Mind you, not disagreeing with you there was discrimination. Let me ask you this - has the quality of life gotten any better for black people in Guyana over the last 50 years of independence? Same question for Indians!
The answer is yes. Admittedly this is harder to prove in Guyana than in most of the Caribbean, and that Guyana has progressed the least. Jamaica being another problematic case. Has our quality of life improved as much as it should have? No. But we don't have to be as afraid to talk out against injustice as we did in those days. That "happiness" was a drugged high.
Ask yourself why that extreme unleashing of violence in the 60s. Happy people don't behave like that. And don't tell me that Guyanese were so silly that they destroyed their communities because Burnham and Jagan told them so. No. This was an unleashing of unresolved issues.
If Guyanese were happy there would have been no struggle in 1953. They would have accepted the status quo which deemed the majority as being not competent enough to vote and therefore accepting that which was thrust on them by the planter class.
Yes life has become more complicated. Now that you have indoor plumbing and electricity you have to pay for it. Yes now that you know how people elsewhere in the world live you hanker for it.
And it is a fact that there is more crime, dwindling values, and deteriorating family structures but name the country where this hasn't occurred. Do you know that New Yorkers weren't always afraid of their neighbors?
Many adults think that life was better when they were kids because it was their parents who had to solve all of our problems. But do we want to go back to those days when we had much less freedom to determine what we wanted to do than we now have as adults?
Carib, I disagree that the quality of life now is better. Yes, there are more amenities (electricity in more areas, cell service etc.). But in the grand scheme of things, where has all this "independence" gotten us? Mind you, not suggesting we should have remained subservient to the British, but what have we done with Independence? And what better quality of life have we gotten since Independence?
Here are my considerations:
a. You mentioned "we don't have to be afraid to talk out against injustice". Really? The PNC assassinated political opponents and the PPP had extra judicial killings! Political victimization continues until today. Only the players have changed.
b. Infrastructure - we inherited an almost perfect infrastructure from the British. Today, the sea defenses are collapsing and residents are flooded. The trenches and dams are a disaster. Poor sanitation is now accepted and trash all over. Today the land of many waters relies on bottled water. The power system is broken for over 40 years. Yes, 40+ years of blackouts that our local geniuses (Freddy take note) CANNOT solve. Our attempts to improve infrastructure resulted in a giant goady bridge and a road to nowhere. All of the aforementioned has a direct effect on quality of life.
c. Crime - kick down the door bandits, extra judicial killings, corruption of the legal system where the "elites" walk free. An infestation of drugs and Guyana becoming THE major drug transhipment point for the Caribbean. Again - a direct effect on quality of life as people turn to drugs for a living and now we are stuck with a generation of addicts who will kill, maim, and rob to support their habit.
You get my point. Increase in crime, breakdown of infrastructure, etc. all result in a worse quality of life. I haven't touched on the lack of jobs, the lack of any upcoming industry (even a cottage one), no entrepreneurship beyond taxi driver, etc which would further make my case.
No my friend, our quality of life is not better today in spite of the fact that there are no "elite" white or red man to restrict us from holding certain positions. Today we get to hold the positions, we just don't know what the hell to do once we have them. We have more freedom, but we just don't seem to have the will nor the fortitude to exercise it properly. We are a lost people.