Still waiting for the promised land

Stabroek News
December 25, 2001

Dear Editor,

It is that time of the year, the season of peace and goodwill, when everyone extends best wishes to each other irrespective of race, colour, religion, or political affiliation. It is traditional also for political leaders to seize the opportunity to call upon the people to live in unity and racial harmony, and to strive harder to build a great nation. But such exhortations, while seemingly well-intentioned, are both hypocritical and misplaced because it gives the false impression that the people are the ones responsible for the racial divide and the poor state of the economy. By now, after 28 years of PNC rule and 9 years of governance from the PPP/Civic, there is still not even a fleeting glimpse of the promised land.

This season, therefore, let us break with tradition and demand that our respective political leaders observe the ethics of their profession and show genuine care and compassion for the welfare of the people. Let us exhort them, instead, to stop using the racial divide for their own political ambitions and concentrate on creating that economic base from which every Guyanese can have equal opportunity to work towards achieving a better standard of living and a higher quality of life.

Let us insist that they stop throwing around statistics to compare progress and development under the PPP/ Civic as against that under the PNC. Let us make them understand that we measure good governance simply by: 1. The living conditions of the people in Guyana relative to that of their counterparts in the rest of the world, and, 2. The rate at which people are running away from Guyana.

Let us not allow them to mislead us into believing that it is all our fault or the other leaders fault. They did not ask to be elected because they wanted to do the people a favour by trying to run the country better than the previous administration nor should you be grateful because things are a little better now than they were before. No. They promised categorically that "everything will be all right". Well, things are not all right. I would like to see that day when a new group of leaders will summon the courage to stand up among the people and say "I care for you".

And for those who have not been so inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I suggest that they seek guidance from the following: "He was born in an obscure village, worked in a carpenter's shop until age 30 then became an itinerant preacher. He never held any office, never owned a house, never went to College. He had no creditentials but himself. Twenty centuries have come and gone and he continues to be the central figure of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the kings that ever reigned, all the parliaments and congresses that ever convened, all the presidents that ever governed, have not affected life on this planet as much as Him - simply because he cared for his people and so gave his life." Peace, prosperity and happiness to us all and let our new year's resolution be "we will make our leaders make everyting all right".

Yours faithfully,

Shawn Mangru