GECOM’S ETHNIC COMPOSITION REFLECTS THE REALITIES OF GUYANA


It is with trepidation that I venture to write about an issue such as this, which invokes controversies from all sides. To deal with it realistically though, I have to reflect on another contentious aspect of our recent history, which continues to drive fear into the minds of a vast number of people. The results of the 1992 elections alone, ignoring all the other evidence, prove beyond any conceivable doubt that all prior elections in Guyana as an independent nation were rigged. The failure of the PNC to acknowledge that past, and its role in it, has left more than a lingering sense of suspicion in the minds of a large number of people. The suspicion is, that with the PNC once again in power, rigged elections are back on the agenda. Some PNC members, supporters and sympathisers don’t seem to understand this, or if they do, don’t care about it. Rigged elections in the past aggravated ethnic disharmony by creating the feeling in one section of the population that its vote was either being stolen or was worthless. Hence the controversy over employment practices at GECOM. I am not saying anything that is not widely known and accepted, although many would not wish to acknowledge it.

Guyana’s population has had decided preferences in terms of employment. We have always had African Guyanese tending towards employment in the state sector. In the private sector, they are mostly located in administration, rather than as entrepreneurs. Notwithstanding 28 years of PNC rule, during which African Guyanese were encouraged to go into business, followed by 23 years of PPP rule, during which Indian Guyanese were encouraged to seek employment in the state sector and particularly the security services, the essential employment preferences at the time of Independence has remained largely intact today. These employment preferences are rooted mainly in history.

Read more

NATIONAL UNITY – HAS THE TIME ARRIVED?


The PPP started life as a political party which consciously embraced all strata of the society. The most important, immediate, objective was the unity of the major races of the main social groups, the working and middle classes, including intellectuals and professionals. At this early time, 1950, the founders of the PPP understood that its eventual goals, independence and socialism, and more immediate goal of universal adult suffrage, could not be achieved with a divided society and without a mass based party.

The wave of euphoria after universal adult suffrage, and then the general elections, were won disguised the deep fissures which then existed in our society. These types of divisions were not new. They first existed between the slave owners and slaves, then the Portuguese and Africans and later between the Africans and Indians. The foundation of these differences was the existence of poverty and the ensuing competition for scarce resources. Of course there were other reasons, much of which have been revealed in the debates since that time and more recently. But the PPP’s ideological posture at that time suggested the primacy of economic determinants, which in its view still plays the leading role in keeping these divisions active .

Read more