Sunday, April 30, 2006

Stella Says…I want to see a competition between Portia Simpson Miller and Keith Hernandez

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 30 April 2006)

Female leaders sure have been busy this week in the Caribbean. In Trinidad, Kamla Persad-Bissessar was appointed as the new leader of the opposition party, United National Congress (UNC) after the former Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday, was imprisoned for not being as forthcoming as possible to T & T’s Integrity Commission.

Also in Trinidad this week, Jamaica’s new female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, made her first official visit since assuming her new position last month. She and Trinidadian Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, reached an agreement that Trinidad will supply Jamaica with a long-term supply of natural gas.

Meanwhile, back in the states, a former baseball player for my favourite team, the Cardinals, let his mouth move faster than his brain. Keith Hernandez, who is now a sport commentator for the New York Mets, was seriously upset when he saw a woman in the San Diego Padre’s dugout last Sunday.

He said, “Who is the girl in the dugout, with the long hair? What’s going on here? You have got to be kidding me. Only player personnel in the dugout.” Little did caveman commentator Keith know that “the girl with long hair” was the Padres’ massage therapist and a legitimate part of the team’s training staff.

In an attempt to apologise, Hernandez only fell further into the misogynistic hole. He said, "I won't say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout. You know I am only teasing. I love you gals out there -- always have."

Sure Keith, as long as we don’t step a foot anywhere near your precious boys club sanctuaries, right? It is a good thing that the new female Prime Minister of Jamaica and the new leader of the opposition party in Trinidad didn’t have to ask Keith for permission before they decided to become political leaders.

Should we blame Keith for being a caveman? Or is he merely a product of a sexist environment? Did he learn this behaviour from his fellow team mates or did it start much earlier at home? A book entitled, “GenderSpeak” by Diana K. Ivy and Phil Backlund, explores such behaviour and its origin.

The book maintains, “The family is by far the most significant agent of socialization. Gender differences in treatment of female and male children begins before birth. For example, parental preferences for one sex over the other is strong.” In fact, the book says that most couples prefer to have a male child over a female child.

How the family treats the different genders is very obvious too. Studies have shown that boys are expected to be independent and develop wings to explore the world while girls are to be interdependent and develop roots to stay at home. I suppose this is why Keith had such a difficult time coming to grips with a female in a baseball dugout.

Poor Keith, it seems no one has told him that women have wings now too. In fact, women have always had wings, but society just kept them clipped so the more restless ladies couldn’t fly the coop while their husbands were off exploring the wonders of the world.

My daughter just finished her final paper for an English class at college. She decided to write on Infanticide in China. Her ten-page paper explained the need for China to institute a policy for population control if it wanted to be able to feed and clothe all of the people.

I don’t think anyone could have foreseen the outcome of China’s One Child policy, but once again it was the females who paid a very hefty price. Male children are valued very highly in this culture since they are the ones who carry on the family honour and support the family when the parents grow old; therefore, since the family can only have one child, many females are killed before or at birth. Some are shipped off to orphanages too.

When a female child does get to grow up in China, she will take her husband’s name and all the money she earns will go to his family. This is why female children are not as desirable as male children. GenderSpeak quoted a Chinese proverb that resonates this socialisation, “Raising a daughter is like weeding another man’s garden.”

However, after killing so many baby girls, China now has another very serious problem. As I read my daughter’s paper I found that China now has far to many men and far too few women. It seems young single men with no hopes of getting a wife and starting a family are now forming gangs and wreaking havoc in the nation.

Further, men from rural villages are kidnapping women from the cities and taking them back to their village as a wife. Some women are even being sold. Therefore, women are suffering at every stage.

First they are treated as insignificant in a patriarchal culture that was imposed on them, then they are killed at or before birth simply because they were born a female, and then when society realises it needs women to reproduce, they are stolen away from their families and friends to be the wife of some stranger from a village.

How ironic that the very man who has to steal a woman from the city because there are not enough women, will then turn around and kill his daughter because he wants a male child to carry on the family honour. If you ask me, there is no honour in any of this.

Has anyone else picked up on the fact that women are being treated like a piece of property instead of the intelligent and capable beings they really are? Women! You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. I bet that is something like what caveman Keith Hernandez would say.

Meanwhile, back in the Caribbean, women are taking their rightful place in society as leaders. I would just love to see caveman Keith try to tell Jamaica’s new Prime Minister that women do not belong in politics (traditionally, another boys club). And I would love to serve as the commentator for that competition. I bet I know who would win that game.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stella Says…I would never, ever hurt another person

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 27 April 2006)

I was absolutely shocked to see a letter to the Editor in the Wednesday issue of Kaieteur News that associated me with some sort of conspiracy of wanting to hurt the President of Guyana. I emphatically reject such nonsense as pure hogwash.

The letter said, "My concerns began to increase when I saw Stella Ramsaroop and her group; the crowd along with all the opposition parties circle around the President, his Government, and the PPP/C."

After also including Adam Harris in this baseless accusation, the writer then said, "These people want what they want, and will stop at nothing. What I mean is that they will do anything, and I mean anything to get their way."

First of all, I would never hurt so much as a caterpillar, much less a human being. Secondly, I do not associate with anyone who deserves to be suspected of even considering such drivel. The Guyanese with whom I associate are respectable citizens and good people who would never think of hurting another person.

However, the most alarming aspect of this letter is the fact that it was ever written in the first place. Every single person mentioned in this letter, directly or indirectly, are guilty of nothing more than pointing out the weaknesses of the government and challenging the nation's leaders to a higher standard.

Never, I repeat never, has there ever been even one word from my letter writer friends or myself that would give a rational person a reason to think the President's safety is in jeopardy. I may not like the government's incompetence, complacency and big houses from small salaries, but I believe the best way to deal with these shortcomings is in the voting booth.

Furthermore, the party that wins the majority vote in the next elections can expect the same type of scrutiny from me, which proves that my interests are not partisan. In fact, the PNC/R and the AFC (as well as other parties) have also been the subjects of my columns, more often in a disapproving light than otherwise.

Such blind devotion, the kind that produces such outrageous letters as this one, comes from people who do not understand the need for the media, as well as ordinary people, to keep a watch on the government and point out irregularities so the people are constantly informed of what their leaders are doing.

It is the responsibility of the people to keep the government in check. The people are the ones who give their leaders the authority to function in their official roles. If the leaders abuse their position of power, the people are then responsible for removing them from their positions.

