LD Persaud

Change is the tick tock, tick tock present in all beings and things. Natural change needs neither battery nor coil-springs to power it. It is the intrinsic component in the nature of things. It is because of this inherent perpetual characteristic of change that beings and things exist, continue to exist, or become extinct.

Science establishes that matter is in continuous motion. From an expanse as vast as the universe where the planets never stop rotating on their axis and orbiting their suns, or as sub-microscopic as the electrons in every atom perpetually orbiting their nuclei, change is eternal. Some may suggest that when a body lies still, it is at rest. In fact, as we think of that body resting, it is actually in relative perpetual motion, perpetual change. The globe on which the body appears to be at rest is in fact eternally rotating on it axis and orbiting the sun at the same time; hence that body that appears to be resting is in continuous motion with the globe. The walls of the house in which we live, or any place where we happen to be, are constantly changing; they are subjected to the same eternal motion, tick tock, tick tock: it is ever changing. They all fly through space with our rotating globe and simultaneously the electrons in their atoms and molecules are in incessant motion. We do not tend to notice the change because it is gradual. The natural change in our surroundings is recognized when it accumulates in time and becomes relatively obvious to someone who sees it on a daily basis.

Beings and things are in a constant cycle of decay and renewal; the atoms and molecules that constitute them have electrons that are in constant motion, effecting the change. And we as humans are no exceptions. Our material self is constantly changing similar to inanimate things. In each passing tick of time we are changing, decomposing or renewing the atoms and molecules that we are composed of. Even in death, our material constituents naturally continue to change, except in cases where the natural process is intentionally interfered with to either hasten or arrest the process of our recurrent change. In essence, change can be thought of as being the beating heart of creation, sustenance, and destruction of beings and things.

And what about thoughts, ideas and concepts? Are they too in constant motion? Yes, they too are in constant motion. At first, as time oozes by, it is not noticed, but as one looks back in time, that motion, that change similar to beings and things is recognized.

Things are not what they used to be and never will be. Even identical twins have differing opinions, thoughts, ideas, etc. Oftentimes, one is inclined to say today, ‘in the good old days’. Usually by that one means the days one once knew as being better than today. Inevitably, someone in the future will refer to today as ‘the good old days’. Every minute, societies around the globe are generations after generations in a multitude of languages uttering ‘in the good old days’. Today is not yesterday. Today will not be tomorrow; neither will this week be last or next week, nor this month the last or the next month, and so on. Over time, unique eras are successively born, mature, die and replaced.

The progress, stagnation or decline of a society is directly proportional to the change, or the resistance to change in the collective thoughts of that particular society. Every existing society continuously recognizes its shortcomings, makes an assessment and implements or delays a change for better or for worse. Essentially, the recognition, assessment and implementation or delay of the inevitable change are largely in the hands of the leaders of a society. Politicians are by a mile the primary leaders of societies, and consequently, their personal motivation to lead is what will implement a change for better of worse as times change. Dedicated leaders are motivated by pure love for life; their ultimate desire is to change the whole of his or her society for the better, irrespective of what manifest dangers stand in the way, while an opportunistic leader is motivated by intense love and hate – to change his or her society to benefit only those whom he or she loves at the expense of others he or she hates, and shies away from unfavorable, but inevitable dangers. The key here is what motivates the leader. Therefore, the changes, (progress, stagnation or decline,) that occur in a society reflect the personal drives of its leaders. It is a grave sadness that a multitude of societies are subjected to the whims and fancies of opportunistic leaderships.

It follows that the thoughts of the leaders in a society are constantly changing. Their changing thoughts affect the natural process of changes that are a benefit or are a detriment to their societies. All normal human beings agree that society must not be held ransom by opportunists, but by dedicated leaders. And since man is in a constant changing mode, the multitudes of societies must be educated to change the opportunists, or else the opportunists will create a heaven for his supporters and a hell for others.

Thoughts not subjected to renewal with changing times are called dogmas. When one looks around the globe, it is easy to recognize societies whose leaders practice dogmas. These dogmatic leaders are refusing to accept changes to thought, whether voluntary or involuntary. And believe it or not, these types of leaders since time immemorial are ceaselessly investigating means to delay their personal inevitable biological changes. Look around our ancient and modern world, and one hardly misses statues and monuments built by dogmatic leaders for themselves.

