An armed struggle
November 5, 2002
There is ample evidence now that there is in existence a group of African Guyanese militants who are conducting an armed struggle. This group is not led or controlled by the People’s National Congress (Messrs McAllister and Lowe had previously made this quite clear) but what Mr Eusi Kwayana describes as the masterminds have some political connections. The group has reportedly lost faith in electoral democracy and feels oppressed by what they perceive to be economic victimisation and also by extra-judicial killings by a section of the police force.
Taking arms against the state amounts of course to the crime of treason and would in many countries be met by a full military response. But putting that aside for the moment, many questions remain unanswered. How is this movement related to the widespread criminal activities? What are its aims? If it aims to overthrow the government what would it do about the PNC if it succeeds as Mr Hoyte would surely not be willing to take power at the point of a gun? No Caribbean or hemispheric government would recognise a government that had overthrown a duly elected government. So how would it survive? Would it abolish elections? How would it relate to the Indian population, given the fact it is rebelling against a government largely supported by that population?
We believe this struggle puts our already fragile society under unbearable pressure. There is certainly not a degree of repression in the society that could justify an uprising of any kind. In fact by most standards this government has a good record on human rights and there is every opportunity for legitimate opposition. If there is discontent with the system of governance one should work by lawful means to change it. Discontented elements have no right to take the law into their own hands. That way lies anarchy and disaster.
Moreover, the violence will severely harm the economy as at times like this people concentrate on survival, not on investing or planning for the future.
It is a development which has thoroughly alarmed all who still believe in democracy, an open society and the rule of law and can only do the most serious damage to ethnic relations, involving as it does repeated attacks on and murders of Indians, most recently involving teenagers who said they were paid for the job.