Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Boycott SASOD's latest endeavour - Roger Williams

Here's a letter in today's Kaieteur News that warrants a response:

Boycott SASOD's latest endeavour

Dear Editor,

All Christians should now actively boycott the Sidewalk Cafe for accommodating SASOD's latest endeavour into lawlessness (the second year in a row) and actively petition the Crime Chief to do his job.

There are good and valid legal, moral and social reasons why radio programmes at NCN sponsored by SASOD and Vidyaratha Kissoon, exhibitions regarding the homosexual lifestyle at the National Library and “film festivals” at the Sidewalk Cafe, should not be allowed. Some of these are listed below.

Further, Kaieteur News should not accommodate SASOD with press releases.

1. Guyana 's criminal law prohibits same-sex relationships and intercourse … for good moral and medical reasons.

This includes offences in relation to sexual activity between males, such as s. 351 (gross indecency between males), s. 352 (attempted buggery), s. 353 (buggery) of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:01, and offences in relation to prostitution, such as s. 356 of Chapter 8:01 and s. 165 of Chapter 8:02 (keeping a common bawdy house) and s. 166 of 8:02 (loitering for the purposes of prostitution).

Labouring under “sexual orientation”, the “film festival”, “exhibition” and “radio programme” represented nothing more than a recruitment drive for homosexual activity.

Yet we have an organisation, SASOD, which challenges each of these existing laws with impunity with its “offerings” … while the police do nothing. This is unacceptable.

Has the Censor Board passed these “films” for their pornographic content? And why is Bibi Shadeek so silent, given the implications for the entrapment and trafficking in children?

2. See the URL www.guyanacaribbean for an initial critique of Arif Bulkan's “National Assessment of HIV/AIDS, Law, Ethics and Human Rights in Guyana ”.

This also addresses “sexual-orientation” paradoxes as outlined by Roger Magnuson. These have not been addressed by SASOD, or the media.

3. Arif Bulkan's “National Assessment of HIV/AIDS, Law, Ethics and Human Rights in Guyana” ignores the evidence in law reviews that homosexual and bisexual activities are medically, socially and personally destructive, and that defence of these behaviours have usually meant that detractors are silenced, and that statistical, medical, legal and academic/research evidence are simply ignored.

Roger Williams

Editor's note:

In the interest of free speech, Kaieteur News is willing to accommodate the publication of the opinions of any group provided these views are within the boundaries of libel, fall within reasonable boundaries of decency and do not incite hatred or violence.
Click here to read my response

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Stella Says…There is only one way to encourage development in Guyana

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

There are so many factors that have contributed to Guyana’s ongoing development struggle. Inept governments, corrupt leaders, international economic crises, the severe lack of an effective national economic strategy – as well as so many other attributes that were present from the first day of the nation’s independence until now.

If we wanted to point fingers and place blame, there would be fingers pointing in every possible direction. However there is one factor that supersedes all other factors that has not only contributed to Guyana’s ongoing development struggle, but also constantly feeds all other factors that prevent substantial progress.

That one omnipresent factor is the racial divide. This issue was present before the British left and has incessantly plagued the nation in every single aspect of life. If an Indo-Guyanese wrote this article, it is possible that a large portion of the Afro-Guyanese would dismiss the content as biased and partial. Likewise, if I were Afro-Guyanese, it would be likely that a large portion of the Indo-Guyanese would mark this article off as being insincere.

In fact, there have been a healthy number of mavericks from both sides of the racial divide who have attempted to bridge the gap between the two major races in Guyana, but have made little or no advancement on the issue. However, I am neither of these races and hope my words will somehow persuade some Guyanese to understand how important it is to unify as a people.

Although an outside force created this problem long before Guyana received its independence, there is no point in beating a dead horse by cursing an influence that has long been absent from the country’s social framework. Though the British are the ones who initially created the racial conflict, it is the Guyanese who keep the discord alive.

The ever-present undercurrent of this contempt for the other race, which often seems to be initiated within the political sphere, has so permeated society that it is highly probable that if one race-based governing party calls a piece of paper green, the other race’s party will then insist that it is red and the two parties will subsequently waste enormous amounts of time, energy and money just to argue this point.

If this world were about nothing more than choosing one side of an argument and debating that stance until infinity, then perhaps Guyana’s ongoing racial division would not have such dire consequences. Instead, as the rest of world progresses at lightning speed, Guyana stands still in time while the people are consumed with bickering and arguing with each other.

