Ethnic Security Dilemmas underline urgent need for Government of National Unity-Dr Baytoram Ramharack

Feb 18 2019

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Dear Editor,

The article `The Ethnic Security Dilemmas and Power-Sharing’ (SN, Feb 10) by Dr. Tarron Khemraj, offers a persuasive assessment of the current political problem in Guyana. The ethnic security dilemma (ESD), as we have defined it, refers to the fact that both major ethnic groups, Africans and Indians, since the Burnham-Jagan split, have attempted to capture state power at the expense of the other, resulting in electoral outcomes embedded in zero-sum political games where winner takes all. National electoral politics tend to acerbate primordial sentiments and the latent herd mentality takes hold of the rational thinking voter who then casts his ballot in support of “his own” to keep the “others” at bay. One simply has to take a look at the many blogs where Guyanese freely exchange ideas behind fictitious handles to get a fair sense of their real intentions. Otherwise, barring elections, Guyanese of all ethnic stripes interact freely in the market place without fear of the other. 

To be sure, Guyanese politics has never been so divisive. There were moments in the 1950s and the 1970s when Guyanese enjoyed a “detente” relationship in a struggle against an oppressive political system (colonialism, Burnhamism). And, during the 1947 general elections, Dr. JB Singh won the Demerara-Essequibo constituency, which registered only 42 per cent Indians and during the electoral campaign to represent the constituency of Eastern Demerara, labour union leader, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow appeared on Daniel Debidin’s political platform and publicly gave his endorsement and support to Debidin (who defeated John Carter). Political entrepreneurs, and the institutions they have created, however, have played a major role in perpetuating a fraud and a deception. More than ever, race and ethnicity have resulted in a deeply bifurcated polity, with the potential for grave instability during and after the next election, ironically, at a time our economy is set to embark on the next stage of development. The political fraud centres on the fact that leaders of the two major parties are in denial that politics in Guyana revolves around the issue of race and ethnicity and political leaders perpetuate the falsehood that they represent multiracial political parties.

The ethnic security dilemma to which Dr. Khemraj was referring is very real. It is different for Indians and Africans. He posited that the two dilemmas are “codetermined by economic security concerns”, and he concluded that “the crucial problem facing the PPP/C and Mr. Jagdeo is he does not have symmetric power to undermine the government of the day once the PPP/C is in opposition”. Traditionally, the PPP had relied upon electoral politics tied to its majority Indian support, while accepting the misguided premise that race consciousness and ethnic pride will disappear as “false consciousness” during the ensuing class struggle. Since the PPP leadership believed that class trumps race, the party has not legitimately confronted the ESD. The PPP’s insistence on its “multi-racial” composition, harking back to the period before the Burnham-Jagan split was used to provide legitimacy for the exclusion of the Africans from controlling executive power.

The changing demographics have altered the political game. It is less likely today that the PPP, given the declining Indian population, can prevent Africans from capturing executive power in a competitive and fair election. This reality is borne out by the 2012 national census which showed that Indians now represent 40 percent and Africans compose 30 per cent of the population. The faster growing populations are “Mixed race” (20 percent) and Amerindians 11 percent). In reality, Africans and the PNC have addressed their security dilemmas by positioning themselves to be able to win a free and fair election and by controlling the largesse of the state and its institutions.  Previous calls for power sharing by PNC operatives like Aubrey Norton have slowly disappeared in preference for a coalition of convenience and “social cohesion” under the African-led government.

When Jagdeo on the campaign hustings in Berbice made comments about the army knocking on people’s doors at night, he was accused of racial incitement. He  was also exploiting a real fear related to the Indian ESD.  At a live town hall meeting via skype (Feb 16, 2019) with Dr. David Hinds and myself, we discussed the security dilemmas, electoral politics, the race/ethnic problem, and offered some possible solutions to move the country away from its current conflict. At that meeting, I pointed out that because the ESD is not frontally addressed by politicians, Jagdeo’s references to the army intimidating Indians was not something extraordinary. There is a real fear among Indians regarding the disciplined forces (seizing ballot boxes, stopping and harassing people at the toll gates during the Burnham dictatorship, composition of 90 % Africans, etc).

In 1965, when then President David Granger enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant, the British Government had commissioned an ICJ study that recommended that the disciplined forces should reflect the population. Professor George Danns, has documented the role of an expanding, and abusive disciplined force used to ensure PNC’s power and domination in Guyana.

