AN almost unbelievable feature of human experience is the failure by intelligent leaders to understand their own history.
This lack of knowledge and inability to make appropriate connections with the present has been a serious weakness. This has allowed many to traverse a path of sheer folly and often contrary to their own self-interest and the welfare of the people that they have been elected to serve.
In all of this we find that individuals tend to speak on behalf of groups who have neither been consulted, nor given those who now seek the right to speak on their behalf.
For me, it is both sad and worrisome to hear a handful of past and current CARICOM leaders express their views on the Guyana 2020 General and Regional Elections.
First, when we occupy positions of authority and leadership, before making a pronouncement we should be seized of all the relevant facts before making public statements as we have noted from the likes of Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent; Bruce Golding of Jamaica, purportedly speaking for OAS and now of all people, Mia Mottley Prime Minister of Barbados.
One cannot help being reminded of the popular West Indian talk about yard-fowls and yelping mongrels ignoring the accepted fact that CARICOM constitutes a family with strong enough ties to earn the respect of citizens, particularly our youths within the Region and beyond.
In a few days’ time, we will celebrate the 55th anniversary of a glorious moment in West-CARICOM history. Three Caribbean giants and super-patriots met at Dickinson Bay in Antigua in the first week of July, 1965 and signed the CARIFTA Agreement, the fore-runner of CARICOM. I refer to Errol (Dipper) Barrow, Vere Cornwall Bird, and Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, Premiers of Barbados, Antigua and British Guiana, respectively.
These three giants intended to set the stage to avoid any form of fragmentation and discord. What we noted recently in statements and references to our 2020 elections must have caused these visionaries to turn in their graves.
They and subsequent Caribbean leaders understood that the decent thing to do was to listen and learn from your counterparts and not as was observed, to lecture to a colleague.
With regard to Golding, Mottley and Gonsalves, they must follow rules of engagement.
If they deem it necessary to pontificate and therefore meddle in the internal affairs of a fellow CARICOM state, they should do so only after being aware of all and I stress all of the relevant factors.
They should at least try to ascertain all of the facts or as they have done, to recite the story of the PPP to at least make public their very close relationship with the opposition party and its leadership.
Further, the hallmark of civility within the comity of nations and the enhancement of the core concept of decency and fair-play is to seek information from all sides and examine all the issues carefully before one rushes to judgment. Failing to do this is either a sign of prejudice or immaturity. It is unbelievable that the architects of CARICOM followed by the likes of Dr. Eric Williams and Norman Manley et al, before saying unkind things about the other, would have utilised dialogue before making public pronouncements and would have resisted this banal public attack on the David Granger administration. Statements which represent the views of the opposition PPP.
They say a leopard never changes its spots. Are these leaders aware that left to the PPP hierarchy there will have been no CARICOM and if there was, it would remind us in Guyana that it was the PPP leadership in Guyana that did everything to scuttle a Caribbean union, which included Guyana.
Reasons, for certain groups in Guyana having little enthusiasm for us being part of CARICOM is no secret.
I hope therefore that our Caribbean brothers and sisters would listen, learn and therefore appreciate the gut and underlying issues.
On a related matter, we see inappropriate statements by certain diplomats and local organisations.
I believe that the expressed views are personal and not necessarily those of their governments. In this regard, I was glad to read the statement made by President David Granger with regard to relations with the United States of America.
I believe similar sentiments can be expressed with regard to Canada, the EU, India, China, Russia, Central America including Cuba, countries of Latin America, South America and Africa.
From the time of independence, Guyana has always sought to maintain cordial and fruitful relations with all countries.
Therefore, when one witnesses the behaviour of Ms. Lilian Chatterjee, the present Canadian High Commissioner, it is worrisome.
Ms. Chatterjee should appreciate that being an Indian in a racially polarised society, the good lady ought to have exercised more diplomatic finesse and be careful with the company she keeps in Guyana. But does she know better?
May I hasten to add this caveat: there are many Indians and Indo-Guyanese whom I considered decent, unbiased and being genuine patriots.
In this regard, the time has come to remind leaders of organisations, such as FITUG, Chambers of Commerce, the Private Sector Commission, sections of the media, certain diplomats and others that it is this bias and intolerance that led to the tragedy of slavery, the two World Wars and the many proxy conflicts and coups and the killing of George Floyd in the US, which have tarnished the existence of what we deem to be a civilized society.
I call upon these representatives of international, regional and local organisations to avail themselves of all the factors related to the 2020 Elections.
For example, whether it is in North America, Europe or anywhere else, elections are not the business of Saints or Sisters-of-Mercy.
In Guyana with oil and other opportunities, the stakes for the 2020 elections were the highest in our history and the recount showed that some friends as we say in Guyana, ‘try a thing,’
When we do that and we are caught with our pants down, we accept it and move on.
If you begin a journey where conditions allow for manipulation, the road then is rocky and rough.
Stanley Ming has provided us with figures, which show the absurdity of the figures and those friends who now speak should ask why it is that the PPP, unhappily supported by sections of the judiciary did not wish to have house-to-house registration completed and to have elections with a list of electors that was pure and credible.
These persons above should ask why the PPP was anxious to contest the elections using a bloated list of electors.
If those who now speak could get and answer that question, we can have a healthy conversation and the question is quite clear : why did you want to go ahead with a bloated list? Once you go to an election with a bloated list, you open the floodgates for skulduggery and electoral fraud and let those persons ask the PPP why they were anxious to go to elections with such a list and resisted the completion of a house-to-house registration.
At this point in time, I am not interested in who were the purveyors of skulduggery and electoral fraud. With observations made during the recount established beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was electoral fraud perpetrated by persons not yet named.