However, in daily life, most Guyanese live harmoniously regardless of race. My husband told me he didn’t even know there was a difference between the races until at seven years old he told his father he wanted a hair cut like an Afro-Guyanese. How is it this type of same harmony is locked out of the political arena?

While the nation’s infrastructure crumbles, the educational system fails, the economy continues to decline and crime overtakes the streets, Guyana’s politicians cannot agree on even simple matters that would enhance the nation and help the people. One party cannot let the other party have even a small victory because that would mean the other race might have just a little bit of intelligence.

This constant racial strife and bickering has been the ultimate downfall of Guyana. If as a Guyanese you want to know what happened to the beautiful streets you once had, they were lost to racism. If you want to know why Guyana cannot seem to ever find a way out of poverty, it is because of racism. If you want to know how the drug lords were able to take over the nation so easily, it is because of racism.

Every bad thing that has ever happened to Guyana is because of this racial divide. Likewise, every good thing that has been withheld from Guyana is because of this despicable situation.

If you do not believe what I am saying, all you need to do is examine the political and social incidents of just the last year and you will see the how the race issue has been the underlying factor every time development has been stymied.

If the World Cup does not come to Guyana next year, we can blame it on the crime and on the lack of resources, but the ultimate reason will be because the racially appointed political parties could not work together long enough or hold each other accountable enough to make the event a success.

In other words, Guyana will only continue its decline until the Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese find a way to join together as one force of good.

This predicament is not like a marriage where the two parties can choose to go their separate ways if they cannot find a means by which to resolve their problems. Therefore, there is one and only one solution; the opposing races must find a way to unite for their own good.

There is absolutely no way Guyana will ever see significant development until her two major races unite as one people. When the people of Guyana begin to cast their votes based on real issues such as economic development instead of race, that is when the political parties will start focusing on bettering the country.

The people will continue to establish the direction of this situation. If they continue to focus on race, their politicians will continue to follow their lead. Likewise, if they demand unity, their leaders will again follow suit – and those who do not will find themselves on the loosing end of the polls. In short, Guyana’s future – or the lack thereof - is in the hands of the people.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Stella Says…Will the real AFC Presidential Candidate please step forward?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 28 May 2006)

There is still a buzz about the recent poll that showed the AFC garnering a healthy amount of votes if the elections were held at the time of the poll. There was even a letter to the Editor about it in yesterday's edition of the Guyana Chronicle. The letter written by Ronald Isaacs questioned the integrity of the poll, but it is another interesting point that I would like to discuss in this column.

Mr. Isaacs said, "Some of the key statistics of the poll were that 1,063 persons who are expected to exercise their franchise at the next elections were interviewed. Of this number 40 per cent favoured President Bharrat Jagdeo, 36 per cent for Opposition Leader Robert Corbin and 21 per cent preferred AFC leader, Raphael Trotman."

Most of the response to this poll, whether from the media or from the citizens, has framed the statistical information in a similar way by referring to the three potential leaders for the upcoming elections – Jagdeo, Corbin and Trotman. Even the AFC's new campaign manager, Dick Morris said he thought the party's Presidential candidate, Mr. Raphael Trotman, had an "excellent chance" of becoming Guyana's next President.

However, unless the AFC has changed its position, Trotman would actually only serve as President for half of the term if the party sweeps the elections and Khemraj Ramjattan would serve for the latter half of the term under the new rotating leadership plan they announced at the official launching of their party last fall.

As such, it would be shortsighted for voters to base their election decisions on the premise that Raphael Trotman alone is the presidential candidate for the AFC. In fact, it even seems a bit misleading for the party to put Trotman out in the limelight tagged as the presidential candidate when he will only serve for half of the term.

Personally, I don't think it is wise to change Presidents mid-term. The role of the President is not like switching hats mid-day, it takes a while for the people to warm up to anyone who fills that role. Moreover, I have a higher level of respect for Trotman than for Ramjattan because the former stayed true to his word and vacated the seat he maintained in Parliament under the PNCR.

Ramjattan, as well as Sheila Holder, held their seats hostage and carried on as if they had a right to represent their previous parties and be leaders of a new party at the same time. There were many people who felt these MP's should vacate the rightful seats of their former parties, but these two dogmatically refused to budge on the issue and in the process caused a controversial situation for the infant party right from the start.

If I were a Guyanese woman on my way to the voting booth today, I think I would find myself in a serious personal dilemma given that the AFC is pretending like it only has one presidential candidate, when in fact it has two. What if I believe one person has what it takes to do what is right for the nation and do not hold the other person in the same light?