When a society suppresses the natural growth of thoughts by dogmas, the suppressed thoughts will naturally germinate like a seed covered by obstacles in its growth path. A new suppressed thought, like the seed covered by obstacles, will naturally and relentlessly be pushed by the forces of nature to change the existing society. It will overcome its obstacles and flourish, just like seeds reach out for sunlight and prosper in spite of obstacles. If the new thought succumbs to the obstacles, its origin(s) will continue to furnish a replica for the dogmatic thwarting grounds until the natural process of these thoughts are allowed to flourish, until such time when they themselves will be replaced.

A free and progressive society is one that is open to the germination and nurturing of fresh thoughts for the benefit of all in that society. These societies enjoy prosperity and tranquility. In nations where new thoughts are suppressed, those nations progressively retrogress, and the resistance to changes breeds violence, decay and anarchy.

For Guyana to move ahead and prosper for all its peoples, its leaders will have to accept that change is inevitable. They must be prepared to assess the ‘Guyanese’ dogma of racial politics and implement changes for the benefit of the entire nation. The present political dogmas in Guyana have too many people under its spell, and it is beckoning for change. And change it will, but one thing is uncertain: will the change be for the better, or the worse? Each leader in present Guyana has an unwritten obligation to represent the entire nation and change the dogma of racial politics.

Every leader in Guyana who aspires political power must first and foremost transform himself/herself from an opportunist to a dedicated leader, that is, whether in or out of power, the primary goal is to direct all his/her energies for the benefit of the entire nation, and not just a select portion. This sounds strange, but many leaders in Guyana, particularly Desmond Hoyte, cannot stand the meaning of the word ‘democracy;’ i.e., demos that means people and kratos that means power. They are utterly repulsed by the mere utterance of the word ‘democracy’. Essentially, when translated the words joined in its basic concept mean the power of the majority of people and the acceptance of the minority that the majority has the power. The minority, in trying to change its status from minority to majority, must be objectively critical of the majority in the interests of each citizen. It is when each citizen sees the minority as a force representing the interests of the entire nation that democracy will catapult its status from minority to majority. There is no other humane way of achieving political power.

One change in the present Guyana that is worthwhile is a change from the Peoples New Constitution, or PNC constitution, to a constitution that represents the entire nation. The PNC constitution was/is illegal because it was enacted by a rigged referendum in 1978 and was designed to accommodate the failing health of Forbes Burnham. The amendments to it in the mid nineties are meaningless and have not solved the racial question. Guyana needs a radical constitution which has to be unique and designed to severely limit racial bias at elections time.

History teaches us the PNC/R will not accept power sharing with the PPP/Civic. It wants the absolute power, and is presently engaging in partisan and opportunistic politics, and other violent strategies that will defeat democracy to attain power. On the other hand, the PPP/Civic has always been willing to share power. Cheddi Jagan wrote to Forbes Burnham on June 6, 1964 to establish a coalition government when racial strife engulfed the nation, to which Burnham refused. Cheddi Jagan, an example of a dedicated leader throughout his political career, always made repeated calls for a National Patriotic Front and Government. He stood against the dangers and always put Guyana ahead of the PPP. The PNC leadership to this day remains opportunistic by disposition and cannot therefore heed those calls. It is logical therefore that a constitution espousing any coalition government with the PPP/Civic and the PNC/R is unrealistic. It must be made clear at this point that any attempt to install separate governments for each of the three counties as espoused by Ravi Dev in his version of a constitution will ultimately lead to smaller areas of land dealing with the same problem: racial politics.

It is time for constitutional change in Guyana. Perhaps people in Guyana can start by changing the way the government is formed. It has to start somewhere and very soon. One suggestion I have is that in a nutshell the constitution could be worked out so that the head of the government is a candidate elected by a majority vote at a general election. The head of the government (a Prime Minister or President) then selects his deputy and ministers from the best suitably qualified elected Members of Parliament. The best suitably qualified elected Member of Parliament for a ministerial or deputy post does not have to be a member of his (the Prime Minister’s or President’s) party, just simply the best Guyana has to offer for the post. Provisions could be made for suitably qualified technocrats in case there is no suitable qualified elected Member of Parliament. A system of government like this could change the way Guyana’s Parliament operates, which is no big deal. The important thing is to effect a change in the country so that the dogma of racial politics is systematically dismantled in the interest of all.

I am sure the majority of people in Guyana will love to see an eventual end to racial politics in Guyana. They must not be hindered by a minority who will desperately invoke fears to resist a change for a better political climate. The consciousness of the political leaders in Guyana must awake from its dogmatic slumber and take a positive step in that direction. Suffice to say, it is not easy and requires dedicated leaders. Guyana like all things is changing daily and I call on all leaders to quit partisan politics and immediately begin to build a Guyana for Guyanese.