The need not is for strong, knowledgeable leadership
Stabroek News
December 8, 2001

Dear Editor,

Why move on? Because we can ill-afford not to. It is rather unfortunate that Mr. Sooklall [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] perceives my 'call to move on' as anything but just that. It appears that he is also of the belief that I (and the Stabroek News) have some fear of what lurks in the past, on the contrary, I am far more concerned with the inadequacies of the present and a clear lack of vision of where Guyana should be headed and precisely how it will get there. Mr. Sooklall, I have nothing to fear from the truth and I am quite certain that most Guyanese are more concerned with what the next pay check is going to look like than why they only received X amount ten or twenty years ago.

I agree, the truth shall set you free and for those who feel so compelled, seek it out and you shall be set free. Who in Guyana is unaware of the rigged elections that helped to consolidate Burnham's power? Who does not know that prior to 1985, all of Guyana was being lead blindly along by concepts of both socialism and communist rhetoric? My point, Mr. Sooklall, is that unless you assert criminal wrongdoing, requiring an investigation by the judicial system, I fail to see the added value of a truth and reconciliation commission at this stage of the game. Take a look at the bigger picture, not your own, but of the ordinary man in the street and assess the value of this stimulus you are suggesting. If you cannot guarantee that it will move us out of the financial predicament and have all Guyanese holding hands, then what purpose does it really serve?

I am surprised to hear someone question the targeting of 'Indians' by criminals. Mr. Sooklall, 53 percent of the Guyanese population is of Indian descent and historically, they have entrenched themselves as the dominant ethnic grouping in Guyanese economic activities. In other words, they have what the criminals want, hence the attacks. Now, if you want us to address issues of crime prevention, I could possibly send a copy of my paper on said subject. I sure hope that you are not suggesting that there isn't equal victim opportunity and anything other than pure greed and evil is responsible?

I must also let you know that I have offered a way forward and that is for our leaders to establish a vision and precisely detail how they intend to get the country there, in order to motivate the people they serve towards their common goal. Whatever happened to 'One People, One Nation, One Destiny'? The people need to be motivated towards a common goal (that is, something in the future) and when last I checked, a free and fair election process installed a government to perform such a task.

Like so many contributors to this letter column, I have always called for Guyanese to recognize their differences and common heritage in an attempt to secure their own future. Guyana can ill afford to spend more valuable external funds to conduct a mass therapy session. In my opinion, strong, assertive, knowledgeable, and focused leadership is necessary at this point to rally the nation out of its crisis. If they need help, there are many examples of good leadership around the world from which to draw and equally good, honest and well-intentioned men (or women) to take up the mantle.

Perhaps Mr. Sooklall should consider the challenge.

Yours faithfully,

Merrill Hyman Sr.