In 2004, a  Report of the Disciplined Forces Commission submitted to Parliament, of which Granger was a commissioner, recommended “streamlining”, “professionalizing”, “decentralizing” and “balancing” the forces. Indians remember all too well Desmond Hoyte’s references to “kith and kin”, the promise of “slo fiah, mo fiah”, and the violence against Indians on January 12, 1998, documented by the GIFT report. Balance in the disciplined forces implies that a targeted-outcome should be established rather than a quota system. After all, the law enforcement officers and defenders of the nation ought to be “fit and propa”. This has been, and continues to be a real security dilemma for Indians.

The coalition, in pursuit of what can be construed as an affirmative action plan, has rightfully rewarded its supporters with scholarships, 20 per cent government contracts, a $2 billion in IDB loan to develop agriculture in the Buxton, Ithaca, Mocha and Beterverwagting area, and a relaunching of the People’s Militia. At the same time, 7,000 sugar workers (mostly Indians) were fired from the closing of 4 out of 7 GUYSUCO estates, with no safety net for the workers or their families. During the town hall meeting I cautioned Dr. Hinds that it was dangerous for Africans to spread the myth that rich Indians control the Guyanese economy and that many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy. Dr. Ramesh Gampat, citing UN figures, had previously debunked the myth about the wealthy Indian controlling the economy of Guyana.

 Taken to its logical conclusion, if the two major political parties had confronted the ESD, Guyanese would have been exposed to a more honest and democratic political culture.  Given the existing racial/ethnic dilemmas, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to note that should the PPP win the upcoming election, the tensions and the mindset cultivated in the political realm, promises political unrest, and the potential for disruption that will make it difficult for the PPP to govern. 

What Guyana needs is an honest assessment of where we are, and a reminder that the national patrimony belongs to all Guyanese. Constitutional reform and tempered statements from politicians will help, but there are three things that ought to be on the table. One, policies and their implementation have consequences. The government should establish an assessment of its policies through Ethnic Impact Statements to promote equity, diversity and fairness and to be able to address the perception that the largesse of the state is not being unfairly distributed. Sherwood Lowe has also made similar calls in the past. Two, Guyana urgently needs a Government of National Unity, made up of all the victors at the next election who win proportional seats to enter Parliament.

A National Government can govern for 5 years until the next election, working together to reform the constitution to take Guyana into the next phase of its economic development. It will be the first time that young people, who make up the majority of the electorate, can see our elder politicians working to craft a new constitution that promotes inclusiveness for future generations. Finally, the formation of an “Amerindian” party under Lenox Shuman’s leadership is a welcome development because it has the potential to become a power broker, if its leaders, unlike the AFC, maintain their independence and vote their  conscience. Such a party adds a new dimension to politics in a multi-racial society.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Baytoram Ramharack

Original Post

Dr Ramharack give abie a great letter. He have a true dactarate from NYU. International relation. Abie PPP put up metropole cinema bicycle tiefman foh foreign affair. De man preachin ism and ism. Hey hey hey. Dem is Janet/Cheddi indos. Dem Indos like Dr Ramharack cyant do good in PPP. Dem doan have steet corner and hustler sense. Dem is not doers like metropole tiefman of bicycle. Hey hey hey. Dat Mr TK is wan good pot solt. 

Labba posted:
seignet posted:

Poppycock, a British term.

Nothing can save Guyana other than Christian Principles.

The heart needs a mender. 

Hey hey hey...but but but but...Granger go to chuch every sunday and kneel down and pray? Hey hey hey.

Yeah bhai, meh know. Dat man is a true true Blackman, attempt to fool God. What a disappointment.

 
"The coalition, in pursuit of what can be construed as an affirmative action plan, has rightfully rewarded its supporters with scholarships, 20 per cent government contracts, a $2 billion in IDB loan to develop agriculture in the Buxton, Ithaca, Mocha and Beterverwagting area, and a relaunching of the People’s Militia. At the same time, 7,000 sugar workers (mostly Indians) were fired from the closing of 4 out of 7 GUYSUCO estates, with no safety net for the workers or their families. During the town hall meeting I cautioned Dr. Hinds that it was dangerous for Africans to spread the myth that rich Indians control the Guyanese economy and that many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy. Dr. Ramesh Gampat, citing UN figures, had previously debunked the myth about the wealthy Indian controlling the economy of Guyana."