It is difficult enough to make a decision to trust one person to effectively lead the country, so why on earth would the AFC want to create such a predicament for the voters by presenting two people to be considered for the top role of leadership?

Is this the only avenue by which Trotman and Ramjattan could find an amiable working situation? Or do they believe this strategy will bring in more votes from both sides of Guyana's political racial divide? Whatever it's reasoning, I think it only fair that the party should be completely straightforward when presenting its candidate for President to the voters.

It would be wrong of Ramjattan to ride Trotman's coattail into the Presidential Office while the nation is left to wonder how on earth he got there. If the AFC has two presidential candidates, then let the nation know so both of them can be judged separately for their ability to fill this very important leadership role.

I think the AFC should seriously reconsider instituting this rotating leadership plan since it will only diminish their chances at optimising their potential for votes. It will be confusing for the voters and cause increased levels of scepticism – as is perfectly normal with an additional personality added to the candidate list and the introduction of a new and untested plan to the party's agenda.

Whatever it is that the AFC is doing with its multiple presidential candidates, the public has the right to know. Is Ramjattan on the ticket as presidential candidate too, or is Trotman it's sole runner? Personally, I think as long as Ramjattan has a seat to hold onto for dear life – any seat will do just fine – then I'm sure he will be happy.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stella Says…Women have more to offer the world than just a full bosom

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

I have always thought is a funny thing to watch an older man ogle a young girl who could easily be his daughter – and sometimes even his granddaughter. It is not like that grandpa has a chance in hell with that young beauty, but that does not stop him from falling all over himself to stop and watch her for as long as possible.

Why do we find such a sight funny? Well, basically because we expect an older gentleman to have learned how to display a bit more restraint in areas such as these. What is even worse is when these men make such a display of themselves right in front of their wives.

I simply love to point out the irony of the double standards of obvious socially acceptable behaviour that exists between the two genders. For example, how many times have you ever seen a woman walking with her guy and nearly fall over a complete stranger while trying to catch a look at another man?

I can guarantee you that this is not something that occurs on a regular basis. Women just have too much respect for their men to act so unseemly. It is not as if women just don't see the good-looking guys. They most certainly do see them and would love to stop and take in the scenery, but would not lower themselves to such a tasteless situation.

Yet it seems the older a guy gets, the more prone he is to openly eyeball a full bosom attached to a young face. What about his wife? You know, the woman who lost her own youthful figure when she bore his children? What about the woman who fixes his food everyday and cleans his home?

Surely this lady deserves enough of his respect to be able to walk next to him without the insolence of having him ogle another woman. Don't tell me a man cannot control himself long enough to give his wife the respect she deserves for the 30 seconds it takes to pass a beautiful woman. That is just nonsense. He is not an animal without reason; all men have the capacity to consider another person's feelings before he acts.

I don't think a woman should ever be subjected to such atrocious behaviour no matter what her age, but there is a point in her life when she is rightfully due an elevated amount of respect – which should of course include being able to take a walk with her husband without his eyes straying to every pretty young girl who walks by.

This brings me to another double standard - or rather, because of the aforementioned male behaviour there has developed another set of standards that applies to women. It seems like a natural development that if even older men who have been married to the same woman for 20 or 30 years have to ogle young women – then his wife will oft times try to look younger so he will ogle her instead.

She should never be put in this position in the first place, but this double standard in society has women doing everything possible to try and look as young as possible for as long as possible. It is simply absurd for a woman of 50 to be expected to look like a fresh 20 year-old girl. There is something seriously wrong with society.

Society considers a man distinguished if he is in his 50s, balding, getting grey hair and wrinkling. Society allows men to grow old with respect. However, a woman in her 50s who is greying and getting wrinkles is considered old. Why are women not afforded the same respect?

Instead, she is expected to colour her hair, fix the wrinkles and even get surgery if necessary – or she deserves nothing more than to be traded in for a newer model. Women are subjected to any number of unreasonable expectations and as a result her insecurity grows exponentially as she ages instead of being able to rest in the monumental achievements of her life.

ABC News Nightline aired an interview with the beautiful Isabella Rossellini in which she talked about being nigh onto 54 years old and the way that society handles a famed beauty as she gets older. She said that when people say, "Ah, you don't look your age," they think of it as a compliment, but it is the exact opposite.

I completely understand what she is talking about. I have people tell me I don't look 37 all the time – as if there is something wrong with being 37. I am proud to be 37 and wouldn't want to be 25 again for anything in the world. The older I get the more grounded I feel with the world and have no desire to return to the precarious position of being a younger woman again.

