Saturday, April 26, 2008

Marginalisation requires detailed analysis, it can’t just be asserted

Marginalisation requires detailed analysis, it can’t just be asserted

April 26, 2008

Dear Editor,
I wish to respond to Kean Gibson’s letter captioned “case can be made for marginalisation without the use of statistics” (08.04.24)

This flimsy assertion is an attempt by Ms Gibson, to make a claim and not see the need to prove it. She cannot make wild accusations and then say you don’t need any proof. That suggests her claims are not grounded in reality but are based on hearsay and rumours because any sensible person will ask questions such as, how, when, where, show me. Like I have said before to others who make similar claims of marginalisation of African-Guyanese, where are the statistics to back up the claim you are making?
Ms Gibson goes on to say that African Guyanese are referred to as “criminals, murderers, rapists, lawless, two-faced, untrustworthy, violent, only interested in sex and drugs etc”, in the Guyana Chronicle. I don’t recall ever seeing these terms used to describe African Guyanese in the Chronicle. I challenge Ms Gibson to give a specific example.

What I do see in the papers is the reference to people involved in crime and murders as killers and rapists and thieves. What would you like us to call them, Ms Gibson?

The writer goes on to make all kinds of assertions about the police and army killing black men. Ms Gibson, the men who have been killed in shootouts with police in the large majority of cases, were armed, wanted, or suspects in crimes.

I challenge you to compare the number of arrests made, as opposed to those incidents when someone was killed in a confrontation with the police, and you will see that the latter is a tiny part of the whole.

But, Ms Gibson, I think you have touched on a very contentious issue in your claim about African Guyanese being described as criminals, etc. The problem here is that the media refuses to describe suspects according to race. When a crime is committed, and the victims have seen the perpetrators, as in Enmore and Bartica, their description should be made public in the media. This way there will be no dispute of who is being labelled a criminal, and who is not.

I know that the large majority of African Guyanese are not criminals or thieves or murderers or rapists. I know that many are decent, hard-working people. However, it is clear that there is a segment of the African Guyanese population that is bent on crime and is congregated in certain areas - Buxton, Agricola, Albouystown, etc. They have been used and are being encouraged by the black right-wing to cause mayhem, make Guyana “unmanageable and “ungovernable”. When people see African Guyanese committing these crimes and being used to instill fear and cause chaos in the society, do you not understand that they would associate them with criminal activity? You cannot blame the government or Indians for that.

If you care to respond to this letter, please don’t go blaming the present government for the high crime rate among African Guyanese. This was the case under Burnham and Hoyte as well, and Indians were the victims then also. Take the time to look at structural, cultural, and political influences within the black community, as explanations for this phenomenon.

It is the same whether you look at Indians and Africans in Trinidad or Fiji or Uganda or South Africa. We must have the wherewithal to do an honest analysis instead of looking to blame others for our problems. Only then can we begin to solve them.
Yours faithfully,
Mohan Singh