President Jagdeo is committed to racial unity
Stabroek News
April 18, 2002

Related Links: Letters on ethnicity, multiculturalism, and race
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Dear Editor,

I wish to respond to a letter captioned, "If I were President, I would promote more integration of the races" (15.4.2002). The writer's sentiments on forging unity are very welcome but I feel that he has missed the point.

Racial unity, or the lack of it, is not a consequence of the lack of effort on the part of the President. Since President Jagdeo assumed office in 1999, he has tried very hard to bridge the differences between the major races of this country.

In his inaugural speech the President invited the Leader of the Opposition to engage him in fruitful dialogue, without any pre-conditions. We know that Mr. Hoyte used all kinds of excuses to evade meeting the President.

Very early in his term the President set up the President's Youth Award Scheme, in which youths from throughout the ten regions of Guyana themselves chose the priorities in their respective regions. In fact we remember the Opposition trying to scuttle this scheme by accusing the President of misusing the money from the Lotto fund. His Excellency had to publicly clarify this issue by quoting the relevant laws and agreement.

The very first region outside of Georgetown to host a Cabinet Retreat was the bauxite town of Linden, a known opposition stronghold. The President has traveled extensively throughout this country meeting people from across the political spectrum and sharing with them his vision of a united country.

We still remember that during the widespread violence unleashed on the nation after the election last year, the President, at great personal danger, visited numerous communities that were affected. It was this brave and caring gesture which soothed the raw wounds and prevented a catastrophe in this country.

The Linden Economic Advancement Programme (LEAP) is a bold effort by the Government to assist Linden to climb out of its present economic difficulties.

The Government has invested quite a lot of resources on education, especially on information technology. In addition a Berbice campus of the University of Guyana has been set up, as also have been technical institutes throughout this country. Those youths, who

were not fortunate to successfully complete school, now have the opportunity to acquire technical and vocational skills, which will make them employable.

The dialogue which Mr. Hoyte so assiduously avoided in 1998/99 has now become a reality and the results have been impressive. The President has been able to demonstrate that the charges of the PNC/R are without any validity and that the Government is interested in working with the Opposition to forge greater unity in this country.

There have been many Government programmes, which have been directed towards Opposition strongholds and supporters. These include the housing drive, infrastructural development, job creation, educational advancement, improved sporting facilities, scholarships, engaging the PNC unions in meaningful discussions, etc. The fact that we have not been able to achieve greater unity in this country is not the responsibility of the President or the Government. It is solely the fault of the PNC, which continues to pursue the path of racial politics for partisan gains. President Jagdeo and the PPP/C Government continue to work for racial harmony in this country and they are optimistic that as development continues to touch people's lives, increasing numbers of Guyanese citizens will turn their backs on race-based politics, and the much cherished goal of racial unity will be achieved.

Yours faithfully,

Hemraj Jaggernauth