Isabella put it like this, "Isn't it a bit like telling a gay guy you don't look gay or a black person you don't look black – your skin is not dark enough?" Why is it so difficult for society to accept that women who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s are still beautiful? Gloria Steinem once told someone who told her she didn't look 40, "This is what 40 looks like."

My mother-in-law, who is well past her 50s, is just as beautiful now as she was in her younger years. She is absolutely stunning, yet she still hates to let others know her age. What a pity that she has to pretend to be younger when she should be able to rest in the fact that she is beautiful no matter what her age.

This discrimination against women forces us to seek to become an unreachable idea and reduces us once again to nothing more than a pretty face to be admired. The longer women play along with these hypocritical double standards, the longer we will be expected to be naïve 20 year-olds instead of the wise and intelligent women we really are. Ladies, we have so much more to offer the world than just a full bosom.

Email: StellaSay[at]

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stella Says…Are you a real patriot?

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

In an attempt to define what it means to be a "patriot," perhaps it is time to explore some of the basic traits of patriotism, such as love of country and loyalty to democracy.

Is it patriotic to toe the line? Is it patriotic to keep one's mouth shut because if you open it you would automatically spew out words of disagreement with a political leader? Not at all. In fact, voicing dissension against any corrupt government official makes a person even more patriotic than the one who silently submits.

I like the gall of Benjamin Franklin who proposed the words, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God," for the American seal. I cannot think of a more fitting phrase to describe patriotism in its rawest of forms.

Let's also consider the noble words of Thomas Jefferson. Now this was a man who was not afraid of the voice of dissent. In 1786 a former US Revolutionary Army captain named Daniel Shays led a rebellion of farmers against unsettled economic conditions and against politicians and laws which were grossly unfair to farmers and working people in general.

Concerning this rebellion, Jefferson wrote, "God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion ... the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

Does unity come at the sacrifice of personal convictions? Should a true patriot shelve inward morality and decency to stand unified with an action contrary to what he or she believes to be right and just? In Jefferson's words, God forbid! There is nothing at all patriotic about such behaviour.

On the contrary, this country was founded on the very nature of rebellion. Guyana refused to be chained to the control of a foreign ruler. She would not toe the line. This is love of country and when the leaders of a country acknowledge the right of the people to dissent, democracy reigns in the place of fear.

In that same spirit, I chose to oppose the war in Iraq. I would gladly support any military action by the United States that would defend its people, their freedom or the principles on which the country was founded. In fact, given the opportunity, I would take up arms and fight to the death to defend it myself. However, I vehemently refuse to support an unprovoked act of aggression against another nation.

Instead, I chose to take up my pen and exercise my freedom of speech with dissent. What good are these freedoms if never put to any use? Do you have a pen? Do you have a voice? If so, put your patriotism to the test and let your voice be heard on the points you take issue with in Guyana.

Patriotism can sometimes be subjective because each individual can interpret it differently. Webster's Dictionary defines a patriot as someone "who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests." I like that definition because it includes someone like me who doesn't necessarily agree with the actions of a leader but strongly supports the country's authority and interests.

Of course, the problem created by this definition for me is that I do not believe the United States ever had the authority to be in Iraq. However, I suppose my patriotism is as strong as any American's, perhaps stronger since my support is in what the country's authority and interests should be as opposed to what they actually are at the present time.

Likewise, there are so many Guyanese who love their country with all of their heart and who heartily support what this country’s authority and interests should be as opposed to what they actually are at the present time. These are the true patriots of Guyana – the ones who refuse to give up no matter how bleak the circumstances.

Considering one more piece of advice from Jefferson in a letter to a Virginia physician, he said, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." I'd say these statements show Jefferson had a firm grip on what it meant to be patriot. In other words, when you voice your dissent you become the very embodiment of patriotism.

In a speech delivered by Dr. Cheddi Jagan at his swearing-in ceremony on October 9, 1992, he ended his discourse by declaring, “Long Live National Unity. Long Live Guyana.”

I would like to note the omission of any leader's name in that statement. This omission is noteworthy because Guyana is not about a single person or a solitary party, but about the people as a whole. Therefore, the loyalty of the people should be to the country and its best interests and not to a person or group.

A real patriot remains steadfast in his or her loyalty to the nation regardless of pressure to bend to political sway. If you count yourself to be a true patriot, don’t allow your loyalty to country become sullied by any politician who divides Guyana.