I have nothing personally against anyone in the PPP. I do not even know these leaders on a personal level and do not judge their personal lives. I judge their actions as government officials and the extent to which they effectively execute their roles as leaders.

I am sure many of these leaders are all nice people who also want the best for Guyana. However, actions speak louder than words and when it comes to governing, words are often empty. A government is therefore judged by its effectiveness in dealing with the overall management of the nation.

Often a government is judged by how it responds to crises as well, such as floods and crime sprees. Such events, and the overall management of the country, are the basis by which I evaluate any government. No government deserves blind loyalty.

Blind loyalty is a sure way to end up with corrupt leaders. If they think they can get away with anything and the people will still vote for them, then you can bet your bottom dollar that corruption will overtake even the best of intentions.

Which is why the people have a responsibility to keep the government on their toes. When I write columns that criticise the PPP or any other party, I am not threatening them physically. I would never, ever do such a thing. My columns serve no other purpose than to point out the obvious and to hold the leaders accountable to the people who put them in their official positions.

Let me put it this way. I have never met the President, but my husband had a brief encounter with him once. My husband went on and on about how nice Jagdeo was and how genuine he seemed. The President made quite an impression on my husband. Since I respect my husband's judgement, I cannot help but think Jagdeo is probably a nice guy.

However, being a nice guy does not make a person a good leader – just look at George Bush if you need anymore proof. Bush's approval ratings are at an all time low and continue to decrease with each poll. If such a poll were taken in Guyana, where would Jagdeo's rating fall?

I would venture to say that Jagdeo and Bush would be running a close race on who's country was more unhappy with their president's accomplishments over the last year. So if a leader is not doing his job and the country is not progressing, should the media and letter writers applaud their incompetence?

The long and short of it is this, democracy demands that people talk about their leaders and discuss whether those leaders should be allowed to continue in their roles. This does not equate to intending physical harm on the leaders.

We are civilised and educated people, not cave people who resort to violence when we disagree with someone.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stella Says…For once, Guyanese should be true to themselves

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 25 April 2006)

Over the weekend 80,000 people in Brussels took to the streets in a silent march in protest of a young man who was killed on April 12 when he refused to give his MP3 player to some thugs with a knife. The boy was stabbed five times.

Imagine that 80,000 people marched in protest of one young man – of whom many of the protestors did not even know. According to an article from the BBC on this event, some footage of the robbery and murder suggests that the alleged criminals were of North African descent. However, the mother of the slain boy said in a statement that she refuses to make her son's murder a racial issue.

The article also said the mother told a Belgian newspaper, "Don't ask me to hate all Arabs. The youth that killed my son are thugs but don't generalise." Family members had requested that the protest be a silent march without banners or any signs of political affiliation.

And that is exactly what happened, a peaceful march of 80,000 people in protest of a senseless killing over an MP3 player. The world has taken note of this event because of its large numbers and the respectful restraint that honours the death of a young man. Surely a minister of the government in Guyana deserves no less. Surely the dead from the Agricola massacre deserve nothing less than to be honoured in such a way.

When a drug dealer or criminal kills someone else who is involved their shady business, we tend to just shake our heads in sorrow because it is understood that if you live by the sword, then you will die by the sword.

However, when an innocent person or a good person dies at the hand of one of these miscreants, we are outraged at the injustice and have a drive to see the travesty redeemed by society. Such is the case with many of the murders that have taken place in the last few weeks.

I do not know the identities of these murderers anymore than the next person and I try to avoid speculation because nothing good comes from unfounded accusations. However, I can tell you this much, there is someone who is playing games with the minds of the Guyanese people and they are using the precious lives of your neighbours to accomplish his/her goal.

I completely admire the restraint of the mother from Brussels. Her wise council could have possibly saved even more lives from a violent death and it was clear that she did not want her son's memory to be connected to such brutish behaviour. The march in Brussels accomplished its goal without more violence.

Guyana would do well to follow the example of this mother and practice restraint as it honours one of its leaders.

I wrote an article not too long ago using the examples of how protests in France and the U.S . have changed the previously established direction of their respective governments and suggested that such an event could possibly help Guyanese to get the attention of their own government. Freddie shot this idea down and said it could never work.

Likewise, another Guyanese recently told me that no matter how much the people want to change their current predicament, they would never vote outside of their race. I have to admit that after this particular conversation, I felt defeated and hopeless for a while. If the people refuse to change, then what hope is there for Guyana?

However, my typically optimistic personality has been restored and I once again re-affirm that I believe the people can and will change. I may be naïve, but I am certainly not ignorant of the many obstacles that stand in the way of accomplishing this goal. I do have one important asset on my side – reality.

The reality is that unless Guyana changes its voting patterns and political expectations, it will continue to read headlines of death, crime and corruption. The reality is that if Guyana ever expects to have a healthy economy, it will have to break up the current political monopoly and vote in a mixture of parties with varying political interests that represent the issues of the constituency – not the race.

I know the Constitution must change too, but I simply do not see this happening in an effective manner as long as one party is given majority rule again. I still refuse to believe that Guyana cannot overcome its racial barriers and political devotions to demand a competent governing system.

If 80,000 Guyanese showed up for a silent march, without banners or political affiliation, the world would take notice that the people are demanding change and respect the restraint that was necessary to organise such an event.

What other choice does Guyana have? To trust the lives of the people to the current political dinosaurs? That has obviously not worked thus far, so why should we think it would work in the future? Should Guyanese just hope that the criminal elements will decide to just up and leave one day and take all of the murders and corruption with them? That too is unrealistic.

So although I might be a bit naïve to maintain my optimism that Guyana can choose a better life over one more tiny taste of revenge, I believe that the people's desire for a good life (without murder, crime and corruption) will overpower the complacency and misplaced political loyalties.

I believe the best way to honour the death of the Minister, the people of Agricola and Waddell is to completely refuse to allow these unseen criminal forces to play with the minds of the people anymore and to reject the gut-reaction to remain loyal to failing political parties. For once, Guyanese should be true to themselves.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Stella Says…Has Guyana lost its will to fight?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 23 April 2006)

This past week I was referred to a medical specialist because of a pain in my stomach. As the nurse performed her standard check-in procedure and repeated my last name, she asked in a West Indian accent whether my husband was Indian.

