CLASS OF PROBLEM
Kaieteur News – One of the hallucinatory features that has developed is the rigid division and the divisions in which we judge others. This is about the nature of local politics.
There are two main political parties in Guyana, both of which draw most of their support from one or the other major ethnic groups. Historically, the PNC’s base of support is Afro-Guyanese. The PPP, since the 1955 split, has been largely supported by the Indo-Guyanese section of the population.
These splits have caused a great deal of problems for Afro-Guyanese who wish to be associated with the PPP, and for East Indians wishing to join the PNC, now PNC / R. prominent Africans are considered affiliated with the PPP, he or she is carried around with all sorts of meaningless tags. The same thing happens if a prominent Indian joins the PNC.
But what is sad is that the viciousness against these individuals stemmed primarily from the rank and file supporters of both sides. Extreme hatred is directed against individuals found to have broken the grain.
Some Indian leaders within the PPP have been alienated and slandered by PPP supporters. Similarly, Afro-Guyanese affiliated with the PPP are treated with hostility.
Ten years ago, there was a brief debate about mining concession. And it just warmed up because some people saw it as an opportunity to approach one person they didn’t like because he was then involved with the PPP. Never mind that the individual received the concession in the last days of PNC rule.
The fact that he was no longer involved with the PNC, but had disrupted the PPP, made him a target for a bad mouth. In the mining, forestry and agricultural sectors, when we deal with personalities, we deviate from the source of the problems.
The problem, for example, in the mining industry has nothing to do with acquisition, partnership, joint venture or sale of benefits in the concessions given years ago to any individual. Problems within the sector are better considered in terms of who the main beneficiaries of concessions are and the intensity of concessions in the hands of a few individuals.
We have always had a great deal of minerals in this country. And for centuries, it has been exploited. Yet Guyana remains a poor country. So for all the gold, all the diamonds and all the other precious minerals extracted from Guyana, it has done little to the vast majority of Guyanese.
For all the millions of tons of bauxite mined out of the mines at Linden and Everton and Kwakwani, where is the wealth in those communities? And we can go on in the same way as wood. How many trees have been felled over the last hundred years? And what has that done for the average citizen?
Many years ago, Jagdeo jumped on a bandwagon, an international bandwagon. He assumed that Guyana could earn money for not cutting down its forests. The country earned some money from Norway, but that’s about as good as it gets. The question is where did Norway’s US $ 250M end up. What has been the impact for the average citizen?
Do you really think things will be different than it was at the height of state capitalism / cooperative socialism? Do you really believe that the current model of economic development that Guyana is following will allow the average citizen to become an overnight millionaire due to oil?
The problem is one of the class and not of race. The problem is who benefits. There is one class that has always benefited, no matter what government is in power. They retained control of the PNC and hold influence under the PPP.
In the meantime, the working class is fussing over fishing licenses and all issues of depredations. Instead of demanding that Guyana’s resources be used more for helping the poor than for the rich, the working class allows it to be divided along racial lines. And while they do this, the proper class smiles all the way to the bank.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.)