People do not eat symbols
Stabroek News
September 8, 2001

Dear Editor,

Mr Lorri Alexander really allows himself to be easily carried away with the Burnham legacy based on emotions and not facts (SN, 4.9.01). Let's get serious and examine the facts. The Anthem, the Flag, the Pledge, the Motto, the National Songs, National Monuments (inclusive of that of the Enmore Martyrs), National Parks, National Service, Guyfesta, Carifesta, Carifta, Caricom are not lasting legacies. I wonder how many of these things have provided food and shelter. They are the same things that the lunatics in the Eastern bloc countries and North Korea have propagated and look where they are now - at the bottom of the garbage heap.

People do not eat symbols. The dictator that Burnham was, needed these symbols to enhance his power and hold on to the people. There is no transparent attempt to rebury Burnham and his legacy as there was none in the first place.

Burnham could not tolerate any opposition and ruled at times like a common thug. People who did not agree with him were made to pay a very stiff price - they were harassed and intimidated. I remember those who had to go and work on Mr Burnham's estate on the East Coast on the weekends.

A real leader is someone who has the capacity to look beyond the petty things, someone who not only has a vision but can deliver it, someone who can motivate his people to strive to make lasting progress.

The floating bridge may be a wonder to Mr Alexander, but if he had done his homework the world would have seen that the US army was using floating bridges a very long time before it became fashionable in Guyana.

If Mr Burnham was successful then the nation of Guyana would have been able to feed itself by now. We could have been the breadbasket for the whole Caribbean. It is to be hoped that one day we will. We would have been able to retain some of the smartest and brightest minds of all races in Guyana.

These people would have been able to contribute to the development of the nation. After all, Mr Alexander too knows that the greatest asset a nation has is its people. If a leader does not respect the people then they will not respect him.

You cannot force your people with threats and intimidation to follow you.

Yours faithfully,

Roy Khan