I told her yes and he is from Guyana, then I asked where she was from. Her eyes lit up and she chimed, “Trinidad!” From that point we talked a mile a minute as she took my blood pressure, asked if I was allergic to any drugs and created the chart for the doctor.

As she took my pulse, she noted the gold bracelet I was wearing and said, “Girl, you are even wearing your gold. Good for you!” There is a distinct difference between gold from Guyana and gold from the States. The quality of the gold from Guyana is so much higher that it can be seen in the colour alone.

In its arrogance, America often thinks it produces the best of everything, but this ignorance is never more obvious than in the sale of their sub-par gold. My new nurse friend from Trinidad was well aware of this fact and took note that my jewellery was clearly not from the States.

Our conversation then took an unexpected turn. After telling me about her own beautiful gold jewellery, she said, “Those Guyanese are rich, you know.” She then proceeded to tell me her opinion of rich Guyana as I surveyed the lady to see if I could determine how long she had been in the States.

She had yet to shift from her island mentality and reminisced of “home” with the same longing I see in the eyes of every single Diaspora I have ever met. What really struck me though was her high opinion of Guyanese. I tried to determine if she was only trying to appease my sensibilities since my family is Guyanese or if she was being sincere.

I decided she was sincere we continued our talk as we walked to the examination room. After she had prepped me to see the doctor, she hurried off to attend to the other waiting patients. As I waited for the doctor, I contemplated the high view my new friend held of Guyanese – a view most Guyanese do not even hold of themselves.

I had been pondering a recent article in Kaieteur News about new guidelines being set for sporting and entertainment events to keep them from getting out of hand. I have to say that I am impressed at Minister Teixeira’s tenacious spirit. Like so many other women leaders today, she is proving her worth as a leader.

However, as I read the reasons for the newly imposed rules, I couldn’t help but wonder how the average Guyanese woman would feel about the incidents that caused these new requirements to be imposed.

The article from April 20, said the events in question seemed to promote drug use and the degradation of women. The events were also suspected channels for money laundering and there even seemed to be guns shot into the air at one event. This information caused me to wonder how a female participant would feel at such an event.

Moreover, I could not help but wonder if this is how Guyanese now see themselves. Do these out-of-control events portray a smaller version of the country at large? Does Guyana have any respect left for herself? Does anyone in the country still share the same lofty view of Guyana with that of my Trinidadian nurse?

It seems to me that many people are giving up on Guyana. If this is so, I believe this year’s floods and Waddell’s murder set this sentiment in motion, but it was the Agricola massacre pushed many over the edge. On all three accounts, the government’s lack of action was akin to an abusive parent who treats his/her child with disrespect and disdain.

Last year, the government did not take the necessary steps to prevent repeat flooding, which sent a clear message to the people that their property and livelihoods did not matter. Then Waddell was gunned down and the callousness with which his violent death was handled once again reaffirmed the government’s disregard for the people.

However, the Agricola massacre topped it all. No police. No help. No justice. No excuses. The message could not have been clearer if someone had painted it red on the top floor of the Pegasus, the government did not care about the people who were murdered and terrorised. In the end, the people seem to have lost their will to fight for a better life.

Just like an abused child, I believe the people of Guyana are starting to believe that they are worthless and undeserving of anything good in life. It seems they are resigned to live in this abusive environment and have accepted the fact that their own leaders do not care about their welfare.

However, if Guyana gives up, then it will forever live under an uncaring government – whether it is the PPP or another party. Much like a little girl who simply accepts that she is worthless because an abusive parent has crushed her spirit, she will often expect the same type of behaviour from other relationships and accept more abuse without a fight.

Let me tell you from experience though - you have to fight back. The incessant murders, the rampant crime and the coarse behaviour at entertainment events are not what Guyana is really like deep down. It is almost as if the nation is having an identity crisis because the government has chose to neglect its responsibilities.

An abuse victim has to take back their life and decide they deserve something better than disrespect and abuse if they are ever going to function in a productive relationship. Likewise, Guyana has to take back the reigns of government and decide she deserves better than an abusive and neglectful government.

I wish every Guyanese could have heard my nurse as she praised them. Maybe then everyone could believe – even just a little - that they deserve a better life. Don’t give in to the feelings of hopelessness, Guyana. Don’t lose your fighting spirit – or you may well lose everything.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Stella Says…Peter Ramsaroop has finally won his first debate with me

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 20 April 2006)

It is not often that I am swayed in my opinion once I have made up my mind about something. Although I try to keep an open mind about various social, political and economic issues, I tend to have very strong foundational ideas that predetermine my position on any given topic.

Such is the position to which I had previously committed concerning the timely execution of the general elections in Guyana. I had maintained that democracy should take precedence in this matter by guaranteeing the people their right to vote by the established target date. However, I have changed my mind. I now believe that by forcing the elections before a voter list can be verified would actually hinder democracy instead of advance it.

A couple weeks ago my brother-in-law, Peter Ramsaroop, was in town for a couple of days and as we had dinner one night we discussed this issue in depth. I shot every possible suggestion I had for conducting the elections by the deadline at him and he easily countered every single one of them. This is impressive for my brother-in-law, since I can usually win debates on subjects for which I have such strong feelings.

I suppose it is necessary to mention that Peter and I do not agree on a whole lot when it comes to politics – not on American politics and not on Guyanese politics. When it comes to American politics, he is very conservative and I am very liberal. Peter thinks George Bush is a great president and I think he is one of the worst things to ever happen to the country.

We are often at odds over Guyanese politics as well, but I know his heart for Guyana cannot be questioned even if I do not agree with him on a particular subject matter. Which is why I simply could not understand how he could support the call for a boycott and postponement of the general elections since I viewed it as a complete affront to the rights of the people.

However, as he countered each and every one of my suggestions as to how the elections could be held regardless of the current situation, it quickly became clear that my sweet brother-in-law was winning his first debate with me – and I was not all that happy about it either. I am quite a sore looser.

I was not about to allow this conversation alone sway my stance on this issue, so I decided to reconsider some of the arguments by others on this subject and attempted to see these opinions in light of the information Peter had shared with me. This information was not anything I had not already considered, but he helped me see the situation as it really is in Guyana.

As an independent observer, it is difficult at times to fully grasp the intricacies of details that surround Guyanese politics. When I apply the basic democratic ideology that has historically been the foundation by which most nations employ a system of governance that is ideally people focused, I understand the basis under which Guyana's government should behave in order to adhere to this ideology.

