Monday, May 23, 2011

Power sharing conjures up image of lust for power

Fred Singh: Power sharing in Guyana conjures up the image of the lust for power. Dr Hinds reinforces this image when he states unapologetically, “we want power – the ability to help determine who gets what, when and how” (SN, African Guyanese don’t want favours and handouts, we want power to help determine, ‘who gets what, when and how’, May 4th) Power sharing has been experienced in Guyana in the past. It existed between the PNC and the UF in Guyana when Guyana became independent in the 1960s. The UF was quickly outmanoeuvred by the PNC, resulting in the PNC sharing no power with the UF. How easily some forget; how easily some forget in the name of acquiring power.
What is irritating and therefore distracting about the Doctor’s letter is the silly pronouncements like: “We Africans are democrats [and]… when our own kind subverted democracy in our name, we took to the streets to stop them.” The great majority of African Guyanese favoured Burnham over Jagan even after he rigged the elections although some opposed him later.
Hoyte lost the election in 1992, but easily won the majority of African Guyanese votes although he was involved in the rigging of elections when he was a member of Burnham’s government as well as his own election. How many and which prominent African Guyanese protested the rigging of the election by Hoyte. When the PPP won the election in 1992 African Guyanese were in the streets protesting.
Some ‘Africans’ are clearly democrats and some clearly favoured an African dictator. To make a blanket statement “We Africans are democrats” is emotional which leaves us with the feeling that he is capable of distorting the truth when it suits his objectives.
Undemocratic behaviours by prominent African Guyanese are still ongoing. Recently, senior party members charged there was intra-party rigging for the chairmanship of the PNCR.
The Doctor apparently means well, but he is naпve and idealistic. Power- hungry African Guyanese demagogues are still around and waiting in the wings to outmanoeuvre those decent African Guyanese if they achieve power.
He further states: “I refuse as an African to accept a political system whereby African Guyanese children cannot aspire to be the president or be part of the government of Guyana.”
I am certain when he chose to live in the US he was aware of the conventional wisdom at that time that an African-American child would never be president of the US in the doctor’s lifetime and that generally African-Americans are discriminated against. Yet he went there to live instead of Africa or the Caribbean islands.
Also, I suspect it does not bother him that the African-American President he admires has chosen a Cabinet with only one African-American and that he recommended two supreme courts justices who are not African American. It was a white president who nominated the only African- American Supreme Court justice. The US Senate has no African-American Senators and there are only 43 African-Americans out of around 435 congressmen in the House of Representatives.
There is no power sharing in his adopted homeland. And if he proposed such a system he will be invited to leave the US by American-born conservatives.
Having taken that position about Guyana’s political system he should feel ashamed that he chooses to live in a country where African-American children could not have aspired to be the president or be part of that government.
President Osama is the 44th President of the US which means that there were 43 white presidents before him. White America chose an African- American president after more than 230 years. In Guyana, the first leader of an independent Guyana was an elected African-Guyanese followed by another African-Guyanese. To date, there have been two African-Guyanese presidents and two Indian presidents. And currently there is more than one African-Guyanese Cabinet member. Also, more than 30 per cent of the National Assembly is made up of African-Guyanese.
Why then does the learned doctor accept the US political system, since he lives there and contribute his services and taxes, and not the Guyanese political system?
To date, every political system in Guyana was designed to favour African- Guyanese or reduce the power of the PPP (an Indian dominated party). Burnham was given PR by the British to increase the percentage of PNC seats in Parliament. This allowed him to become the Prime Minister (Yes, an African-Guyanese became Prime Minister legitimately over the Indian Guyanese contender). Later, while in office and greedy with the lust for power, he changed the political system to a Presidential one with enormous power to himself. African Guyanese did not object then. When the PPP got into office presidential power was reduced. Also, the PPP period in office was reduced by two years during one term. It would never have happened under Burnham. Now the Doctor wants another political system to give African-Guyanese power.
Was any political system designed to specifically give an Indian-dominated party power like the African-Guyanese dominated party? The power the PPP has today was inherited, by default, from an African-Guyanese political leader. I suspect what is good for African-Guyanese Presidents becomes bad when it is in the hands of Indian-Guyanese presidents.
The doctor seems to be passionate about the welfare of his ‘kind’ yet he has only taught at white universities and is currently teaching at one. He has never taught at a ‘historically black college’ which is populated with African-American students. And as far as I know, he has never taught at the University of the West Indies or the University of Guyana.
It’s puzzling to me, then, that the learned Doctor is advocating a political system for me to live in but chooses to live in one which is even worse than the Guyanese political system when one applies his criteria.
Guyanese should not forget our experience with power sharing.

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