Fed-up Guyanese should step up, make voices heard – former President urges
Former President Donald Ramotar believes it is time for all Guyanese to protest what he describes as the “anti-national and anti-developmental moves” by the APNU/AFC coalition Administration. “Guyanese, if you are fed-up, then step-up, make your voices heard!” Ramotar has declared.Donald Ramotar served as President of Guyana from 2011 to 2015His sentiments are expressed in an article he wrote and sent to the Guyana Times for publication. The full text of that article is published below:The recent setting up of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) “to examine all issues and uncertainties surrounding the claims of Amerindian Lands titling; the individual, joint and communal ownership of lands acquired by freed African, and any other matters relative to land titling would be public welfare,” is the latest move by Government, (and it) is creating disunity amongst the peoples of this country.This has caused an uproar in the Amerindian community, as they see that once more this move can push them to the margins of society. They see that all the great gains they made during the PPP/C Administration are going to be eroded by the APNU+AFC government. At the centre of the government, holed up in the Ministry of the Presidency, is Mr Eric Phillips, who seems determined to rewrite the history of this country.It is known that for centuries the Amerindian people not only lived on the land in their specific areas, but they have protected the environment. They managed to understand the laws of nature, and lived within those laws. In so doing, they were able to preserve our forests and our environment, so that today we are one of the foremost countries in relation to protection of the natural environment.The establishment of this CoI, therefore, raises many questions. In the first place, this was done without consultations with the Amerindian community. As it stands now, the Amerindians have legal rights to the land. What should be discussed now (are) the extensions that many have applied for.However, this move by the regime is intended to stop this process. People like Phillips are selling the idea that the Amerindians were not the first people here. This is a clear signal that the regime has probably set this body up to come to the conclusion that the Amerindians should not enjoy the rights that the PPP/C Administration ensured (were) put in law.This regime wants to change the law to the disadvantage of the Amerindians. The regime, by taking that step, is also setting the ground that can lead to disunity amongst the peoples of this country.It is strange that this regime has set up a whole ministry which they claimed is to promote social cohesion. They even named it the Ministry of Social Cohesion. Yet, almost every act they have executed is promoting disunity. This CoI is the latest so far in a long list of measures.They have practised racial and political discrimination in the dismissals from the public service. They have done the same in employment to the public service. We also see the same pattern in the dispossession of farmers of land, and many persons who were allocated turn-key homes and house lots have suffered the same consequences.We have seen discrimination in the awarding of scholarships, and in the admission of students to the law programme at the University of Guyana.By their actions, this regime is doing its best (or worst) to sow discord, disunity; and yes, moving against social cohesion.It is time for all Guyanese to protest these anti-national and anti-developmental moves by this regime. Guyanese, if you are fed-up, then step-up, make your voices heard.This is my view. What is yours?