There is a constant demand on the hearts of Guyanese to choose a side – but if there are always two sides the country will never be unified. If you want to know who to vote for in the next election, watch for the party that promises unity instead of retribution.

If there is one party that can put aside the fear tactics and bring the people together instead of tearing them apart – this is the party that should lead the nation. Let your patriot’s heart lead the way during the elections this year.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stella Says…We are paying a high price for a good laugh

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 21 May 2006)

I like a good laugh just as much as the next person. Although the slapstick humor of the Three Stooges has never been my forte, I have been known to laugh to the point of tears while watching John Lithgow on "3rd Rock from the Sun."

I also like a bit of sarcasm in my comedies. Those are the types I find the funniest. Who can resist a wry smile and a punchy line delivered with just the right timing?

However, I'm finding it more and more difficult to find comedy that is actually funny without being offensive. I'm not talking about the kind of offence that simply makes a head shake in disbelief of the material's poor taste. I'm talking about offences that have shock jock value - or worse.

These comedies make fun of sensitive ideas and values to get a laugh. I've seen it on "South Park" when the show poked fun at Jennifer Lopez with stereotypical racial remarks that would send chills up the spine of any Hispanic.

I've seen stand-up comedians who berate groups of people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, geographical location, financial status and intellectual capacity - all of which are qualities that define each of us as an individual.

I have even seen this rude and unseemly behaviour on kids' cartoons. "Johnny Bravo" can make U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas look like a choirboy.

There are many adults today who moan about the unruly condition of today's classroom due to a lack of respect from the students. Parents say it is getting more difficult to get children to use the manners they are taught at home. There is certainly no doubt that our youth are ruder than ever.

We don't have to look far to find the mentor of the hard-to-handle attitude and crude language. It's the good old "boob tube," as my mom use to call it.

The shock value of today's entertainment world has definitely moved into every venue of comedy. I don't usually care about this type of stuff. Hey, if someone wants to eat scorpions on some reality show just to be on television, what business is it of mine?

However, it was when I saw something that made my skin curl and my heart drop right to the floor that I started wondering how far is too far in today’s crass world. It was a commercial on Comedy Central with a boy in a wheelchair next to a man who asked, "Are pathetic, disgusting-looking sick people ruining your favourite telethon?"

The man then gave the wheelchair a good shove and said, "Not any more," as the boy went crashing off camera. Without missing a beat, the man nonchalantly continued with the purpose of the commercial.

Although I had seen the commercial twice in one hour, I never did discover the point of the commercial. I was so deeply offended by this horrid act that my mind just could not move on.

Even though I knew it wasn't real, all I could think about was jumping into the screen to help the boy. See, in my head, that boy was my own brother. I had a brother who was a wheelchair-user due to Muscular Dystrophy from the age of 5 until he died at 15 from the disease. He was five years older than me, so I had never known him without a wheelchair.

My entire childhood was spent helping my single mother take care of my brother. He couldn't dress himself, go to the bathroom by himself or play with the neighbourhood kids when we gathered in the alley to play kickball.

The disease eventually took all of his mobility, and toward the end of his life, he couldn't even feed himself. He couldn't even turn over in bed if he wanted.

So when I saw that commercial, my natural reaction was that of compassion. I needed to help the boy. Then reality hit and I was furious. This time they had gone too far. This was not the least bit funny. In fact, it was nothing but putrid manure in my eyes.

What does this type of behaviour say about our society? When did we decide it was comical to make fun of someone with a disability? Are we really so starved for entertainment that we stoop to deriding the disabled just to get a laugh?

We like to think ourselves so enlightened and so intellectually progressive, but this trend in shock entertainment clearly shows that there are still areas where we are no more evolved than any other animal on earth - perhaps even less so.

In a society where capitalism rules and money speaks loudly, the ratings of any show are what drive these acts of inhumane behaviour. In other words, barbarism and cruelty equals money in the pocket. We have been reduced to animal-like savagery so some corporate media executive can buy a new private jet.

I'm not suggesting we become puritanical, but can't we at least be decent? Can't we at least show some form of human goodwill and morality? Have we sold our souls just to have a good laugh? That is a high price just to get a laugh.

Can't we demonstrate at least some of the qualities that separate us from the rest of the animal world, like the capacity to reason and show compassion?

Maybe as a society it's time to dig deep and find a conscience again. Perhaps it's time to start putting the feelings of people before money. One thing is for sure, it is high time to stop gobbling up everything we are fed by the media and start thinking for ourselves again.

