It is was with utter shock, dismay and disbelief that I read the comments attributed to PNC/R leader Mr. Robert Corbin in the July 12, 2012 issue of KN under the caption “Chronicle board to discuss action over racist editorial”. Mr. Corbin is reported to have said that the APNU had deliberately stayed away from commenting from the issue and that the ruling PPP wanted to bait the party into getting into a political quarrel, and that “it resisted and was happy that civil society, social activists and the media have been the ones championing the campaign against the editorial” It further reported that Mr. Corbin believed that the issue is best served if it was not transformed into a PNC/R PPP/C issue, Mr. Corbin is also reported to have said that “we’re very happy the way the issue that the issue has been frontally dealt with”. NEWS FLASH Mr. Corbin the African Guyanese that voted for your party are far from happy with the way the issue has been dealt with.
Mr. Editor, while it may seem that given the deluge of corruption, scandals, cronyism, favouritism, mismanagement, secret deals, discrimination, widespread tax evasion and avoidance, high unemployment, lack of recreation facilities for the nation’s youth, and the inability of most Guyanese to feel that there is hope for the future, that our collective dissent should be directed to those in charge of managing the state’s affairs, and for allowing the current state of affairs, it is time that Africans hold their leaders to account for their leadership or lack thereof, particular on issues that are important to them.
It is difficult for me to fathom the PNC/R being happy taking the back seat while others speaking out on a direct assault on its constituents. The issue of being baited really should not arise since the Chronicle editorial in question was a direct racist assault on all African Guyanese. This editorial needs to be condemned by all right thinking Guyanese, but it was the moral obligation of the PNC/R as the leading opposition party to spearhead the condemnation and rebuttal of such race hate and fear mongering.
I fail to see how the PNC/R contextualizes this editorial in a framework of being baited by the PPP, since the editorial accused the opposition of socializing Africans to rob and murder Indian Guyanese. Is the PNC/R leader telling African Guyanese that it is beyond the competence of the PNC/R to provide a fitting response to this race hate, even if it was required to take the lead, and not fall into any “trap”that was being set? Guess what Mr. Corbin, so what if you are being baited? If you do not have the capability respond to a direct attack upon your supporters from what should be an impartial national institution then you are not fit to represent African Guyanese. Again I ask the question? So what if you are baited? The substance of the editorial still remains and a response was needed from you. You were required to lead the way in the condemnation of this assault. In this regard you have failed your constituents miserably.
I must confess however that this failure by the PNC/R was not quite unexpected, as there has been so much lack of leadership from the PNC/R over the last 7 years that no appropriate response to pressing national issues has become somewhat of a norm.
One suspects that the issue of race and race relations would have been confronted and that a national dialog would have been initiated after the testimony of Dr. Roger Luncheon in the Bharrat Jagdeo V Freddie Kisson/Adam Harris/Kaietuer News Libel case. That such a dialogue has not been initiated by the PNC/R leads me to believe that some degree of cowardice with regard to the issue of race and race relations in Guyana exists on an institutional level within the throes of the PNC/R.
There cannot be a more opportune moment to bring to the fore the issue of race and race relations within Guyana. I am not for a moment advocating that the other issues that impact nation building such as corruption, crime, high unemployment, and the lack of opportunity for the nation’s youth should be given less preference, but the issue of race and race relations has to be dealt with. After all it is the opposition constituency that is most adversely affected by racism in this country. The PNC/R need not be afraid to face the issue of race for their supporters are living the ill effects of this evil, just ask the people of Linden, or Georgetown as a matter of fact.
Given the Olympic games are a just a couple of weeks away, one gets the impression that the PNC/R leader is trying to make a contest out of the race for the Gold Medal for Mediocrity in Leadership in Guyana. Most Guyanese already believe that the champion of the earth’s name had already been engraved onto the Gold Medal. But if Mr. Corbin continues at this rate he may sure be headed for a photo finish. I however have to admit, it would take a lot of doing to catch Mr. Jagdeo. History will judge both Mr. Corbin and Mr. Jagdeo quite harshly.
Mr. Corbin may be able to nail down the silver medal were he to use the occasion of the upcoming PNC/R congress to, like the Champion of the Earth further delude himself with a grand party similar to Mr. Jagdeo’s day of appreciation. He would have the added advantage of not having to bus droves of people into the event. He might want to add some gloss to the “celebration” and choose to invite a distinguished Guyanese. Given that Sir Sridath Ramphal allowed himself to be devalued in the eyes of the Guyanese people by Mr. Jagdeo, Mr. Corbin’s handlers might do well to seek out someone else…..perhaps Dr. Compton Bourne. The presence of such a distinguished son of the soil would provide similar stimuli for Mr. Corbin’s ego as Sir Sridath did for the Champion of the Earth.
The comments of the Chronicle board Chair has not escaped notice, his utterances on the editorial deserve attention from the nation also. It might be useful for your publication to verify with Mr. Keith Burrowes what exactly he meant when he stated “that the views expressed in the publication by no means represent the majority of shareholders, the board nor the management and staff of the chronicle”. Mr. Burrowes should state exactly whose views the editorial represented. Further Mr. Editor, Mr. Burrowes is reported to have said that while understanding the frustration that has led to the protests, he finds it ironic that the very ones who are protesting have publicly said, that they don’t read the Guyana Chronicle, and that some double standard exists. His comments suggest that people are protesting for the sake of protesting. These comments demonstrate that the apology and his offer to resign are not genuine and deserve to be published only in the fish wrap that he represents. Guess what Mr. Burrowes, notwithstanding the Cronicle is a fish wrap that is read by yourself and perhaps your board only; it is published daily with taxpayers dollars to wit. The editorial was published both in the printed and online editions and was deeply offensive to a large section of the population. That this fish wrap enjoys perhaps the lowest circulation of daily newspapers is of no relevance. Not only yourself, but the entire board should resign and the editor should be fired.
Guyanese have become accustomed to hearing nonsense from Mr. Juan Edghill and Mr. Clement Rohee, but to think that Mr. Burrowes has been holding himself out to be the answer to the woes at City Hall. Guyana might want to consider a bid to host the Mediocre Olympics; we need not invite foreign participants. We have more than enough Participants here to rival the games to be held in London in two weeks.