Dr Baytoram Ramharack

a couple of things:

how on earth is "relaunching the People's Militia" an affirmative action "reward" in any meaningful ECONOMIC sense for Black folks in Guyana (a little over 3 weeks hard training with a $US14/day stipend - a grand total of US$300 for a near month of trouble)?

and, what exactly are these scholarship awards being doled out by the PNC to it's "supporters" (by 'definition' denied to the Indian masses?) as a form of "affirmative action"?

btw, The Small Business Act - you know, the 20% thing - was made law under the PPP in 2004 and as far as i know, even today, that law is not enforced . . . and where exactly does the contemplated Small Business database say "Afro only"?

and, about that CDF loan . . . for 155 km of canals and drains (both new and rehabilitated structures), along with 40 km of fair weather dam and one pump station" (contract awarded to H. Nauth & Sons) and equipment that will NOT be owned by the farmers mentionable "affirmative action" when the same was done for other neglected farming areas in 2013 https://guyanachronicle.com/20...com-development-fund and 2015 https://www.inewsguyana.com/gu...agreement-with-cdf/?

now, let's cut to the meat of the ROAR obsession:

" . . . it was dangerous for Africans to spread the myth that rich Indians control the Guyanese economy and that many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy."

huh . . . huh?

TK is another pseudo-cleverman ethnic warrior type who has made religion of this mad rass chant encouraging wilful ignorance

to them, honest, transformative Indian business success in Guyana is something to be denied because acknowledgement will bring unwelcome scrutiny to the systemic capture of the Guyana economy (through 'legal' theft of state resources) under the gluttonous, criminal stewardship of Jagdeo's PPP gangsters

the less said about this Ramharack klown averring it a "myth" that "many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy" the better

nonsense like that does not deserve to be dignified with argument

giving "Dr" a bad name

smfh

ronan posted:
 
"The coalition, in pursuit of what can be construed as an affirmative action plan, has rightfully rewarded its supporters with scholarships, 20 per cent government contracts, a $2 billion in IDB loan to develop agriculture in the Buxton, Ithaca, Mocha and Beterverwagting area, and a relaunching of the People’s Militia. At the same time, 7,000 sugar workers (mostly Indians) were fired from the closing of 4 out of 7 GUYSUCO estates, with no safety net for the workers or their families. During the town hall meeting I cautioned Dr. Hinds that it was dangerous for Africans to spread the myth that rich Indians control the Guyanese economy and that many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy. Dr. Ramesh Gampat, citing UN figures, had previously debunked the myth about the wealthy Indian controlling the economy of Guyana."

Dr Baytoram Ramharack

a couple of things:

how on earth is "relaunching the People's Militia" an affirmative action "reward" in any meaningful ECONOMIC sense for Black folks in Guyana (a little over 3 weeks hard training with a $US14/day stipend - a grand total of US$300 for a near month of trouble)?

and, what exactly are these scholarship awards being doled out by the PNC to it's "supporters" (by 'definition' denied to the Indian masses?) as a form of "affirmative action"?

btw, The Small Business Act - you know, the 20% thing - was made law under the PPP in 2004 and as far as i know, even today, that law is not enforced . . . and where exactly does the contemplated Small Business database say "Afro only"?

and, about that CDF loan . . . for 155 km of canals and drains (both new and rehabilitated structures), along with 40 km of fair weather dam and one pump station" (contract awarded to H. Nauth & Sons) and equipment that will NOT be owned by the farmers mentionable "affirmative action" when the same was done for other neglected farming areas in 2013 https://guyanachronicle.com/20...com-development-fund and 2015 https://www.inewsguyana.com/gu...agreement-with-cdf/?

now, let's cut to the meat of the ROAR obsession:

" . . . it was dangerous for Africans to spread the myth that rich Indians control the Guyanese economy and that many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy."

huh . . . huh?