This allows me to respond to any policies and performances that would undermine the democratic system to which the government has sworn to uphold. Above all, I believe the people are the ones who should determine the directions of the nation and that government officials are merely the tools by which the people implement and enforce their will.

I have also lived in several developing countries and I am therefore well aware of the convenient loopholes that allow government officials to twist the system to cater to their own selfish agenda – through legislation, backroom deals and economic stipends – all at the expense of the very people who trusted them with such a lofty position in the first place. This is also very true in America; it's just easier to get away with these criminal acts in smaller countries.

However, Guyana is a far more interesting study in politics than any other country I have ever encountered. Just when I think I have heard it all and seen it all, something else happens that utterly blows my mind and sends me back to the books for more study. Which is exactly what happened with this situation about how I felt about a speedy execution of the elections.

My previous stance on this issue was primarily based on the fact that the people should be allowed their opportunity to decide who will govern them – no matter what. I now believe there is no way that a fair election can be held without a verified list of voters.

Further, the current electoral system is seriously flawed. I have believed this all along, but thought it would be possible to conduct at least one more election first and reform the system afterward. However, the recent upset within GECOM has made it clear that partisan politics also rules even this commission, which is supposed to operate on a technical basis and abstain from any overt political agenda.

The credibility of GECOM is now highly dubious, especially since transparency is being questioned and the commissioners who pulled out were opposition representatives, creating a distinct taste of party devotion within a commission that should be non-partisan.

It will no doubt be a difficult task for GECOM to recapture the confidence of the people. However, if it can deliver a verifiable list and re-establish itself as a judicious commission, then perhaps the people of Guyana will be able to choose its leaders with the surety that their will is being done and not the will of power-hungry politicians.

So I begrudgingly give my brother-in-law a nod of defeat (though solely on this issue) and come to terms with the fact that Guyana is not prepared to carry out its elections in August. Too bad, I was looking forward to seeing the people choose a government that would spend more money on the nation's infrastructure than it does on big houses for party loyalists.

Then again, the closer we get to flood season, the more likely the national frustration level will compel a vote against the current impotent government. In fact, I'd love to bet the PPP Peeping Tom $100 that the flooding situation is not resolved when the heavy rains start again in December. How about a friendly wager, Peeps?

Email: Stellasays[at]

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stella Says…As if rape and abuse are not enough, women cannot even trust their nurses

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 18 April 2006)

As I read the Kaieteur News article from Sunday entitled, “Maternity ward patients’ horror stories,” my feelings progressed from grief to anger to absolute outrage at how women were treated by the very medical professionals they trusted to safely help bring their babies into this world.

To say that I am appalled by this disgusting lack of professionalism is putting it very mildly. My mother-in-law’s mother died in a similar way over 60 years ago. She had delivered her baby, but fell out of the bed and bled to death before anyone even knew what had happened.

My mother-in-law and her younger brothers were then raised by their father and other family members, but what they needed was their mother. However, that was decades ago and one would assume that no such tragedies would be taking place today. Or at least very, very, very seldom.

Instead, a husband writes a letter to the Editor describing the horrific condition of how his wife gave birth on the floor because no nurse would come to her aid. If that was not bad enough, when the situation was brought to the nurse’s attention (the very person who should have known the situation before anyone else), she gave the husband an attitude and tried to act as if the couple had done something wrong! You have got to be kidding me!

There is no way on Earth that any nurse would have been allowed to skip out on the delivery of one of my children, much less treat me with such abhorrent disrespect. That nurse would be finding him/herself jobless or the hospital would have a lawsuit – or both.

I would just love for one person to write a letter in response to this column in support of the nurses. Is there anyone who can explain to me why these nurses are sleeping on the job while women and babies die during childbirth?

Are the poor nurses tired and need their beauty sleep? Are they working two jobs and can’t keep their eyes open? Are they working double shifts and need their rest? I don’t want to hear even one excuse because nothing – I repeat, nothing – justifies this type of incompetence in the medical profession.

If they cannot carry out their job with efficiency, then fire them and bring in some nurses who will deliver babies instead of sleep. I had someone send me an email recently saying there is a significant lack of good professions from which to choose in Guyana. It would therefore seem to me that a demand for nurses would surely be a welcome sight for those entering the workforce.

For goodness sake, all these nurses had to do was attend to these women giving birth and be there when the babies are born so they don’t fall on the floor. If the police are not expected to lay down their lives to protect to citizens of Guyana during a shootout, does that mean that the nurses are allowed to sleep while new citizens die under their watch too?

When is Guyana going to wake up and realise she deserves better than this?

When I read this article on how women and children are dying because nurses are sleeping on the job, I had just finished another article about the lack of a facility for female drug addicts in Guyana.

It would seem that healthcare for women in general is not much different than it was when my husband’s maternal grandmother died under “medical supervision.” Medical supervision my foot! Those inept nurses might be expected to supervise women in labour, but they are actually getting paid to sleep while their patients die.

Every single nurse who has taken even a short nap while they are supposed to be caring for a patient should be ashamed of himself or herself. Further, any supervisor who has stumbled upon a sleeping nurse and not severely reprimanded the person should be fired instead.

It is bad enough that women are subjected to abuse and rape, treated as second-class citizens and expected to wait on men hand and foot, but to be left alone during such a crucial time when someone is being paid to care for her is simply inexcusable.

Worse yet, those lazy nurses are probably mostly women themselves. If a woman cannot depend on another woman to help during childbirth, then where can women turn? There is no way any such hospital would get one dollar from me under such appalling circumstances.

This issue is of great import given the fact that Guyana’s most precious commodity, the babies, is at risk in the hands of these incompetent nurses. I would go so far as to say that such gross negligence should be illegal if it is not.

When otherwise healthy women and children die under the watch of sleeping nurses, how can anyone deny that a crime has been committed? Certainly someone should be held accountable for the deaths of these mothers and babies.

Moms and dads, let your nurse know right up front that if you find them sleeping or if they do not respond when they are needed, then you will seek action from the hospital. Otherwise, you could be the next victim of a sleepy nurse.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Stella Says…I admit I'm a geek, but are you an alien?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 16 April 2006)

If you have not yet deduced my geekish tendencies, this article will definitely be the icing on the cake. Although I do not wear a pocket protector like the classic nerd or snort through my nose; I certainly do love books, I am completely fascinated with sci-fi and would rather have a lengthy conversation on the geological makeup of an area than the latest gossip.

