Federalism is not utopian
February 21, 2004
I WISH to counter a response by Amar Panday to my letter carried in the February 12th 2004 edition of Stabroek News.
Mr. Panday's letter set out to posit that Guyana's chief societal problem is ethnic polarization - a very strong contention. The flaw in this contention is that it is only supported by a few vain sects in our society. As I outlined in my letter, this is what one of the neutral entities Dr. Griffin recognized at the Conference on Conflict Resolution and advised that we do an empirical study to ascertain the extent of the conflict.
Maybe Mr. Panday did his survey. Let's see what he came up with. He spoke of the eighty-day strike by trade unions in 1963 and the violence that erupted during the 1964 election period. The consensus in Guyana is that these were politically motivated issues. He also mentioned that Balram Singh Rai was expelled from the PPP because he did not worship Karl Marx. The truth about this is that it was as a result of charges of racism.
He concluded that federalism would solve this problem - this begs the question. It is a pity that Mr. Panday did not attend the Conference on Conflict Resolution. It would have really helped him to cut loose from the shackle that some racial sects in Guyana have placed around his neck.
He would have realized that federalism is not a utopian stage. Dr. Deryck Bernard of UG and Dr. Turner of Clark Atlanta University are among those who advocated that better governance in Guyana should be a gradual process.
He would have also known that conflict occurs in every society. Conflict becomes an issue when it becomes destructive.
He would have also been intrigued by the presentation by Dr. Prem Misir on the Social Construction of Race-Ethnic Conflict. I am not saying that ROAR and Amar Panday are 'immoral', in that they resolve to fan the flames of racism in Guyana.
I am surprised that Mr. Panday, a debate colleague, would beg the question and carry out an adhominem attack on me to pursue his vain agenda.
Finally, I think that someone should help Mr. Panday to understand what it means to conduct an empirical study to ascertain the extent of ethnic conflict in Guyana.