TK is another pseudo-cleverman ethnic warrior type who has made religion of this mad rass chant encouraging wilful ignorance

to them, honest, transformative Indian business success in Guyana is something to be denied because acknowledgement will bring unwelcome scrutiny to the systemic capture of the Guyana economy (through 'legal' theft of state resources) under the gluttonous, criminal stewardship of Jagdeo's PPP gangsters

the less said about this Ramharack klown averring it a "myth" that "many Indians were engaged in the narco-trafficking economy" the better

nonsense like that does not deserve to be dignified with argument

giving "Dr" a bad name

smfh

Hey hey hey...me see yuh coverin up all de empowahment yuh PNC bais dem doing since 2015. Hey hey hey...de labba doan have to repeat de example foh yuh. Look how ayoo cry margibnalization foh 23 year and now ayoo army can mek ayoo break de very constitution ayoo impose pon dem poor peopkle in de Sophia Declaration. Hey hey hey. All dem coolies ayoo pushing out from de public service mean ayoo go get dem ratio like 1992. De scholarship tie to de wuk experience in de public service. Hey hey hey. Meh see yuh pretend defend dem FEW Indos who get rich foh hard wuk? But years ayoo deh pon PNC Channel 9 saying how dem is money launder and dope pusher...like yuh bai Waddel. BTW what was de one lover do gooder Army bai who testify against Roger Khan pushing? Sari curry powder? Hey hey hey...army expansion of only one race is afformative ackshun. Hey hey hey...

Labba posted:

Hey hey hey...me see yuh coverin up all de empowahment yuh PNC bais dem doing since 2015. Hey hey hey...de labba doan have to repeat de example foh yuh. Look how ayoo cry margibnalization foh 23 year and now ayoo army can mek ayoo break de very constitution ayoo impose pon dem poor peopkle in de Sophia Declaration. Hey hey hey. All dem coolies ayoo pushing out from de public service mean ayoo go get dem ratio like 1992. De scholarship tie to de wuk experience in de public service. Hey hey hey. Meh see yuh pretend defend dem FEW Indos who get rich foh hard wuk? But years ayoo deh pon PNC Channel 9 saying how dem is money launder and dope pusher...like yuh bai Waddel. BTW what was de one lover do gooder Army bai who testify against Roger Khan pushing? Sari curry powder? Hey hey hey...army expansion of only one race is afformative ackshun. Hey hey hey...

i have no problem acknowledging bias and favoritism for their constituency by PNC since 2015

what i do have a problem with is you and your crocodile political colleague placing LIES in the public domain under cover of seeking a shared pathway . . .

you and he are part of an unholy, dishonest crew of ideological racists plotting bad things in a fragile, vulnerable Guyana

haul alyuh rass

ronan posted:
Labba posted:

Hey hey hey...me see yuh coverin up all de empowahment yuh PNC bais dem doing since 2015. Hey hey hey...de labba doan have to repeat de example foh yuh. Look how ayoo cry margibnalization foh 23 year and now ayoo army can mek ayoo break de very constitution ayoo impose pon dem poor peopkle in de Sophia Declaration. Hey hey hey. All dem coolies ayoo pushing out from de public service mean ayoo go get dem ratio like 1992. De scholarship tie to de wuk experience in de public service. Hey hey hey. Meh see yuh pretend defend dem FEW Indos who get rich foh hard wuk? But years ayoo deh pon PNC Channel 9 saying how dem is money launder and dope pusher...like yuh bai Waddel. BTW what was de one lover do gooder Army bai who testify against Roger Khan pushing? Sari curry powder? Hey hey hey...army expansion of only one race is afformative ackshun. Hey hey hey...

i have no problem acknowledging bias and favoritism for their constituency by PNC since 2015

what i do have a problem with is you and your crocodile political colleague placing LIES in the public domain under cover of seeking a shared pathway . . .

you and he are part of an unholy, dishonest crew of ideological racists plotting bad things in a fragile, vulnerable Guyana

haul alyuh rass

Hey hey hey...see meh ress me case. Only one lover flag wavin black and mix peopkle can contribute to abie 'shared pathway.' Dem Indos cyant seh anything. Hey hey hey. Anyhow HYA 

Labba posted:
ronan posted:
Labba posted:

Hey hey hey...me see yuh coverin up all de empowahment yuh PNC bais dem doing since 2015. Hey hey hey...de labba doan have to repeat de example foh yuh. Look how ayoo cry margibnalization foh 23 year and now ayoo army can mek ayoo break de very constitution ayoo impose pon dem poor peopkle in de Sophia Declaration. Hey hey hey. All dem coolies ayoo pushing out from de public service mean ayoo go get dem ratio like 1992. De scholarship tie to de wuk experience in de public service. Hey hey hey. Meh see yuh pretend defend dem FEW Indos who get rich foh hard wuk? But years ayoo deh pon PNC Channel 9 saying how dem is money launder and dope pusher...like yuh bai Waddel. BTW what was de one lover do gooder Army bai who testify against Roger Khan pushing? Sari curry powder? Hey hey hey...army expansion of only one race is afformative ackshun. Hey hey hey...