There you have it – I’m a geek. However, don’t think for even a second that geeks can’t groove at the drop of a hat. I know it sounds almost paradoxical, but smart people can be groovy too. Well, except for Sweet and Sensitive Freddie. He might very well be one of the smartest people in Guyana, but his groove factor is highly questionable.

Perhaps he lost his groove about the same time he lost what little marbles he had left. I suspect this all took place around the same time as the UG fiasco last year. Whenever it was that he lost his groove, it was indeed a sad day for the nation, but I see no reason for everyone else to stop grooving.

As I was saying before, my veiled geekish tendencies will be evident in the reference I intend to use to make my point for today’s column. All of the other geeks will understand my example in no time at all, but I will go into further detail for those of you who spend more time grooving and less time watching stupid science fiction shows.

There are some episodes of a sci-fi show called “Star Trek – The Next Generation” that introduce a species of robotically enhanced humanoids called the Borg. It is the sole purpose of the Borg to assimilate every single human into its cube-like community.

The good people of the Federation (a universe-wide alliance of people) fight desperately to prevent their assimilation by this very formidable foe and in the end are able to scare it off. However, the threat of return by the highly intelligent and ever-evolving Borg constantly looms large and humans across the universe fear that one day they will be converted into a robot that is void of feelings and conscience.

Likewise, I fear that Guyana is being assimilated. Not by the Borg, but by a force just as cold and heartless. It seems as if one by one the people of Guyana are becoming acclimated to a brutal climate of murder, corruption and crime.

This devastating atmosphere is far more dangerous than any alien invasion because the destructive force is coming from within the nation in such a gradual process that it feels natural and few realise there is cause for alarm. If some alien spaceship landed in the middle of Georgetown today, every single Guyanese would fight tooth and nail to keep from being taken as a prisoner. This is not so with the force that is now assimilating the nation.

The enemy that is wreaking havoc on the nation’s morals lives next door or down the street. The enemy might even be in the mirror. Guyana has long lived with corrupt leaders – and that distorted leadership is now taking the rest of the nation down too.

When a dire situation forces the people of a nation have to violate their conscience to survive, it is truly a sad thing. However, when that situation continues for weeks, months, years and decades, desperation begins to set in and the conscience acclimates to the new environment – no matter how ghastly the circumstances.

I had someone tell me that the very next day after that horrid shootout in Agricola last month, life went on as usual. This tells me that Guyana is just as acclimated to such violence as war zones like Iraq.

The tragedy in all of this is that since this alien force of murder has slowly assimilated the people, there was no public outcry against such brazen behaviour. There was very little said about the lack of protection from the state and it is almost as if the entire episode has been forgotten even though justice has not been served on those murderers.

There are some things in life for which we should fight – like for life itself. However, it seems Guyana has resigned itself to this environment of murder, corruption and crime. Do you ever stop to wonder how the nation became acclimated to this type of atmosphere? Moreover, do you want your children to live in a country that accepts murder as a way of daily life?

The ironic part of this assimilation is that Guyana is such a religious country. I cannot help but wonder how these forces of evil took over the better senses of a godly people. How long will it be before the people start to wake up and realise they have been assimilated by an alien force of destruction?

We can only hope Guyana is able to react more quickly than the proverbial frog in a pot of slowly boiling water. The frog is being cooked and he doesn’t even know because the temperature is changing so slowly that he is adjusting to the incremental increases. He could easily jump out, but he doesn’t realise he is in mortal danger.

Will the people of Guyana realise they need to take some drastic action before it is too late? Or will they just keep adjusting to the incremental increases of murder, crime and corruption? One thing is for sure - Guyana is definitely in a pot of boiling water.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stella Says…America has a double standard on Women’s Issues

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 13 April 2006)

Last week I received an email from Sean Adams, a frequent letter writer, who pointed out that although several countries around the world are voting women into high (if not the highest) governmental positions, America has yet to vote a woman into the office of President.

Mr. Adams feels this is a double standard by the United States – and quite frankly, I agree. The U.S. loves to talk about women’s issues and encourage other countries to protect women from the many atrocities the gender has suffered (and is still suffering). However, when it comes to electing a woman to lead the country, America is - to some degree - still in the Dark Ages.

While there has been significant progress made for women in the last few decades and a healthy majority of the population view women as intelligent and capable, there is still a sizeable group of Americans who believe a woman should be barefoot and pregnant. Translation: Keep the ignorant woman out of the man’s way while he makes all of the important decisions.

I grew up in this type of environment so I know all too well the means by which this group keeps its women under the masculine thumb. Most of these thinkers are religious people, hence one of my biggest issues with the church. The primary reason for the continued survival of this type of thinking stems from the fact that the dominant religions in the world still practice their archaic belief systems that practically enslave the female gender.

It seems to me that the men alone have not been doing such a good job in these leadership roles. Yet they still refuse to ask for help anymore than they will ask for directions when they are lost. But help is exactly what they need from the women. The good news is that I believe America may very well have a woman for its next president.

Mr. Adams is right that there is a double standard in this regard, but the hypocrisy is not an American issue – it is a man issue. I would venture that the same percentage of men worldwide who resist the notions of feminine leadership probably closely mirror that of American men.

Therefore, the question is how do we help these last few cavemen move beyond their archaic thinking and into the 21st century. The answer is simple – we don’t. This is not the kind of lesson that can be imposed on any culture; it is a matter of allowing them the time to evolve their belief system to catch up with the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, it seems that the men of Guyana are making huge strides in their thinking about women. Just this week a letter to the Editor from Wendell P. George said, “All the women heads of states over the years have shown they were and are quite capable of making decisions that their male counterparts would have shirked.”

It is because of this balanced thinking by men (and women) that Guyana has had a female president while America has yet to rise to this high standard. However, Guyana has a double standard too.

Guyana still has so very far to go when it comes to protecting its women. Just recently, we saw how even the wife of a police officer is not exempt from brutality from her husband. When I think about all of the women who trusted this officer to protect them, it makes me furious to think about what allegedly happened to this lady by a sworn protector of society.