In other words, we just need to start being human again.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stella Says…I say a lot, but what would Jesus say?

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

I have often wondered what Jesus would say about those who peddle God. This thought came to my mind once again this week when I found out that the big-time American televangelist Benny Hinn is to be in Trinidad and Tobago this weekend.

No doubt there will be scores of people who will turn out for his crusade. Perhaps there will be some Guyanese who attend as well. After all, this man is supposed to have a direct line to God himself. Yet I still cannot help but wonder what Jesus would say about Benny Hinn and his multi-million dollar crusades.

I do hope you will indulge me a bit in this column. I have mentioned that I was once very religious and that I have extensively studied and even taught Christian scripture for many years. As such, I thought it would be fun to use my knowledge of the Bible to answer my own question of what Jesus would say about ministers like Benny Hinn.

Let me begin by talking about Hinn and his ministry. He is one of those ministers who bring in millions of American dollars every year from those faithful to Christianity. He is also one of those types of ministers who live an extravagantly lavish lifestyle. So much so that many of the news shows in the US have done exposes on his extravagance.

The Trinidad Express recently highlighted one of Hinn's many excessive spending sprees, "In 2003, en route home from a European crusade, during a layover in Milan, Italy, for refuelling of his jet and allowing for pilot rest, Pastor Hinn selected a hotel suite, said to be the largest on the continent. The 'room' offered 5,400 sq ft of living space, including a 100-foot long indoor swimming pool outfitted in genuine marble, 'essentials' costing TT$63,000 per night." That is over US$10,000!

Don't get me wrong, I think it is just fine for a person to spend their own money on nice things, but I have serious issues when a minister spends the money given to him/her by old grandmothers who can barely keep food on their own table. These ministers often promise their followers that if they if generously to his/her ministry, God will give them back even more.

When Hinn went to Nigeria last year, he railed the people during one of his meetings because of the low turnout and because they did not come close to giving him the US$4 million he was promised by the local ministers who sponsored his crusade.

If the NBC report was right, perhaps if Benny sacrificed his nice hotel room, his US$10 million home and the US$115,000 monthly operating costs of his private jet and Mercedes Benz (costing about US$80,000 each) then maybe he wouldn't be so worried about covering the costs of his crusades. After all, when someone gives to his ministry, I bet they are hoping the money goes to help others – not to put Benny into lavish cars, jets and hotel rooms.

I just hate to see people manipulated – whether by politicians or by ministers who claim to hear from God. It would be better to keep your money or give it to a poor person on the street than to send it to such ministers.

However, in a case like this, my reason and logic will make no headway with those who might be swindle by ministries who peddle God. So let us instead find out what Jesus had to say about it. Are you ready for a mid-week sermon?

Let me start first by admonishing Christians that Proverbs 14:15 says, "Only simpletons believe everything they are told! The prudent carefully consider their steps." It is a noble quest to seek answers to questions of orthodoxy (correct Biblical interpretation).

Acts 17:10-12 tells us that the Bereans questioned even the apostles Paul and Silas when they taught in the synagogue. Verse 11 says, "They (the Bereans) searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth." (NLT) And the Bereans were considered nobler than those in Thessalonica because of their questioning.

Remember that according to the Bible, "there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). Therefore, the people are supposed to be able talk to Jesus themselves. As such, the scriptures I just mentioned clearly encourage believers to seek the truth and to not believe every thing they are told. If you are a Christian, the Bible is the standard by which you should live – not a standard raised by a man or woman.

Now back to Benny Hinn and his extravagance. Here is what the Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. I say it again -- it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" (Matthew 19:23-24) If this is true, then why would any minister want to be rich?

The apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12, "For I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything, I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need."

If Jesus and Paul could get by on little and chose to live a life of temperate moderation, why are so many ministers ignoring their examples and choosing a live of extravagance while they expect people who live in poverty to pay for their excessiveness? I wonder how many Guyanese pastors will be attending this meeting and staying in posh hotel rooms paid for by their poor congregation?

At Hinn's meeting this weekend, there will no doubt be special seating in the front for the "important" people. Once again this is in opposition to the Bible. "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favour some people more than others? For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewellery, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, 'you can stand over there, or else sit on the floor' -- well, doesn't this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?" James 2:1-4

How far away from the Bible has Christianity gone? So far that those who claim to know God the most seem to know him very little at all. Hinn and other ministers like him are perfect examples of how a Christian should not act. I do not even claim to be a Christian, yet even a heathen like me can spot a minister who is peddling God instead of sharing "Good News." This concludes today's sermon.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stella Says…Watch your back, morality police are lurking

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

Imagine you have decided to have sex with someone.

