Listen to the voices

Guyana Chronicle
March 30, 2001

THE pictures speak in a loud voice and the silence people maintain in the midst of the madness is thunderous.

People everywhere are tired of the almost crippling impact from the unrest and the violence triggered by some forces in the society since the results of the March 19 elections have been declared.

Students preparing for examinations critical to their future have had their studies interrupted by the disruption of their school sessions.

Teachers and students have been affected in getting to and from school, because drivers have been reluctant to take to the roads, especially on the East Coast of Demerara, for fear of being caught by mobs on the rampage.

The mob violence unleashed in the city earlier this week sent mini-bus operators, store owners, shoppers and others scurrying for cover and the fear of violence has taken its toll since.

The children, especially those studying for exams, are among those suffering the most because of the psychological terrorism that Ambassador to the United States, Dr Odeen Ishmael has noted has been unleashed as part of a wider campaign.

Thousands who depend on jobs in the city to feed their families have been feeling the squeeze from reduced earnings and the cries of those most affected must fall at the feet of those who triggered the unrest.

Although the protesters were not on the move in Georgetown yesterday, there was little business in the municipal markets and stores were almost empty of shoppers.

Highly unusual on a working day in Georgetown, there were more mini-buses than passengers yesterday and housewives and single parents trying to earn bread for their children from selling at little roadside stalls had few customers.

The protestors were not around but the fear of the unrest they have triggered lingered thickly in the air.

No one can deny citizens the right to peaceful protest and those who feel wronged in elections have recourse to the courts.

The People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has challenged the swearing-in of President Bharrat Jagdeo and that matter should have remained in the courts.

Instead, supporters of the party daily took to the streets around Georgetown, triggering unrest and disrupting the daily lives of the majority of others who want only to get on with their lives.

The people who are silent are speaking out and they will have to raise their voices in a thunderous noise if their pleas to end the unrest are not heeded.

The place to resolve the grouses are in the courts and few would have any trouble with peaceful picketing.

But a decent society would not for much longer tolerate bands running wild, creating mayhem and spreading psychological terrorism.

We hope good sense prevails soon so that people can be allowed to get on with their lives.