What is the conclusion then? More women need to take their rightful leadership place in society and reject the notions that men are somehow superior to them. Women should not wait for people like that allegedly abusive officer to change, they should make the changes in themselves and if the guy doesn’t like it, then he is history – just like his archaic thinking.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stella Says…Where are all of the biker politicians?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 11 April 2006)

In the United States, the term “biker” is used to describe a certain type of rebel. This person is usually rebelling against the social expectancies laid down by pop culture and sees his/her bike as a form of escape from the pressure to conform to society.

I have always thought of bikers as being free spirits with a touch of Steve McQueen in them - a portion of society that would never forfeit their freedom without a fight. It would seem that Guyana’s bikers share this same “rebel with a cause” spirit.

In that same spirit, I stand heart-to-heart with the bikers who took to the roads of Guyana over the weekend in a ride for peace. I applaud this group of bikers for their tenacity in making their call for peace known. They are rebelling against the cultural norms in Guyana that have become acclimated to a climate of murder, crime and constant racial strife.

These bikers are not willing to forfeit their freedom to the criminal elements without a fight and they are not about to succumb to the social expectancy to reject another race regardless of the nation’s violent past.

The peaceful co-existence, or dare I say racial harmony, sought by these bikers over the weekend is a possibility if more people joined in this pursuit. It has never been easy for any society to overcome the issues that accompany racial differences, but just like many other nations around the world, Guyana can come to a place of peace if it can only move beyond the hurt of the past.

Where were Guyana’s leaders during this noble ride for peace? That was the one big question that was glaringly evident as I read about the event. Quite frankly, the lack of participation by these leaders speaks volumes about them.

Where were the representatives from the PPP, PNCR, AFC, GAP/ROAR, GTF and all of the political and social groups that claim to be working for Guyana’s best interest?

When a joint racial effort like this presents an opportunity for the nation’s leaders to let the country know they are not going to draw their political lines along the preset racial boundaries – the leaders should jump at the chance to participate.

By playing it safe and staying away from noble efforts such as this proves their cowardice to take a stand against racial division and reveals that they are obviously more concerned about getting those preset racial boundary votes than they are about helping Guyana heal from her past.

In my opinion, leaders who curtsey to a constituency full of hate rather than support a constituency seeking peace are no leaders at all. Their silence and lack of participation in these types of events sends a strong message to the world that they themselves are not ready to heal and move the nation forward.

I especially want to know where the women leaders were during this event. Where were Deborah Osman-Backer, Bibi Shakick and Sheila Holder during this ride for peace? If they were not on a bike and making a statement for peace, then perhaps they are not the type of women I thought they were.

Ladies, you can make a difference in this country and the rest of Guyana’s women are waiting for you to be brave enough to make the changes that your male counterparts have not been able to make. You can set a whole new tone for the nation, if only you can embody the spirit of these bikers and rebel against the expectancy to conform to the ebb and flow of Guyanese politics as it has been practised so far.

Are you willing to project the statement that your absence and silence on such matters makes to the nation? If so, then you are no better than the many other leaders who have failed this nation.

If you are not willing to send that type of message, then by all means start making some noise and let the world know that you are not a willing participant (by commission or omission) of racial division in Guyana. Let everyone see you fighting for the country you have vowed to served by bridging the gap between the races instead of letting the system of hate drag you down with it.

According to the article in Sunday’s Kaieteur News on this event, these are the words of Ravi Harichand, one of the organisers of the peace ride, “We need peace in our homes, communities and the country at large. With much work we were able to accomplish this peace ride… and this should not be peace for only today but every day.”

Now that is a sermon I would have actually gone to a church to hear.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Stella Says…While the government sleeps, the people can still prosper

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 09 April 2006)

Last Sunday, Sweet and Sensitive Freddie wrote a scathing column about tax evaders that would make anyone who has not paid their taxes red in the face for a very long time. I applaud his strong stance on this issue, especially as it applies to the richer Guyanese who have the money to pay their taxes, but withhold from the country her rightful dues.

His lecture on this issue reminded me of the time when the prolific writer Henry David Thoreau decided not to pay a portion of his taxes to the U.S. government. However, he was not trying to rip off his country. He was protesting the American war on Mexico and even though he only withheld the portion of his taxes that he felt would be used to fight the war, he still went to jail for tax evasion in 1846.

Much to his chagrin, Thoreau only spent one night in jail because someone else paid his taxes and he was release. However, his creative “protest” was widely publicised and he accomplished his goal of letting the world know what he thought of his government’s actions concerning the war.

I should point out that Freddie’s column was speaking about a different type of person though – the greedy type. I am talking about yet one more way to remind the government who is really in charge in a country – including Guyana. This is in keeping with Guyana’s Constitution, which says in Chapter 2, Article 9, “Sovereignty belongs to the people, who exercise it through their representatives and the democratic organs established by or under this Constitution.”

In other words, the people are the ones who decide Guyana’s future and the government is merely the tool by which these decisions should be enacted. I say this for two reasons; one reason is because I believe all governments have a tendency to over step their rightful boundaries and need to be reigned in from time to time.

The second reason is because I believe the ultimate fault for failure in any democratic nation lies squarely on the shoulders of the people. While I think George Bush is one of the worst things to happen to America in her short history, I blame the people for the current situation because they are the ones who voted him back into office after failing miserably during his first term.

I voted for Bush in 2000, not because I thought he would be a good president, but because I felt he was the lesser of two evils. Boy was I wrong! I even supported his decision to go after Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. It was when he decided, against the will of the people and international advice, to invade Iraq that I then took a very strong stance against his behaviour.

There was no way he was going to get my vote again during the last elections. Which is why I simply could not understand how so many Americans would have voted for him again. The only reasons I could see is that these Americans either supported his cowboy politics or they were so entrenched in their conservatism that they justified his questionable behaviour as a mandate from “God.”

The ironic part about this whole thing is that Bin Laden believes “God” told him to attack America too. “God” is either playing some serious mind-games with his creation or neither of these men heard from “God.” I believe it is the latter since neither the Koran or the Bible condones such atrocious behaviour.

At least Guyana’s government is not using God to justify their questionable actions. Instead, they just play dumb and act like they have done nothing wrong. Or they blame someone else when everything blows up in their faces. I wonder whom they will blame when the floods come again next year? Maybe that is why they want the elections as soon as possible?

Thoreau said, "Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right."

Oh that governments world-wide would have the same sense of decency as Thoreau! But they do not, which is why the people need to keep a vigilant eye on their representatives. Power corrupts and complacency sets in too quickly, leaving the people to clean up the messes made by the very ones they entrusted the country to in the first place.

