That which unites us …

By Gerald V. Paul

As the Eyes Guy was about to pen this column, and waiting for my workhorse computer to get the show on the road, a quick peek into Facebook and what do I see? “That which unites us is far greater than that which divides us.”

And, wait for it Eyesers, “We are here to serve not to be served.”

Thanks, Saint Lucia’s Ross Cadastre-Cadasse, director recruiting at Manpower Group.

Keeping on the same theme, earlier on Facebook, there was the commotion over the five seats only for the 32 elected members in Guyana’s National Assembly, representing almost half of the population, during their 50th celebrations.

Was it a disrespect to the the PPP/C parliamentary opposition, the original party, led by freedom fighter Dr. Cheddi Jagan for Guyana’s independence, or was it the incompetence of a junior minister of a one-seat majority government who was unprepared to handle such a massive event?

What about “reserved seating?” I told preacher and former journalist colleague turned lecturer at the University in Guyana, Rev. Terrence Esseboom, “We need to have truth and reconciliation.”

This is a government where President David Granger saw no evidence of corruption of the former PPP/C government but his AFC component arm in the government, after spending millions in an investigation with questionable individuals with connections to their party, are not satisfied.

After all, as my Trini posse does seh: “How it guh look? Abee left de PPP/C to give de people honesty and integrity only to find abee sleeping with the enemy PNC.” But allyuh look story.

It is because of the sad situation in Guyana and the young people who wanted change who now see this change as mere “pocket change” as the government gave themselves 50% increases in their salaries so they will not thieve but are calling on public servants to “wuk fuh de money, it  nah come easy.”

So today as I call for a truth and reconciliation commission in Guyana. I am seeking the help of Garnett Manning Youth and Leadership Foundation (GMYLF). Jamaica-born Manning is the former acting mayor of the City of Brampton and is a minister of religion.

Help will also be sought from Guyana-born Mark Persaud, an expert in peace issues who was homeless in Toronto, went on to law school here and Harvard and  will receive a honourary doctorate. Congrats, Mark!

Meanwhile, Eyesers, kindly allow me to share a book, part of my library, with you: The Guyana Story from earliest times to independence. It is a seminal work by Dr. Odeen Ishmael, a veteran and distinguished educator and Guyanese diplomat.

This is a collaboration of short essays attempting to relate the story of the Guyanese people in a generally chronological order. According to the author, the aim is to build awareness among Guyanese, in particular, of the rich heritage of the Guyanese people.

“It remains my intention to get the readers to follow the historical progression of Guyana’s development and to encourage them to do more advanced reading of this history – and eventually for those whose interest are whipped up, to conduct their own detailed and scholarly research into any into the various aspects described in these essays,” Ishmael noted.

Indeed, The Guyana Story will continue to encourage others to probe and document further various aspects of Guyanese history: “By knowing about our past we will be in a better position to understand and appreciate the present.”

Guyana-born published poet Janet Naidu, who played a role in Guyana’s 50th with the writing competition, and graced Indian Arrival Day recently, posted on Facebook, “There is truth in some degree of division between Guyanese of African and Indian origins. Imperialism and indoctrination of false perception of class and elitism run deep among both races.

“This is also a worldwide phenomenon even among Europeans themselves.”

Naidu added that Guyanese must recognize the past and move forward to reach appreciation of the richness of our diversity and strive for an exclusive national and international presence. Yes, that which unites. Bless be the ties that bind.

Interested in being part of the truth and reconciliation work of faith and labour of love in Guyana? Please call 647-760-0504. Thank you.