[approx. 4-minute read]
Seven years ago, I was far more of a nobody than I am today – a lil girl from the countryside with an almost inexplicable passion for securing the future of Guyana. My love for this country flows through my veins. It came from the cane-cutting, rice-planting men and women who did back breaking work from estate to estate and rice field to rice field along the Coast. Guyana is my greatest love affair for this lifetime.
Our lack of trust in and fear of each other continues to be the tragic story of our nation. Since my impassioned open letter to a former Head of the Presidential Secretariat in 2014, I have had much time to grow, learn and pursue an answer to why this is so. Today, I have arrived at a place where the answer is only important in so far as it can contribute to shaping a solution. How can we get to a place of trust? Is it possible after what happened during the 2020 electoral cycle? I don’t have comprehensive answers to any of these questions just yet. No individual does.
In recent years, I began working in the world of non-profit international development and I currently focus on democracy, rights, and governance programming. As a young Guyanese, I have deliberately shaped my career to focus on contributing to the types of solutions I believe Guyana needs most. Through my work, I have been able to collaborate with political party and civil society youth, women, persons with disabilities, high-level Government and Opposition leaders, the Guyana Elections Commission, the international community, and many others.
Like almost all humans, I have personal opinions about many issues including the 2020 elections. However, unlike most humans I don’t believe that I have the luxury of freely sharing those opinions without jeopardizing my ability to perform my professional duties as best as I can. My opinion means less and less as the years go by. I have gotten into the habit of practicing non-judgment (Deepak Chopra identifies it as one of seven spiritual laws of success).
When I enter a space, I suspend my judgement and I put aside what I think I know about an issue. I show up to listen, to hear and not to answer, to see the issue from as many perspectives as possible and to offer the possibility of trust. I believe that we must emulate the things we hope to manifest as our reality. I hope to excel at this one day.
Over the years, several high-level leaders have asked me what I want. I have never offered a clear or even appropriate answer. It is not because I didn’t know. I just thought they wouldn’t care. The answer is simple – I want our political leaders to find ways of dealing with their distrust, suspicion, and fear towards each other; I want them to be honest with the citizens who vote for them; and I want them to work towards a more inclusive system of governance that truly benefits the people.
I understand that the things I want are complex, challenging, seemingly impossible. However, there are many leaders across the political party spectrum and civil society who I believe can achieve the most difficult things. Trust is still possible for us, but it is a long and treacherous road. Anything worth having does not come easy. Remember this during the twists and turns of our journey. Happy 55th Independence Anniversary!
This article contains the personal views of the author and is in no way connected with any institution or group with which she may be affiliated.
A note from the Author:
Given the custom by various loyalists to misrepresent and misuse any type of political commentary to support their own positions, I feel that it is necessary to borrow the following from Thomas Paine (an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary) with whose work I became acquainted as a student of History at the University of Guyana:
Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the Doctrine itself, not the Woman. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That she is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.
Craig Village, East Bank Demerara, May 25, 2021