Dr Gibson is not pro PNC

Stabroek News

November 10, 2003

Related Links: Letters on 'Cycle of Racial Oppression in Guyana' death
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Dear Editor,

Dr. Kean Gibson’s book “The cycle of racial oppression in Guyana” has, not surprisingly, stirred much interest and controversy among the two main race groups, the people of East Indian and African origin.

Judging from the critical comments made in the press by some letter writers, one would believe Dr. Gibson is some sort of political hack writer for or on behalf of a particular party with an axe to grind.

On the contrary, in various places in her book, Dr. Gibson makes statements that clearly indicate she is objective and quite non-partisan in her approach to the problems of racism in Guyana. There are several instances of this but I will give just two to show that Dr. Gibson is no adherent of the People’s National Con-gress. On page 36 of her book she writes “with the dissolving of the PNC-UF coalition and the knowledge that even with proportional representation he would not be able to retain political power due to the fact that East Indians made up 50 per cent of the population and the reality of voting along ethnic lines, Burnham proceeded to make changes in the electoral laws that would enable him to rig elections...”

Another quotation on page 55 of her book shows Dr. Gibson’s awareness of the shortcomings of PNC rule. She writes: “Burnham’s tenure was based on oppression due to his desire to retain power which he knew he could not have retained if he held free and fair elections.”

No PNC member would be allowed to write about the party and its founder-leader in that vein. Yet the PPP supporters who have written critically about Dr. Gibson’s book have studiously avoided mentioning her critical remarks on Burnham’s rule. One PPP supporter even went so far as to assert “Ms. Gibson’s book is pure fantasy and extreme propaganda”.

Anyone who has read Kean Gibson’s book from beginning to end would see that this commentator’s remarks are rubbish, and utterly discredit the writer more than anything else.

I would be the last to claim her book is a work of impeccable scholarship, flawless and correct in every particular. It is not. I would say, however, that Dr. Gibson shows boldness and courage in the expression of her views. She has indeed highlighted problems which, until now, have only been discussed behind closed doors in closed circles.

If Guyana is to solve its acute and pressing social and political problems, the matters Dr. Gibson deals with in her book need to be ventilated, carefully considered, and discussed in the greatest detail.

Experience has shown our politicians are incapable of finding any solutions to the problems of racism, which emerged after the elections in 1953.

All Guyana, including her critics, owe Dr. Gibson a debt of gratitude for bringing out in the open a subject which has for too long been given attention only in private.

This is because if growth of the problems, which racism has generated, remains unchecked it would have the most dire consequences for all Guyanese, including those living abroad.

Yours faithfully,

W. Henry Skerrett