Whether you are in love with this person or not isn't the issue. Neither is whether you want to pursue a relationship with this person. The only issue is that you are going to have sex with a person of your choosing.

For a Houston couple in 2003, this choice got them arrested.

During the actual act, something totally unexpected and utterly humiliating happened. The police burst into the house and arrested them. The law enforcers were not checking to make sure both people involved were mutual, consenting adults.

The police did not care if the two were Christian or Muslim. Nor did they care about the race of the "offenders." Marital status was not the issue either. So, what were the police looking for that penned these two people in a jail cell? The couple was arrested because both were men.

A similar incident could take place in Guyana today since sodomy is still on the law books here too. Unless the standing laws of the country change to be more tolerant of sexual preference, it seems the logical outcome could one day be paranoid heterosexuals narking on their homosexual neighbours to "clean up the neighbourhood."

The privacy of gay couples could be torn asunder by the scrutinizing eyes of disapproving moralisers. The civil rights of these homosexual Guyanese could be lost through ignorance and fear.

According to a press release from The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), the group plans to have events all week as it joins, “organisations from over 40 countries to commemorate the second International Day against Homophobia on Wednesday.”

The press release mentioned that the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders on May 17 in 1990. That is only 16 years ago! Sometimes when I think the human race is progressing along at breakneck speed, all I have to do is read about this kind of backward behaviour to be reminded of how far we still have to go.

Although I am a white woman, I have never been attracted to white men. As such, it would infuriate me to have someone deem me mentally disabled simply because I do not find white men attractive. However, our world is such that there was a time not so long ago when a white woman could have been killed for having sex with a man who was not her same race.

So what about women who do not find any men attractive or men who do not find women attractive? In my opinion, they should be allowed to pursue whomever they do find attractive – even if is their same gender.

Humans can be slow to accept change, even if we claim to be open-minded and ready to learn the ways of other cultures. This is especially true when it involves our religious beliefs. However, the question of gay sex morality is not even the point when it comes to these standing laws.

Rather, this is a question of whether civil rights apply to all Guyanese or just the ones who comply with traditional, conservative religious values. Should those who practice one of the mainstream religions be afforded a higher status as a citizen simply because they choose to align themselves to traditional values?

What of those in society who choose to reject those traditional values and seek to be the master of their own values and goals? Typically, as long as these individuals do not infringe on society’s established rules, they are usually given the freedom to pursue their own way of life.

It is when these non-conformists begin stepping on the toes of the traditionalists that things start to get messy. Homosexuality has been one of those areas that society as a whole has been far more resistant in doling out tolerance. However, society should not have the right to define the parameters of its citizen’s sexual preference.

What is done in a person's bedroom should be honoured with privacy, regardless of sexual orientation. If those rights are subject to infringement at the whim of a person who frowns on a homosexual lifestyle, then we should expect the same of other “moral” issues as well.

Will drinking and dancing be next on the list since there are many religions that frown on these activities too? Legislation such as this was passed in ignorance and intolerance, just like laws in several states in America that banned inter-racial marriage.

However, the fact that such laws remain is an affront to people who want to step outside of the simple construct of religious morality. I cannot help but wonder if there aren’t times when religion divides a nation more than it helps it. I will explore this a little more in my column on Thursday.

Perhaps it's time to step out of the dark ages and recognise that all forms of diversity makes us beautiful – not evil. When we stop insisting that everyone one must look and act like one certain group, we will finally be able to enjoy the beauty of our diversity instead of feeling like we are being forced into a mould made for someone else.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Stella Says…Writing this column made me cry

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 14 May 2006)

It would be remiss of me not to take the opportunity to extend my best to the mothers of Guyana today. As a mother, it is comforting to know there is at least one day a year when we are appreciated for all of the hard work we do and the numerous sacrifices we make every single day.

Being a mother is highly rewarding, but it is also emotionally draining. In the last year or so, I have seen my older children strike out on their own. I do not think there are any words to explain the emotional turmoil a mother experiences when her children leave the home.

We want to be proud and we want to offer encouragement, but at the same time our heart is breaking at the thought of waking up the next morning without seeing the face of our precious child. So we act brave and busy ourselves with the details of the move.

I want to give extra credit to those moms who are filling the roles of both parents. For some reason, there are far too many men who think they can walk away from their parenting responsibilities simply because the child did not grow inside their bodies.