Newsweek recently highlighted India’s fantastic growth, but said it was the people who brought progress to India. “India’s growth is messy, chaotic and largely unplanned. It is not top-down but bottom-up. It is happening not because of the government, but largely despite it… But it has vast and growing numbers of entrepreneurs who want to make money. And somehow they find a way to do it, overcoming the obstacles, bypassing the bureaucracy.”

In other words, the people of India refuse to allow their government to run the nation into the ground any longer. They are bypassing the government and bringing economic growth to the nation while their “government sleeps at night.”

Guyanese are just as ingenious. If the people of Guyana can find ways to survive in the mess the government has created, I bet they can find a way to make Guyana prosperous despite the government’s resistance to economic growth as well.

Remember Guyana - this is your country. It does not belong to Jagdeo or Corbin. They are merely your representatives – if you decide they are worthy of the role. The real power to make this country great lies in your hands alone. Don’t wait for the government to give you permission to succeed. Follow India’s role and bring economic growth the Guyana while your government sleeps.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Stella Says…International women leaders are setting higher standards

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 06 April 2006)

The world cannot help but take notice of the scores of women leaders who have recently come to the forefront of the international community. It is true that the gender of these leaders alone is news since women have been relegated solely to the position “housewife” for thousands of years – whether she wanted this position or not.

However, it is not only the fact that women are stepping out as world leaders that is catching the world’s interest. It is the finesse and quality of their leadership abilities that is wowing those who serve with these them and the constituency of their respective countries.

Last week in Israel, the nation’s newest centrist party, Kadima (which means forward), won the elections after putting the very popular female Foreign Minister, Tzipi Liyni, out in front of the public in the campaign ads for the party. Kadima took 32 of 120 seats, with the next closest party only taking 22 seats. Maybe this is the year for new parties with feminine leadership and new visions?

ABC’s news show, Nightline, talked about the factors that made this female leader so popular in Israel, a country where old “backstabbing” men dominate the political scene. One Israeli man said, “When she says something, she gives the public the feeling that she means it.” What a novel idea!

Liyni is a mother, a lawyer and a former member of the Israeli intelligence organisation, Mossad. According to Nightline, she has quickly climbed the political ladder, serving as Justice Minister and Minister of Immigration without making very many enemies, which many believe has positioned her as a candidate for Prime Minster one day.

Another Israeli said, “I think people are judging her by her qualities, not by her sexual identity because she is very different from all the other people we know in our politics.” Indeed, Liyni’s vision for Israel takes the country out of the ongoing conflict with Palestine so it can focus on building a thriving state.

The new party formed by the now comatose Ariel Sharon supports shrinking Israel’s presence on the land and walling the nation’s borders from enemies. Liyni says she was the architect of this concept that encourages a peaceful and democratic Israel as opposed to a warring and fragmented nation of two people groups.

Innovative leadership like this is refreshing, especially when one considers the state of the do-it-my-way-or-die approach taken by many male world leaders. The masculine strategy has too often led to death, poverty and repression for many generations. It is no wonder that so many women are being elected into powerful positions throughout the world to balance the masculine power struggle with a bit of feminine diplomacy.

Greece has a female foreign minister as well, Dora Bakoyannis, who was mayor of Athens when it hosted the highly successful 2004 Summer Olympics. According to a recent Reuters article concerning Bakoyannis, U.S. President George Bush said a couple weeks ago, “"It is a wise government that relies upon the judgment and advice of a woman as a foreign minister or secretary of state.”

In Liberia, the brave new female President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, recently addressed the nation’s legislators, which included several corrupt and murderous politicians. She looked the allegedly corrupt Speaker of the House straight in the eye and vowed to clean up the public offices.

This is what a Newsweek article from April 3 had to say about the new Liberian president. “Johnson-Sirleaf’s ascendance is the most dramatic development in a quiet revolution transforming Africa. Across the continent, women’s empowerment initiatives, disgust with male-dominated politics-as-usual and the inspiring examples of a few female leaders are propelling women to positions of clout in record numbers.”

The most pungent part of the article said, “But Africa’s transformation also reflects a growing recognition that the corruption, civil war and decay that have plagued the continent for generations have been largely the work of men. In the past few years, grass-roots women’s groups have been sounding a distinctively feminist message, arguing that the qualities displayed by women at he family level - fiscal integrity, maternal nurturing – may be what Africa needs to lift itself off its knees.

Give an African woman a loan, they argue, and she’ll spend it on her children’s school fees and food for the family. Give it to a man, and he’ll just as likely fritter it away.”

Guyana’s dire need for more feminine leadership is just as acute as Israel’s and Liberia’s. What has been done to this nation under a gender imbalanced leadership is in keeping with the shortcomings other nations have recognised and decidedly started to remedy.

The sooner Guyana begins to introduce more female leaders in strategic places, the sooner the country will start to heal from decades of maltreatment and ineptitude. Other countries in Africa have even successfully put women into position that men have failed miserably, such as law enforcement and security.

The previously mentioned Newsweek article also talked about how Nigeria’s female led National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has chased off the drug lords, even after they tried to gun her down. She refused to be bought and instead seized loads of phoney pharmaceutical drugs, raided warehouses and destroyed the illegal drugs in huge public bonfires.

Britain’s Department for International Development said that since 2004 Nigeria has seen a whopping 80 percent decline in the circulation of illegal drugs. This is the kind of law enforcement leader Guyana needs!

Moreover, the countries where women are in leadership positions, issues like domestic abuse, rape, paternal financial support, etc. are being addressed and new laws created to protect and advance the women of those nations.

The longer women cower in the shadows, the longer they will be subjugated to the dark forces that forced them into the shadows in the first place. Guyana needs her strong women to stand up and take their rightful place as leaders of the country. The sooner the better.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stella Says…Money cannot buy this kind of power

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 04 April 2006)

An individual’s power to confront life’s challenges comes from deep within. It is from this dark and unseen place that a man finds the will to live in the midst of hopelessness and where a woman finds the strength to fight for honour when faith has abandoned her.

The depth of this place is unknown for it has never been measured, though it is explored on a constant basis by those in need of even one more thin thread that can connect them to the realm of the possible.

When this power graces the feeble with its inspiring presence, it grants the terrified soul with a steady hand and the weak heart with enough courage to stare unflinchingly into the eyes of a vicious miscreant with defiance and resolve. This power connects every human, great and small, by an unbreakable bond – the human spirit.

