What about a Black Guyanese entrepreneurial class?

August 1, 2015 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 


Let me be effusively unambiguous, graphically pellucid and illuminatingly clear – I would agree with any critic of the AFC-APNU Government who points to the consistent predominance of state appointments that is in one ethnic direction only. It will exacerbate the 60-year-old tragedy that is a country named Guyana.

My revulsion against the rule of the PPP beginning with Cheddi Jagan in 1992 was that the PPP control of the state was premised on favoritism towards East Indians. The man, Jagan, himself had an employment bias towards Indians during his presidency. It is a stain that is written largely on the biography of Cheddi Jagan. Only a blind researcher or an indecent one would gloss over that fact.

If Walter Rodney was alive to see Cheddi Jagan as President, Walter would have driven Jagan out to sea. The bitter sin that African-rights activists have accused Walter Rodney of possessing was that he was too obsessed with bringing down Burnham that he didn’t care about seeing the essential philosophical flaws of Jagan. Those flaws were nurtured and fertilized by Janet Jagan. Those flaws led Jagan to throw Bharrat Jagdeo upon Guyana. Those flaws made Jagdeo throw Ramotar upon Guyana. The rest is history.


I long suspected that the PPP, but particularly Bharrat Jagdeo, (in another column I will deal with Justice Chang’s injunction against me which still stands but which I have been able to get around because you can use different words to convey the same meaning) were tilting towards ethnic cleansing in a non-violent way (but also in a violent way which led to the 2002 Mash Day jailbreak).

At the level of the eyes, you couldn’t see it. I saw it when I spent two years researching employment and scholarship policies of the Jagdeo regime. I saw a horror story which I presented to an academic conference in the form of a paper titled, “Ethnic Power and Ideological Racism: Comparing Presidencies in Guyana.”

What African Guyanese suffered under the PPP, we should of course never forget but to keep carping on it is psychologically unwise. Thinking about it leads to unhealthy thoughts. We should move on. Guyana needs to move on. One hopes that what African Guyanese had to endure under the PPP, Indians won’t have to under the coalition government.

We simply have to kill the Medusa of racial suspicion that has frozen the future of Guyana almost sixty five years ago. Medusa was a monster in Greek mythology that when she set her gaze upon you, you turned into stone. And that is what race-based policies by past governments have down to Guyana – turned it into stone.

Mr. Clairmont Lye, not known at all to be a supporter of the PPP when the PPP was in office, has complained bitterly of the low level of East Indian representation on the state boards. No doubt this will hand the racists inside the PPP an anti-tank weapon from which they can fire their salvoes against the Granger/Nagamootoo unity team.

Whether contextually it was not possible to have an infusion of Indian faces, the claim of ethnic bias will cause reflections. Can you blame Lye if he sees it this way? The answer is no. But at the same time our sociological analysis must be methodologically holistic not ethnically slanted.

Ravi Dev has consistently argued that Guyanese Indians have an ethnic security dilemma that could only be addressed by ethnic balance in the security forces. Mr. Lye wants ethnic balance on state boards. But Indians who have these fears have to be analytically objective. African Guyanese have an ethnic security dilemma too. Dev admits this but proposes solutions to the Indian problem.

That is understandable- he deals with solutions for his community. But if we are to save Guyana we must examine the dilemmas all our ethnic communities have.

What about ethnic balance in the economy? What about ethnic balance in entrepreneurial formations in Guyana? Go to any part, and I mean any part of this 83,000 square miles of territory, and you see the monstrous ethnic imbalance in the capitalist nature of the Guyanese formation.

East Indians dominate the economy ninety five percent to one percent for African with other races making up the other four percent. Among other races in Guyana, outside of Indian Guyanese, land-holdings are extensive. It seems that the only race that does not possess vast plantations of land is African Guyanese.

I know some Portuguese Guyanese who have countless acreage of land that the combined population of African Guyanese do not have. It is time for ethnic balance in Guyanese capitalism.

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