbreak I heard of took place while I was in the WPA office in the city. I can see that 'protesters' were being assured behind the scenes by cowards that violence against persons was the only way and would bring down the government. I have a very good sense, thank you, of what I can do and of when people including leaders on both sides, are listening."

Oh! Those who look in my direction for hope have another problem. I have heard that the village or the neighbourhood- has been voted fifteen million dollars. The young people went peacefully fully and trustingly to the President's Youth Initiative Conference last year and presented programmes for financing. It turned out to be a big mockery for them. And now? After the street rage?

What really can we say when as in Auden's war, "The Just exchange their messages and understand each other so well?" One side has the cannon fodder launching attacks..The other side has its own cannon fodder-receiving the blows. Is it a little clearer ,Mr.Bhola?

My comments on Mr Alexander's letter are ready and will come in a day or two.

Yours faithfully,

Eusi Kwayana.