Standing up

Guyana Chronicle
March 24, 2001

THE Private Sector Commission (PSC), in its statement yesterday, reflects the general feeling in the society.

It is the view coming through in letters to the newspapers and from citizens all around and we commend the PSC for finding the courage to speak out at a time when many may feel inhibited.

"The work of building national institutions which may lead to an enhanced form of governance must now begin.

"At all costs our nation must forever set aside old differences and dedicate itself to the difficult but rewarding task of building a peaceful, progressive and enduring society", the business group stressed.

Now is the time for healing, President Bharrat Jagdeo said over and over at a news conference last night, pointing out that Guyana cannot go back to the trauma that followed the December 1997 elections.

The political contest is over, and it is a time for coming together, Mr Jagdeo appealed, echoing a common desire among the majority of Guyanese today.

He urged the leaders to set the example and endorsed appeals by People's National Congress Reform Chairman, Mr Robert Corbin, for a maintenance of calm and stability.

Others in civil society, including the church and labour groups, have to take the cue from the PSC and begin to speak out when others move to create unrest.

The PSC, clearly conscious of the dangers and the tensions of the time, came out strongly against "the acts of violence and destruction of public property after the elections of Monday March 19, which have been carried out by misguided and irresponsible elements of Guyanese society."

Guyanese want to get on with their life and must speak out and stand up when they see things going wrong.

In this regard, the PSC noted the serious concern at the acts of intimidation directed against prominent and respected Guyanese, and in particular one of the Commissioners of GECOM, who have urged moderation and a respect for Guyana's electoral laws and constitution.

Despite its trials and tribulations, the independent Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has delivered an electoral process that has earned unanimous praise from local and international observers and the seven members in the end, just before dawn yesterday, linked hands to stand behind the results they have verified and presented to the rest of the nation.

As the PSC notes:

"To a great and praiseworthy extent, Guyanese conducted themselves peacefully and responsibly on election day, and the Chairman and Commissioners of GECOM have unanimously pronounced the elections to have been free, fair and transparent."

The nation must move on from here and we endorse the call of the PSC and others for "all right-thinking citizens to join in condemnation of acts which would destroy national property, endanger our citizens lives, and seek to intimidate those progressive Guyanese who advocate genuine and lasting change."

It is a time for standing up for what is right.