by alan fenty, stabroek news
In terms of “Independence Regrets”, I’m repeating sentiments I’ve had published elsewhere in this newspaper. That’s because in case they were missed, I feel they merit repetition for the “regulars” of this Friday feature.
Cheddi Jagan had no choice but to welcome Independence in May 1966. After all that objective was his life’s dedicated mission from 1947, then at the slain sugar workers grave site in 1948. (No doubt he also had some other plans and objectives for his post-independence (British) Guyana.)
The pre-1966 political events that played out in B. G. however put paid to Jagan’s ambitions and Frankly Speaking, engineered our continual distrust, lack of “cohesion”, our delayed development and perhaps even the diminution of our population (i.e. human capital and resources) to this day.
As a layman nationalist one had to regret all that stultified true nationhood: the 1953 suspension of the constitution and government; the split in the national People’s Progressive Party; the political/racial period of riots, violence and destabilisation of governments from 1961 to 1964; the unfortunate legacy of a half of a century inherited today, May 2016.
Like me, Allan Arthur Fenty, President David Arthur Granger was twenty-one in May 1966. I hope, like I did, he was not comfortable with Burnham’s inheritance of the British detention without trial and with the state of emergency that existed during the May 1966 Independence celebrations. Historian and officer-soldier Granger would have been analysing the root causes of our divisions leading up to May 1966.
If he had chosen sides and suspicions to support then, I feel I can guess accurately his choice(s). I wonder: as historian, besides chatting with say, Hammie Green, Llewellyn John and Sir Shridath, would he “research” with the likes of Ashton Chase, Eusi Kwayana and Fenton Ramsahoye? Just for “balance”? You see, ours is a President of and for our history. He must use its lessons to fashion his objective perspectives, our present and the nation’s future.
My historical regrets should be his points of historic departure into positive plans and strategies for today’s enterprise that is the business of Guyana Inc.
My own limited look-back to the negotiations for freedom reveals that the British did go along with Burnham’s demands. But interestingly, all that made Cheddi feel betrayed by the U.K. colonial secretaries, came back to actually please him. For example, in time, constitutional requirements were made appropriate; the voting age climbed down from 21 to 18; proportional representation did not prevent the PPP from always gaining a (racial?) plurality; but rigging did!
My regrets of 1966 aside, the President’s administration had one year to contemplate and learn from the preceding forty-nine. The lesson continues!
Guyanese identity, my personal dilemma (?)
Put succinctly, I enjoy being Guyanese without flaunting my fore-parents’ origins but being aware that much of my identity is probably fashioned by elements of their legacy.
Reading Dave Martins’ appreciation of Ryhaan Shah’s responses to my original column on the issue of some Guyanese steadfast, passionate, even spiritual ties to Mother India, I decided to make other observations. Perhaps to elicit even more “assistance”.
In surmising that it is both a spiritual preference – or longing – which compel some folks, in 2016, to cling to that which the soul can’t – or won’t be allowed to – abandon. Spirit trumps just being born in a certain geographical space. Citizenship, by birth or otherwise, is not enough to make one a whole being.
It is if one was born sixty-seven years ago in Kitty, Albouystown, Aishalton, Alness, Charity, Canal Number Two, Mabaruma, Wismar, Dartmouth, Leguan or Crabwood Creek, it is the environment of geography, the prevailing religion or culture, even the political preferences (of family) which fashion one’s character.
So how does the foreparents’ (importation of their) homelands still dominate the culture and characteristics created right here in the local communities (some randomly mentioned above)? Without the ancestors’ moorings our Guyanese-ness is a rudderless ship? Does the “diversity” really make us richer as a collective? One day even a genuine nation?
As I promote many aspects of our traditions and folkloric heritage and to discover their linkages with the continents of our foreparents’, I ponder still what it is to be a beneficiary of the history, religions and culture of those lands.
So help me more: Can I be Guyanese – spiritually and culturally – without being Indian, African, European or Chinese? Discuss.
Beneficiaries of the kleptocracy
Recall how I like to quote a part of the Christian Bible which seems to okay the use of funds seized from crooks for the benefit of the needy? That could be a whole new “righteous” debate – if pursued.
Rather, I invite you to exercise your minds with respect to the following: When it is really proven that past governments and their leaders here actually did misappropriate the state’s money and other resources, who would have been the prime beneficiaries? Besides the convicted executive thieves themselves? Categorise those who would have benefited. Family, children, businesspersons, mistresses/concubines, political supporters ???
I suppose I want to point you in my now usual direction: that the new morality now accepts that if material needs are satisfied abundantly, it hardly matters how the resources were acquired.
Illegality triumphs and crooked leaders who were enablers will still be supported. Even “loved.”
I really say…
.1) Now that the main Jubilee jump-up has been concluded, APNU+AFC repeat five major things you’ll do by next May.
.2) Personalities like Cheddi Jagan, Shahabuddeen, Ramphal, Ramsahoye, the Luckhoos seemed to submerge their origins when in public spaces.
.3) Do not insult our “lower animals”. Would they kill a wife and live with her corpse nearby? Kill two little boys or an old professor?
.4) I recommend again: Acquire the old Cornhill Street co-op bank building and convert into a modern arcade for the vendors.
’Til next week!