Our Guyana, our future

Women's-eye View
By Vanda Radzik
Stabroek News
April 1, 2001

A walk for peace, unity and reconciliation

In a context of growing political tension, a group of Guyanese concerned about the future of the country, issued a statement on March 29. They are inviting all those who share their concerns to join them today in a march for peace, unity and reconciliation. In view of the importance of what they have to say, I am reproducing below both the statement and the details of the march.

An editorial in the Stabroek News last week began by asking the question "What is going on?" We are a group of Guyanese who have found, in private conversations with our families, friends, and colleagues and with strangers, that we share a common sense of concern and a growing sense of frustration and helplessness about the current crisis in Guyana. What is going on? Where and when will it end?

We believe that Guyana is a rich, beautiful and bountiful paradise that could easily provide for us, its citizens and guardians, the future that we are becoming afraid even to hope for: we want a buoyant economy which gives us the opportunity to thrive, clean water, electricity, communication, a good basic education for our children, reliable health services and personal security without guns! None of this will be possible without urgent and meaningful attention to race relations at the highest levels of our political life. Is this too much to ask?

Now with each election, one thing - race relations - reduces Guyana to nought shattering our collective dream. We know for the most part, we Guyanese live and work side by side without hostility. With each election we stop being the friendly and hospitable people that we know we are and are known to be all around the world. We become suspicious and narrow-minded, and in the worst cases, unfeeling, hostile and violent towards each other. This climate only occurs or is heightened during elections in Guyana.

We would like to work with other like-minded Guyanese individuals, groups and organizations to find solutions to the political, social and economic problems that confront our society. We share the views of all those Guyanese who have expressed their wish - on the radio, on TV and in letters to the newspapers - to live in a kinder, more caring Guyana. We would like to live in and bequeath a different Guyana to the coming generations - one in which we can live in the assurance that when there are issues to be dealt with, our leaders can meet, discuss, compromise and develop solutions which will solve problems, benefit the people of Guyana and remove the obstacles to future development. All we ask, and it is not too much to ask, is that all those who have a responsibility, and who have been given the honour to manage this country, do so in a fair, responsible, capable and efficient and effective manner, always with Guyana's future and not personal and political power in mind.

If you share our sense of concern at the current situation, and if you dream the same dreams that we do for Guyana, please join us at the Umana Yana today, April 1, 2001 at 4.00 pm for a walk for Peace, Unity and Reconciliation in Guyana. Wear any of the colours of the Golden Arrowhead. And please, don't just sit there. Come out and join this effort. Together we can make a difference and become a real force for change.

For more information, please contact

8:00 am to 5:00 pm Raquel Thomas, Colette McDermott, Sharon Ousman 225 1504 Paulette Paul 222 5402 (8:00 am to 5:00 pm)

After hours 225 7009, 222 5658, 226 1993, 227 2448

Our ultimate wish list

1. Our leaders will bring Guyana back from the brink by finding a way to really talk and listen to each other.

2. A system of government will be established that is genuinely representative.

3. A programme of sustainable livelihoods building on the National Development Strategy will be developed and implemented.

4. The Constitutional Reform Commission will be reconvened to examine viable options for Guyana in the light of the current political impasse.

5. An effective basic education system accessible to all Guyanese will be developed and put in place.

6. The escalating problems of race relations in our society will be acknowledged and some evidence of real efforts be implemented to deal with these.

7. A functioning and efficient basic health care system will be developed and put in place.

8. The security forces will develop a level of credibility, professionalism and adherence to the highest principles of the rule of law, which will allow us all to exist in harmony in a safe and secure environment.

9. There will be a return to prominence of local culture and arts.

10. There will be recognition of the impact that an irresponsible media can have on society and measures taken to deal with this issue.

11. A stable social and economic environment will be created which can attract local and foreign investment and expertise.

12. A clean Guyana

13. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be formed.

14. Guyana will become a country to which the hundreds of thousands of Guyanese who live overseas will want to return and consider their home and those of us that are here will not long to leave.

Colette McDermott
Raquel Thomas
Sharon Ousman
Paulette Paul

Endorsed by:
Colleen McEwan
David Singh
Ramona Zephyr
Macsood Hoosein
Samantha James
Lindon Reece
Roxroy Bollers
Hemchandranauth Sambhu
Shanomae Rose
Damian Fernandes
Jackie Arjoon
EdT Tyrell Langevine
Christopher Chin
Nicolette Fernandes
Aubrey Mendonca
Joan McDonald
Mahadeo Seegobin
Shad Fernandes
Laila Farley
Sabanto Tokoroho
Bobby & Luana Fernandes
Chantelle Fernandes
Vanda Radzik
Janette Forte
Aiesha Williams

Join us for
Sunday, April 1, 2001
4:00 pm
Umana Yana