Where is the evidence of marginalisation?
Stabroek News
May 23, 2002

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Dear Editor,

In the Stabroek News of 18.5.02 you inserted an editorial note to Ms Sabrina Edwards' letter. Ms Edwards challenged the insinuation in one of your previous editorials that alluded to the PPP only being concerned about half of the population. Your note mentioned "the degree of alienation" of Afro-Guyanese.

I would really like you to point out, giving specific cases, hard data, the results of surveys, comparisons done between the period 1992 to the present and the period previous to 1992, to show how and where and when Afro-Guyanese have been "alienated." You consistently insinuate that Afro-Guyanese are "marginalised", "alienated", etc. but you never support these claims with facts. Your claims mirror those being made by the reckless and irresponsible sections of the country.

Can you give us a case where Afro-Guyanese were denied jobs solely because of their race? Can you tell us of an Afro-Guyanese applying for a business loan, let's say, and being denied solely because he was black? Can you really claim that Afro-Guyanese are not represented in the present government?

I believe that the facts will show that the PPP has made every effort, some will claim to the detriment of Indians, to include Afro-Guyanese throughout the present administration, starting from the prime minister's office itself. The PPP has consistently wooed Afro-Guyanese like Mr Lumumba, etc. Is Dr Roger Luncheon not black? And Mr Sam Hinds? And Commissioner McDonald and head of the army Mr Michael Atherley? Isn't the Minister of Education black? Aren't all government ministries predominantly black? The Stabroek News seemed to have come to the stupid conclusion that because the PNC is not the governing party, then it automatically follows that blacks are "alienated" and "marginalised."

Yours faithfully,

Rohan Sooklall

Editor's note:

The Stabroek News has never said or insinuated that the PPP/C was only "concerned" about half of the population. The note to Ms Edward's letter said that the suggestion was "that given the degree of alienation a large section of the population don't want to be ruled by the other half."

As for the matter of evidence of marginalisation, that was addressed in a note appended to Minister Nadir's letter, published on May 15, namely, "The fact that the governing party does not operate with the intention of marginalising anyone, is not the point here; the point is that the sense of alienation, whether or not it finds any basis in fact, is very real."

Finally, the number of Africans in the government is not evidence of inclusiveness in a true political sense, since they are appointees of the PPP/C, whose power base is Indian, not African. In this ethnically divided society the African constituency is represented by the PNC/R.