i have no problem acknowledging bias and favoritism for their constituency by PNC since 2015

what i do have a problem with is you and your crocodile political colleague placing LIES in the public domain under cover of seeking a shared pathway . . .

you and he are part of an unholy, dishonest crew of ideological racists plotting bad things in a fragile, vulnerable Guyana

haul alyuh rass

Hey hey hey...see meh ress me case. Only one lover flag wavin black and mix peopkle can contribute to abie 'shared pathway.' Dem Indos cyant seh anything.

you have no case to "rest" until you address Bayto's lies and disinformation

non sequiturs don't count

seignet posted:

A lot of effort put into the rebuttal. Imagine if an equal amount is made in embracing our differences respectfully how great our progess would be.

You would be best served by following your own advice.

We still recall your screams that blacks are lazy and should be grateful to Indians and that Linden should be cursed as a place of poverty for infinity.

Now how does this show that you wish to embrace differences?

ksazma posted:

When everything else fails, always remember to claim racism. It does give fools the false sense of comfort which they so desperately need.

Yes just like you do whenever the PNC and its treatment of Indians comes up.

You really ought to listen and learn from Ramkarran when he told you that BOTH Indians and Africans are correct in their feelings and distrust for each other based on their past experiences with the PPP and the PNC.

But you think that only Indos are entitled to claim racism.

caribny posted:
ksazma posted:

When everything else fails, always remember to claim racism. It does give fools the false sense of comfort which they so desperately need.

Yes just like you do whenever the PNC and its treatment of Indians comes up.

You really ought to listen and learn from Ramkarran when he told you that BOTH Indians and Africans are correct in their feelings and distrust for each other based on their past experiences with the PPP and the PNC.

But you think that only Indos are entitled to claim racism.

If you do not know, let me ask you. Why would the poor backward Indian arriving in British Guiana and straight to the secluded plantations, away from the negroes immediately hate alyuh. 

Bullies that what yuh guys are, must despise somebody. Pure and simple hate for NO REASON AT ALLL.

Ram Karran is an idiot, he is a lawyer and not even a historian like Granger. HE DOAN KNOW dick, juss like Granger. 

caribny posted:
seignet posted:

A lot of effort put into the rebuttal. Imagine if an equal amount is made in embracing our differences respectfully how great our progess would be.

You would be best served by following your own advice.

We still recall your screams that blacks are lazy and should be grateful to Indians and that Linden should be cursed as a place of poverty for infinity.

Now how does this show that you wish to embrace differences?

Linden is CURSED for their ethnic cleansing-plagued society, nothing can give them economical comforts. Their hearts are wanderings.

seignet posted:
c

If you do not know, let me ask you. Why would the poor backward Indian arriving in British Guiana and straight to the secluded plantations, away from the negroes immediately hate alyuh. 

Bullies that what yuh guys are, must despise somebody. Pure and simple hate for NO REASON AT ALLL.

Ram Karran is an idiot, he is a lawyer and not even a historian like Granger. HE DOAN KNOW dick, juss like Granger. 

And yet we are generations away from those early migrants.

In fact India has a history of scornful treatment of dark skinned people.  Maybe those immigrants were too happy to find people even darker than them.

seignet posted:
caribny posted:
seignet posted:

A lot of effort put into the rebuttal. Imagine if an equal amount is made in embracing our differences respectfully how great our progess would be.

You would be best served by following your own advice.

We still recall your screams that blacks are lazy and should be grateful to Indians and that Linden should be cursed as a place of poverty for infinity.

Now how does this show that you wish to embrace differences?

Linden is CURSED for their ethnic cleansing-plagued society, nothing can give them economical comforts. Their hearts are wanderings.

And here you provide evidence that Ramkarran is right.  Cursing black people to poverty for infinity.

Now how many people who were adults in 1964 are still around today. And why are those Indians who slaughtered black women and children in midnight raids exempt from this.  Yes its a known fact that the PYO were a bunch of Castro trained brutes.

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