The blame must be laid at the doorstep of the politicians
Stabroek News
September 21, 2001

Dear Editor,

In response to the letter [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] from Ms Victoria-Ann Wason published in the Stabroek News of September 6, 2001, asking "What happened," I found the letter inspiring but sad. It was inspiring because it reminded me of how far we have deviated and retrogressed from the instilled or learned, moral edicts that made many of us proud to be Guyanese. A time tested honesty and respect for others, (irrespective of race, religion, economic well-being or social status) that was passed down to future generations. A tolerance for the opinions, physical presence and ideas of others regardless of whether that idea was sound or infeasible. It was sad because many Guyanese would find it hard to accept that the good and altruistic national personality has evolved to something sinister.

Most of the blame for what happened must be laid at the doorstep of the politicians. They failed to set the national path upon which Guyana would evolve with dignity. They failed to reinforce a national pride and create a Guyana full of hope and enthusiasm; instead they fostered other ill?conceived ideas that became national policy and were justified through the lens of party and race politics. It is with the advent of independence that we were exposed to corruption, nepotism, political intrigue and racial intolerance. However, this blame must be shared also by the populace, for it is us that allowed the corrupt mind to become dominant. Currently, we see the seeds of corruption and racism flourishing and the political mechanism still reaping the accrued benefits as the nation slides into despair. Contribution to Guyana's despair is also made by the foreign-based Guyanese. Many us return home and become extravagant. We flaunt our acquired wealth, dressing in clothes purchased only for the trip, giving the impression that Guyana is not the place you should be. This flaunting creates the impression that those at home should leave and by leaving in such large numbers all of Guyana's institutions suffer from the brain drain that results.

Ms Wason, I am still full of hope that one day people will realize that race is a dividing and non-progressive factor. I am hopeful that one day a wide cross-section of the electorate will elect a leader, and that leader will govern Guyana and dispense justice and the national agenda, based on merit and fairness. I am hopeful that the chosen leader will realize that there is a national consensus on the future of Guyana, and that there is no place for homogeneous voting, neighbourhoods. Therefore issues of national significance will determine who rules and sets policy, and the people will be united as they deserve. I am hopeful that one day politics in Guyana will never include or exclude any Guyanese from higher office due to the will of any ethnic group. I am also hopeful that the issues will be ethnically insignificant but nationally significant and as a consequence, the learned voting patterns will become non-existent. Then the question of "What happened?" will take on an historical context. Until then we can only reminisce on what was, what is, and what ought to be.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Barker