Civil society should buttress dialogue process
Stabroek News
May 3, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Coming on the heels of President Bharrat Jagdeo's reported statement a couple of weeks ago that his government did not have a definitive plan nor timetable to deal with the so called Gang of Five, Stabroek News' top story on Wednesday, May 1, 2002, "Cops have taken hands off stance," in the tense Buxton/Friendship communities, is so troubling that it is time for a national

prayer meeting. Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam, West Bank, West Coast.

Name it and claim it.

Not that the Guyana Government and its security forces do not have a legal and moral responsibility to deal with lawlessness, but if the perception is that it is incapable or unwilling, then to which legitimate authority will the people turn for peace and security?

Local leaders, other than the politicians, seem divided or unwilling to take a public and collective stand in support of government's fight against the surging crime wave. Perhaps the fear among some local leaders, who I feel should have been named as referees in the dialogue process between the PNC/R and the PPP/C Government, is that there is a link between the crime wave and the allegation that the government has not lived up to its part of the bargains struck with the PNC/R in the dialogue process. Is there a sense of empathy here?

Past bad blood experiences between these two political parties, however, should have indicated to our nonpolitical leadership that these two parties should not be left alone to address and resolve problems, perceived or real, associated with their respective constituents. As a result, nonpolitical leaders should have been entrusted with the responsibility of reviewing the two parties' performance over a one year period to determine progress and

make recommendations.

This way, instead of one political party putting the dialogue process on 'pause' while the other one feels there is no cause for pause, resulting in the whole society now becoming worried about a linkage between the pause and the tension, the neutral referees could have played a more meaningful role in avoiding what now is turning out to be a heated battle against violent criminal elements who are alleged to be operating with political backing.

Sometimes in the midst of a heated battle, it pays to take time out to get a bird's eye view of what actually is happening, to plan strategic moves, and then get back into the battle with the aim of expediting victory. So far, in the ongoing battle against criminal elements, which has been tagged with a political label, major players have been basically shuffling around the combat theater in the hope of winning both opinion and actual support. No one seems bent on saying time out, please.

But a bird's eye view of the Guyana situation, judging from the tone of letters and the content of daily news updates, says there is more to the situation than the naked eye can see. There is a spirit of destruction that has been entertained for a long time over and within this nation, and based on the opening provided by leaders and followers, this spirit is seeking to unleash its fury by pitting people against people. The aim of this spirit of

destruction is to fan the flames of hatred, water the seed of division, and bring the nation to a screeching halt in a pool of blood and broken lives.

I urge those who are familiar with this kind of behaviour to recognize that those activities being played out in the natural, have already been played out in the supernatural; but strong intercessory prayer on the national level can render ineffective supernatural attempts at destruction, parlaying such a manifestation in the natural realm among our people. I am praying for Guyana and Guyanese, regardless of ethnicity, religious or

political persuasion, or socioeconomic status. The common base we all share is that we are humans, creatures of one God.

In concluding, I pray the PNC/R and the PPP/C will not allow pride to override their better judgment of putting the nation ahead of partisan interests and objectives. Both parties have to ask what each can do, even if it means some humility and bending over backwards, to save the nation. I also pray it is not too late for nonpolitical leaders to collectively step up to the PNC/R and PPP/C and let them know enough is enough, let sanity prevail,

let the dialogue process resume, and let peace and progress continue.

Can there be a call to national prayer while calling for parties to flesh out their differences in a humane way? Yes! Just as people can open their lives to allow evil to be manifested, people also can open their lives, by praying, to allow God to intervene among His creatures, humans, so we can manifest love, instead. And because faith without works is dead, there is nothing wrong with prayerfully encouraging our leaders to good works, which may lead to a resolution. Very often the solution is at our fingertips, but

hatred can blind and numb our senses so we resort to debased animal instincts akin with jungle rivalry.

Yours faithfully,

Emile Mervin