Thursday, April 20, 2017

Guyana's Government as Donor

Dear Government:

I have seen, chiefly in our Amerindian Villages, many signs (such as the one pictured in the accompanying photo image) alluding to the supposed largesse, kindness, and goodness of the Guyana Government. These donations include vehicles, speed boats, buildings, etc. Since when is the Government of Guyana in the business of providing "donations" to the people of Guyana? Your act of giving donations (or handouts) is condescending and an insult to our people. Your offers and promises of donations suggest that you, as Government, are doing the recipients a favor, that the recipients are in some kind of subservient relationship to you. It appears that you have forgotten that our Constitution (assuming you have read it at all) dictates that sovereignty and power resides in the people of Guyana, not in those who have received from us the mandate of service. 

Do not presume that we are naive. We know that your offers or promises of donations come with a price, namely, that the members of those individuals or communities receiving your donations put an X beside your name and your party's name on the ballot sheets. Let me remind you again, Guyana's institution of Government was not set up to be a charitable organization offering handouts but to be an institution of service to the Guyanese People. Your responsibility is not to "make donations" to the Guyanese people but to do service for the people in accordance with your assigned mandate. This practice of giving "donations" in anticipation of people's votes or as a response to their received votes must stop, along with the public displays via billboards or other signs indicating your supposed good will towards the recipients. And to the leader of and members of the opposition, I say the following: take no comfort in my reprimand of the Government regarding its practice, for you yourselves are not without culpability in this matter. You are also guilty of this practice whether during their own tenure of government or while in opposition to the incumbent government. This is a time of accountability. 

[photo art by Ric Couchman]