Just like virtue, humans instinctively know where to look for this power – even from a very young age. This place feels spiritual at times and physical at other times. In fact, this oasis of strength feels so tangible at times that one might reach out in an attempt to grasp its wind with bare hands.

This beautiful power lingers only as long as it is needed, but leaves wisdom as a gift when it departs. Money and clout cannot summon this power because it exists solely for the most desperate of hearts. Lest this awesome power create yet one more haughty and supercilious fiend in a world ruled by such ogres, this power is distributed in short, controlled measures to the frail and destitute.

From whence this power comes, no one knows. Though it is given sparingly to the shallow and lavished upon the weak, most seek this power only in the direst of circumstances. It fashions strong hearts and brave souls from a jumbled heap of dejected individuals.

When it rises from the deep to impart its subject with unexpected might, the person feels this power well up inside like a balloon of hope inflating inside the subject’s chest. This power then begins to surge through the veins as it seeps into each muscle, bone and organ till every single molecule of the body is overcome with resolution and boldness.

Suddenly the faint of heart instantly morphs into a hero. The victim transforms into an illustrious warrior and the prey becomes the aggressor. This power causes hope to transcend reality and beckons each person endowed with it to shake off the chains of lassitude.

I am not a merchant of hope, but I know where to find this power because I have often been forced to seek the fathoms of the deep for just one more ounce of strength. I have frequented this oasis in my direst moments, just as you have visited during your own calamitous times.

History has been witness to momentous points in time when humans have harnessed this power in a collective effort to withstand an onslaught of wickedness. Anytime an oppressive force seeks to subjugate the masses and slaughter the innocent, this power rises up within the people to face off tyranny and hold back evil.

Perhaps these historic times bring out the best in human nature in an attempt to balance the worst. Because human history is peppered with these extraordinary events and because our lives are graced with such power, we are able to believe that tomorrow can be better than today.

It does not matter that we cannot know the origin of this power. It does not matter that we do understand how it works. All that really matters is that it materialises when we need just one thin thread to connect us to the realm of the possible and take us beyond the wretched reality in which sometimes must live.

All that matters is that the human spirit is not condemned to a perpetual broken spirit. Because of this power, the human race has the ability to accomplish greatness in the midst of obscurity. In fact, it is when humans are at a breaking point and society is on the brink of collapse that we find our greatest and most noble attribute – a wellspring of internal strength and power.

It is from this deep power that Guyana will one day soon find the strength to fight for her future.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Stella says... Remind the government that you are the boss

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 02 April 2006)

The world has watched with great interest and amusement as two governments were put into their place in the last couple of weeks by a tidal wave of protesters that overwhelmed the hi-ways and by-ways of France and America .

In America , immigrants and non-immigrants alike protested the proposed tightening of U.S. borders by making illegal immigration a felony. This legislation has already passed the House of Representatives and is now being debated in the Senate.

However, in a surprise move, the Latin community flooded the streets of many states in protest of this legislation. Not much is heard from the Latin community in America on the political front, which is why it shocked the rest of the nation when this normally quiet constituency started making a noise – and a very loud noise at that.

Even the children joined in for this protest and staged class walkouts on college campuses, high schools and even the elementary grades. My youngest daughter's school was no exception being 43 per cent Hispanic. Further, since my daughter is Panamanian, this was of course of great interest to her.

The protests were mostly peaceful, though things did get out of hand in a couple of schools. In one school a child was stabbed and in my daughter's school the police were called in and some students were arrested for taking things too far.

However, the protests achieved their desired goal; all eyes are now on the usually unassuming Latin community. They finally have the attention of the nation – and good for them. It is about time the largest minority group in the U.S. stand up for themselves and take their place in society.

Across the Atlantic, France has a different type of problem. This started out as protests by the younger generation for new legislation allowing employers to terminate anyone under the age of 26 within the first two years for any reason at all.

The government says the legislation is supposed to help bolster the sagging employment rate. The young people of France are not buying it. In another surprising move, teachers, train drivers and civil servants joined these young protesters this week. These public servants are ready to strike over the new legislation that has absolutely no impact on public workers since this is targeted solely at the private sector.

Last weekend the French Government defiantly said it would not back down on this issue. That was before this issue threatened to shut down the entire nation. I bet they are thinking twice about possibly reconsidering their stance now.

So what does all of this have to do with Guyana ? Everything. For too long, Guyanese have numbly accepted incompetence and indifference from their government, and have done absolutely nothing about it. Perhaps these peaceful protests can inspire Guyanese to see that they do not have to meekly submit to whatever their government decides to do.

If other nations around the world were treated with even half of the indifference and lack of respect that the Guyanese are subjected to on a regular basis, they would toss out their governments with a good swift kick to the rear. Yet Guyana is trapped in this abusive situation because her people feel there is no way out – but there is.

This is what The Economist had to say about the protests in France , “The protest is becoming a howl of rejection against the ruling elite, part of a pattern of such outbursts over the past five years.

In the 11th year of Jacques Chirac's presidency, there is a mood of what the French call ras-le-bol, or disgruntlement. It might be summed up as: we fear change, France is in decline, our children face an uncertain future, and we have no faith in the political class's ability to deal with all this.”

Does the sentiment of the French seem familiar? Of course it does; this same sentiment resounds throughout Guyana on a daily basis. The difference is that the French are doing something about their dissatisfaction. Likewise, the Latin community in America is doing something about its dissatisfaction.

The beauty of democracy is that when a government fails a nation, the people can replace it with a more competent government. Yet the race issue (perpetuated by the political class) has forced Guyana to choose between democracy and racial devotion.

The government uses racial fear to rule its people and as a result the people have forfeited their democracy.

If this is not a case of the cart before the horse, I don't know what is. I have highlighted the peaceful protests to show how the people are the ones who should determine the direction of the country.

The people are the ones who rule, through representation, in a republic. The government is nothing more than officials elected to enact the will of the people. France and America reminded its government of this fact through these protests. When will Guyana remind its government that the people are the ones who rule the nation?

If Guyanese wait too long, they may lose their chance and democracy could be swept aside by autocracy once again. If you think things are bad now when the government has to answer to the people, what do you think it will be like when they don't have to pretend like they care anymore?

That is a thought everyone should chew on for a while before the general elections.

Email: Stellasays[at]