Guyanese unable to learn from past collective mistakes
December 15, 2002
Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green contends that Guyanese are suffering from an inability to learn from past collective mistakes, and that this constitutes a stubbornness which is the source of self-deception.
In his weekly mayoral report, scheduled for broadcast today on the Voice of Guyana and VCT 28, Mayor Green expressed the view that national and community leaders seemed only able to assess a situation against the background of unchangeable preconceived notions and beliefs.
“This condition... [prevents] leaders everywhere noticing the signs that should point us in other directions. All of us tend to act on wishes, the fear or demands of our supporters’ ambition, the evidence coming out of the ballot box, and not our history, or the hard facts which exist,” Green said.
“I speak because I was once guilty of this attitude. Instead of articulating and sharing with all of the people our legacy of common imperial exploitation, instead of explaining how the seeds of division and suspicion were sown nearly 160-odd years ago, we take up our position and attack each other blaming the other side because we are so perfect. The other side has to be wrong, or worse - evil.”
The first fact that should be recognized, Green offered, “is that our people are truly hurting, that at the rate of migration we will be left with only the scum, and a few dedicated loyalists, who like the boy on the burning deck will never abandon the ship.” And that is not a good condition, he said.
The mayor went on to observe that for generations leaders in many parts of the world have proceeded in the belief that their respective policies were perfect, and therefore sacrosanct, sacred and unchangeable, but that was folly.
According to Green, “our common victimization should allow Guyanese to go well beyond partisan politics, status, race and religion and find a modus vivendi to share our rich resources justly, and so live together in harmony.”
He called for the establishment of a “system that rewards more... those who work, study and sacrifice and not the ‘smart cats.’” Reflecting on the passing of police constable Quincy James who was gunned down by bandits on December 3 while he was on traffic duty in Regent Street, Green said that in a sense it was a wake-up call to the nation.
Pondering on why the teenage policeman had to die in such circumstances, the mayor suggested that the tragedy could be considered “a call for action... a call to ruthlessly deal with all forms of indiscipline, [and] a call to use our energies to build, not destroy.”