Thursday, August 27, 2009

What has race got to do with it?

Within the context of nationhood, race should not be an equation for any consideration, especially for leadership of the nation because in the final analysis we are a Guyanese people and this should be the defining factor that identifies us in any national dynamic.

However, the denuded leadership within the PNC structure has left serious roles to be filled, especially with the loss of leadership challenger and former chairman, Winston Murray.

In a surprise move, Corbin reached beyond strong and able allies, including Basil Williams and Volda Lawrence, to appoint one-time minister in the former PNC administration, Cammie Ramsaroop, as Party chairman in an obvious attempt to balance the racial equation within the Party’s leadership structure and to counter the loss of Murray, whom it is said is of part Indian ancestry.

Which begs the question: What has race got to do with it?

In the first PPP structure, founded by Dr. Jagan, everyone stood on a common platform presenting a united front against the oppressive and suppressive forces.

When Burnham forced a split in the Party, race had nothing to do with the support provided the leaders of the split factions of the PPP – Burnham and Jagan, and one only has to study the history of this country to realize (what) became a factor long after, when divisive agents deliberately created distrust between the major races in this country in order to support their own nefarious agenda.

For the purpose of this Pandora column, I will not expand upon this, nor will I cast blame on any particular individual, because everyone has their own peculiar perception of our past and even our present political configurations.

What is important, however, is the perception that no one race will accept a member of another race as leader of this country unless there is a lieutenant of the other race to balance the leadership equation.

And that is wrong because, as was posited by Ralph Gonsalves, Head-of-State of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there is a dearth of good leadership material in the region and we should appreciate and utilize to the optimum the leadership skills of proven leaders.

Within this context race should not be an equation, only consideration of what can be achieved by the leaders that we have, especially leaders who have proven themselves of exceptional merit.

With great respect to the gentleman, Cammie Ramsaroop is obsolete in the political framework and the leadership structure of the PNC, because either Volda Lawrence or Basil Williams would have proven better leadership material to take the PNC forward to the next general elections.

Neither discarding Murray nor recalling Ramsaroop would have any impact in attracting new voters, because Guyanese are not easily fooled. They are aware that no matter how reasonable and decent Murray and Ramsaroop may appear to be, they were both party to PNC policies of rigging and “more fire, slow fire” strategies; and they both enjoyed comfortable lifestyles while every citizen in the land who bought foodstuff and other basic commodities on the blackmarket were criminalized by a ruthless regime of which they were integral and in which they were pivotal.

Even as Van West-Charles expounds platitudes and Raphael Trotman pretends to be the soul of honour and conscience they also were quintessential to the PNC’s destructive configurations that sent this nation into almost-irretrievable infrastructural, financial, social, and moral decay.

And race has nothing to do with it – rascality is the face of shameful, dishonourable and discredited actions, not of one’s race; so leaders should not be chosen in this nation on the basis of their race, but only on their competence, their commitment to national welfare, their caring for humanity, and their proven ability to take this nation and its people out of poverty and into prosperity; and from the utter devastation pre-1992 to our slow but sure emergence into the sphere of socio-economic progress it is a nation that has been on the move – and race had nothing to do with it.


  1. On a day to day basis however the major races get on remarkably well. They work together, play together and often live side by side with each other. That is not to say there is not a basic wariness of the "other" side but at least people are civil about it.

  2. You will find the odd nutcase pushing an ethno-centric view but for the most part inspite of the political climate people are fair minded when it comes to dealing with a person one on one, face to face. I guess its one thing to make generalities about one race or the other but when you are face to face with another human being, looking him in the eye good sense prevails.