Dear Editor,
In many parts of the coast, from the Corentyne to the Essequibo coast, people had to go to Masjids to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
Why these Islamic places of worship were chosen for this purpose is when schools, community and health centers and hospitals were available and led to inevitable speculation. It is also noted that Masjids are centers for the distribution of Elderly Pension books, and that food hampers allegedly provided by the PPP in the early days of the pandemic were handled exclusively through the Masjids.
Of course, in this matter of food obstruction, the party’s prerogative is to determine the distribution system, but it certainly gives the impression that the state, departing from our basic secular principles, is concerned with the advancement of religion.
Further, if Masjids have been selected for distributing Elderly Pension books and for administering the vaccines in such an open and frank manner, one is shaken to think what might be happening behind closed doors.
Is this the new order we now expect in Guyana, identity politics and preferential rights, the exchange of one form of discrimination for another?
Perhaps the official teaching of a particular religion is that its followers must be given preferential treatment, being the first among equals; but in this pluralistic, multicultural society, that is a policy that is as dangerous as it is foolish.
We are already devastated by racial distrust and insecurity. Our leaders must be careful not to add religion in the cauldron, because, in Prime Minister Rowley’s fatal words, “This may not end well.”

Swami Aksharananda

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