Play your role by praying and encouraging others to stay calm

Dear Editor
SO, in 2011, John (now my husband) and I had our first discussion and disagreement about politics. I embraced this because I am never the one to follow the masses, or to be swayed by popular culture, and neither is he. It was my first ‘political’ experience on several counts: my first ‘Election Season’ in Guyana, my first ownership of an ID card and my first time voting.

I remember there was a presidential debate held at the GWLT auditorium at the University of Guyana. I attended because I wanted my vote to have merit. I wanted to make an informed decision. The auditorium was filled to capacity and chants roared from all across the room as people rooted for whichever party they thought was best fit to lead the country. I remember seeing many youths standing and sitting at the front-right of the room. These were PPP/C supporters and representatives decked in red T-shirts, hats and flags, enthusiastically hitting on the desks, stomping and shouting to affirm whatever points were raised by their presidential candidate, who did not have to worry whether his points were substantial or not. His support base was very reassuring!

On the other side of the room were APNU supporters who were just as enthusiastic and behaved in the same manner when points were raised by their presidential candidate. Immediately, I knew that these two parties were major and probably in existence for a longer time than the others. My eyes were filled with glee and excitement. I had never seen anything like this before. As I looked around there were many like me, who had not yet decided on a party, but came with an open mind to hear them out.
The AFC was fresh on the scene. Mr Ramjattan spoke exceptionally well; I was not persuaded per se, but I was overwhelmingly impressed. I don’t remember him having as many supporters, but what he had to say commanded one’s attention. Before I continue let me just plug this in here: the TUF’s presidential candidate was the most outstanding – “if ya know ya know.”

From my perspective, it was at this point that political discussions took a turn and had several views from several angles, because the head table now had new guests who had just as much to offer the people of this country. So John and I talked and we definitely had disagreements and differences, but we had an understanding (to this day I am not sure that we voted for the same people that year and that’s fine)

I have unshakable respect for people who think for themselves and make decisions based on their own convictions. I believe that is the correct way to exercise one’s democratic right, but with all that has been happening recently, I have been thinking that the reality of the situation is, everyone will not think independently. Hear me out.
Throughout this life, I have identified four types of people in our society who are equally important but play very different roles.

1. LEADERS: people who have that innate ability to inspire and influence the decisions made by those around them. These are very powerful people. Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo is a born leader! That man is intellectual, tactful, very calculated, and has the ability to accomplish! Good or bad, he gets things done! I have many friends who stand by his leadership because of how business oriented the man is. However, Mr. Jagdeo’s agenda, priorities and methods are totally different from His Excellency David Granger, who is also a born leader!

Mr Granger’s mere presence demands respect and those who have been around him can attest to this. His hands have been soft and caring towards this nation and I believe that his nature, coupled with the fact that he is family-oriented, is what encourages that passion he has to clean, develop, educate and father this nation. We have seen the evidence and as a young person, this affects me directly.

2. CHALLENGERS: those who delight in thinking for themselves. You cannot lead these people by their noses. Challengers fact-check, do their research, ask questions and make informed deductions that also greatly influence those around them. Challengers can be leaders but, ‘deh don’t fight up with dat.’ They know their place and strengths and usually serve as activists in society in one way or another. If what you’re talking about is right up their lane, expect some traffic before you reach your destination.

3. CHALLENGERS WITH AN AGENDA: For these people, though they are brilliant, money talks! Their biggest motivation is money and positions, and once that is in order they will argue to the dust, even if it means arguing senselessly. They have the intelligence to swing things in their favour. Often- times, challengers with an agenda take extreme measures to make what they are doing believable, because too much is at stake for them. These people have no regard for right and wrong. They will destroy your reputation if you oppose them. They answer questions with questions and justify wrongdoing by highlighting wrongdoing. I deem challengers with an agenda as very dangerous, because they too bear great influence.

4. THE LAYMAN: These people are the vast majority of any population. The economy cannot survive without them. They work hard and many times all they want to hear is about house lots, increased minimum wage, proppa’ healthcare and how deh children getting to school. These people can be very loyal—if you care for them, they care for you. Some tend to be gullible though, easily influenced and manipulated. They will believe what you believe and preach what you tell them. Unfortunately, these are the easy prey in society. The layman is not always an independent thinker so he/she looks to leaders who seem trustworthy. The sick cycle in Guyana is a repeat of the notion that “the leader I can trust is the one who looks like me.”
The chaos I see today involves irresponsible leaders preying on challengers with an agenda, who have no love or respect for the layman. They will continue to brainwash these people and drag them through the mud to fulfil their dirty hidden agendas. This is where my heart bleeds.

Violence and race hate can never be the way. How can that possibly be the way to go when diversity of our cultures and six peoples, unity and love is what we sell to the world as a tourist attraction. The law exists so that order can remain! There is a legal process for matters such as these. Allow law and order to take its course.

We should know that legal processes take time; that is why Irfaan Ali can walk around feeling the wind beneath his wings with 19 CRIMINAL CHARGES and have the audacity to look this nation in the face and solicit our votes.

Put aside race, political differences, put aside even the history of who did and said what in the 1970s 80s and 90s. This is 2020 and the world is watching Guyana and waiting to see if the oil will make us or break us. There are nations also wanting to sift us as wheat and make us believe that their opinions are superior to our laws. That is wicked disrespect to this sovereign land. People open your eyes, I beg.

I already feel ashamed for those who will read and venture to insult, may comprehension and respect for others’ views be your portion this good day. I perceive that this matter is bigger and deeper than our socialisation will allow us to fathom at this point, but the truth exists. It has life and it will find its way to the surface. Again, allow the law to take its course, play your role by praying and encouraging others to stay calm. Respect each other and have patience.
We unfolding nicely!

Rochelle Maxius-Benn

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