From our inception in 2015, Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) has condemned the extra-judicial killings in Guyana, which have occurred during the tenure of every successive government since independence, and before that, during colonial times. Some of us have been demonstrating as far back as 1972, when 15-year-old Keith Caesar was shot by the police in Tiger Bay. Many of our members were on the frontlines during the time of the Phantom Death Squad in Guyana. During that period, under the Jagdeo-led PPP regime, extra-judicial killings reached unprecedented levels. These are historical facts. Extra-judicial killings happened under the recent APNU+AFC regime, and fast forward to 2022, and we are still confronting the same problem. OVP joins with all those who have rightly condemned the most recent extra-judicial killing of 23-year-old Quindon Bacchus. We also condemn the extra-judicial killing of 30-year-old Deanraj ‘Steve’ Singh on May 26th, 2022.
At the root of this problem, is the fact that no government to date has been willing to pursue the type of transformation necessary to dismantle the authoritarian and repressive State Apparatus, of which the police force is a part. This State Apparatus, a remnant of British colonialism, is there to protect those with wealth and power, not to serve and protect the people. Instead of dismantling it and replacing it with a State Apparatus that serves and protects the interests of the people, successive governments have used the repressive State to further their own class and political interests.
Citizens have a legitimate right to protest extra-judicial killings, and many of those protesting the killing of Quindon Bacchus were doing so in a peaceful manner. What compounded the already tragic circumstances surrounding the execution of this young man was those people who decided to take out their frustration and anger on innocent Indian men and women at the Mon Repos market. Elderly people were beaten, vendors were robbed and a minibus set on fire. These vendors had absolutely nothing to do with the killing of Quindon Bacchus.
There are those in Guyana, and some who reside outside of Guyana, at a comfortable and safe distance, promoting race-hatred and constantly attempting to whip up racial-violence among the poor and the oppressed. They do this because it is the only way they can score points in the ‘tit-for-tat’ politics fostered by the two main political parties. It is a meaningless politics, a politics of banality that has us right where we are today. Turning on each simply sets us on a trajectory of destruction. What is even more tragic is that for decades, the Indian and African political elites of both parties have socialized and engaged in business together. They have secrets for each other and that is why, up to now, neither has seriously gone after the other, despite their serious transgressions while in office. Despite this, they are more than willing to promote racial conflict amongst the people if and when necessary to secure their power and stranglehold on this nation. In truth, the racial divide is the only thing that separates them, otherwise they are two sides of the same coin.
The real enemy is the unjust political and economic arrangement fostered by both main parties, ensuring that political power and wealth remain in the hands of a few, while the majority of both races reside in persistent poverty. The political elites of both parties, and their surrogates in the State Apparatus, serve foreign masters and local big business, facilitating the plunder of our abundant natural resources. This in turn enables them, their families and cronies to enjoy the “good life”, while the majority of Guyanese of all races struggle to survive.
Africans and Indians in Guyana need to wake up and take stock of the way we are being manipulated and distracted from the real issues at hand. And a word to my African brothers and sisters. Attacking innocent vendors at Mon Repos is un-African. While on this topic, “stink and dutty culture” has absolutely nothing to do with us being African. We come from a mighty race, from the cradle of civilization, a civilization that introduced humanity to the ancient Kemetic principles of Maat which teaches us truth, justice, harmony, balance, order, propriety and reciprocity. We must ask ourselves why negative values are being promoted as African. Why are we being deliberately misled, distracted, bamboozled and hoodwinked by people in our midst, who quite frankly, do not give a damn about us or our ability to secure any kind of future for ourselves and our children in Guyana. This land belongs to all of us, Indigenous, African and Indian alike. It is soaked with the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors, and our only hope lies in our ability to unite and reclaim it before there is nothing left to reclaim. It is time to wake up!
Gerald A. Perreira
Organization for the Victory of the People