The Unsung Heroes Of Democracy

GUYANESE say goodbye to 2020 with a resounding sigh of relief that this nation pulled together with admirable unity, togetherness, and with one voice to preserve the democratic ideal, and to put this country on track to develop a people free, fair, peaceful and progressive.

Citizens stood up with determined strength to repel the efforts of a few misguided souls who tried to derail the national elections earlier this year. All the nation today pays homage to the countless Guyanese who braved the day to stand up against a coalition that threatened to launch autocratic rule, and to face down the anti-democratic agents and to deliver a Guyana today that is free and facing its brightest future.

Young people from all walks of life turned up at the elections commission to make sure the process remained credible and that the integrity of the electoral counting system was not severely compromised. Men and women put their daily lives on hold and dedicated their time and effort, and their social media posts, to the cause of a democratic Guyana. As happened in the elections of 1992, this nation rallied together in 2020, civil society joining forces with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), to make sure the electoral system did not descend into a sham. People were setting up 24-hour watch systems to guard the containers with ballot boxes from being tampered with or compromised. Citizens cooked food and delivered to those manning the posts around the clock.
Guyanese end this year supremely proud of who they are as a people. This nation secured its integrity, character, and respect – both self-respect, and international respect.

After the PPP/C were sworn in to office, the nation buckled down to the hard work of repairing the breaches that myopic coalition policies had wrought, so that today Guyana is a land on the move. The country is well-established as a major global oil producer, and the massive amount of foreign and local investments that are fuelling world- class development projects promise to make Guyana a land of sparkling newness, with projects that would be the envy of the Caribbean.

All of it is due to the mammoth confidence, hard work, and selfless determination and sacrifice of the many souls who fought hard for freedom and democracy to prevail. Lawyers, business-owners, teachers, public servants, media workers, ordinary citizens on the street, all joined hands, heads and hearts to storm against the attempt to steal the elections. And everybody respected the peace, never allowing turmoil and tragedy to take over. Guyana became an admirable nation on the world stage at the end of the fiasco, and today Guyanese hold their heads high across the world: the homeland is a place of respect for law and order, the democratic ideal, and freedom and fair play. At this year’s end, as citizens look back on a year that threatened to upturn the national good, everybody breathes a huge sigh of relief for the great work that Guyanese accomplished.

Of special mention must be the role of the leaders of the small parties. People like Timothy Jonas, Lenox Shuman, Rhonda Lam, Asha Kissoon, Vishnu Bandhu and even coalition members such as former Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, as well as well-known public figures such as Ralph Ramkarran, Christopher Ram, Freddie Kissoon, Yog Mahadeo, Ruel Johnson, Captain Gerry Gouveia, Roshan Khan, Nigel Hinds, Sixtus Edwards and umpteen others, including the Guardians of Democracy, came out with strong support for democracy and fair play, pushing back every effort at the Guyana Elections Commission to derail the system.

When Guyanese consider how blessed this nation is to harbour such souls, men and women who uphold the democratic ideal as sacrosanct ground, everybody realises how blessed this nation is, and how secure the people are that their future is in good hands.

Nothing secures and encourages Guyana more than passionate citizen-engagement. When citizens could stand up and voluntarily put their hands to the wheel to ensure that their country goes on the right path, everybody could rest assured that the future is truly in the hands of the people.

At one time, one may have said that Guyanese are passive people, allowing political bullies to run roughshod over the country and the body politic, as happened under the Burnham days when free and fair elections became nothing but a myth. Guyanese chose to “vote with their feet,” as the common saying was, migrating to the Caribbean, the U.S., Canada, England and Europe. In fact, those days spawned the global Guyanese diaspora now spanning the entire global village, including Denmark and Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, Africa and Asia. Descendants of migrated Guyanese make up a big percentage of the population in New York, Toronto, and England.

These are different days, a different time. Now, Guyanese are standing up to what is theirs, denying political victimisation and bullying. Indeed, 2020 would stand out in history as the year when Guyanese, especially young people, stood up with determination to safeguard their homeland.

In 1992, Samuel Hinds led the Civic fight that partnered with the PPP to right the ship of state, after 28 years of electoral fraud. In 2020, Samuel Hinds also joined the chorus of national voices to ensure that democracy prevails. He marched when required, wrote letters to the newspapers, counselled the leadership on the way forward, and humbly played an important role in making sure a positive outcome ensued.

The nation also saw members of the Guyana Police Force and the army stand up and refuse to engage in nefarious activities, one officer even refusing to clear GECOM of independent observers.

These are the heroes of the progressive, peaceful, plentiful Guyana. Without them, today, so many would be suffering, such as pensioners who got relief under the government of President Ali, and all the households that got relief with water and electricity tax removal, and children who got the uniform vouchers and school grants, and even every household who received the $25,000 COVID-19 relief. The heroes of 2020 go about their daily lives now, silent, humble, thankful. But the part they played in securing a progressive Guyana is forever etched in the national consciousness.

Today, Guyana pays homage to its heroes who stood up and fought for democracy in 2020. As a late former General-Secretary of the United Nations said, “…let us remember the large numbers of citizens who, day in and day out, through acts of volunteerism large and small, bring hope to so many of the world’s disadvantaged. Let us ensure that this wonderful resource, available in abundance to every nation, is recognised and supported as it works towards a more prosperous and peaceful world.”
All Guyana extends a hearty thank you to every Guyanese who fought for a democratic Guyana.


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