Women shun this immature notion and fully accept their duty as a parent – even when they know the father will not be around for support. Single mommas, you are absolutely incredible! I admire your persevering spirit.

Mothers should be honoured for the vital role they play in society. It is often a thankless job. I remember one time about ten years ago, I attempted to count how many times I had cleaned the family toilet without even one “thank you.” Nobody likes to clean toilets, but a mom cannot let her child sit on a dirty toilet either.

Think about how many meals your mother has cooked, how many dishes she has washed, how much laundry she has done and how nice your house always looks. Think about how many times she has said, “brush your teeth” and how she has been there for you every single time you are sick.

Think about how much hoopla she makes out of birthdays and holidays. Think about the traditions she has maintained and the new ones she has established that will be passed down for generations. Think about how good her homemade bread tastes and how she puts a hearty plate of food in front of you before you even mention that you are hungry.

To put this loving care into numeric terms, if she has fixed only two meals a day for six days a week over an 18 year period, that would mean she has made well over 11,000 meals for the family. If she combed the hair of two of her children just once a day until the child is 12 years old, she would have loving groomed her children’s hair 8,760 times.

Now, how many times have you told her how much you appreciate her?

Trust me, a little appreciation and just a bit of your time will make your mother the happiest woman on earth. I received some flowers and chocolates a couple days ago for Mother’s Day. The chocolate was gone in an hour (it is my weakness) and the flowers will be gone in a few days.

I’ll get some cutesy presents from my children and probably something nice from my husband too. However, just having all of my children under one roof at the same time would be the best gift I could get on Mother’s Day - and I bet your mother feels the same exact way.

Women are so much more today than just mothers. We have gone into the work place, the courtrooms and the political circles. Our role in society has grown exponentially in the past few decades. Meanwhile, we still fully function in our role as mothers without missing a beat. How many fathers can say that?

Women have the capacity to make sure the kids have a decent breakfast at 8:00 am, negotiate a peaceful resolution to a family squabble at noon, lead a business meeting at 3:00 pm, have dinner on the table at 6:00 pm and then dress up for a night on the town at 8:00 pm.

Mothers are indeed absolutely incredible beings. If we could only teach more men to be even half as effective at multi-tasking and to willingly assume some household responsibilities so we can have some down time too, then our already fulfilling lives could be a bit less chaotic as well.

However, in my opinion, the most amazing aspect about a mother is her capacity to love. It doesn’t matter how many times she has had her heart broken or how under-appreciated she is by her family, her heart will melt like butter every single time she sees her child asleep in bed.

Your mother deserves to be recognised for every little thing she does each day and today is the perfect excuse for you to show her how much you love her. So why are you still sitting there reading my column? Go spend some time with your mother instead.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Stella Says…Ladies, take the time to nurture your health

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

Next week is National Women’s Health Week in the US. I would have never known any such thing existed except that I went searching for news items that would highlight this important subject.

I was recently made very aware of just how different healthcare can be for women and men. Over the past four years I have suffered from severe pain attacks from a mysterious source. The first time it happened, in September of 2003, I was put through a full battery of tests to determine the cause.

After being put through the wringer (I really hate all those tests), the doctors could not find what was causing my pain and said it had to be something like kidney stones, though they found no reason to believe that was the cause either.

The pain attacks happened about the same time in 2004 and again in 2005, and then it started happening more frequently. Each time the doctors could not find what was causing the pain. I have a high pain tolerance, but this kind of pain was off the Richter scale and absolutely unbearable.

The good news is that a new doctor finally pinned down the cause – endometriosis. I had never even heard of the disease before, but it is an issue that only affects women. Now I can finally get the treatment I need, which is simply taking some medication to control certain chemicals in my body to help prevent future attacks and some pain medicine when needed.

What I found most interesting is that this disease affects 5.5 million women in the US and Canada alone, and millions more around the world – yet the dozen or so doctors who examined me could not pinpoint my problem. Although I told every single one of them that the pain was always around my monthly cycle, none of these trained medical professionals – including a Gynaecologist – knew what was wrong.

This fact made me think about the millions of other women around the world whose bodies are racked with excruciating pain on a regular basis. Although medical science has made significant advancement over the last few decades, it seems we still lag behind in the treatment of women’s healthcare issues.

Endometriosis does not kill a woman, but it causes so much pain that there were times when I wished I would die. If we have dentists who can help us with the pain from a mere toothache, then why is it that millions of women around the world are living in such pain from health issues like endometriosis?

Still unknown health issues like this impact the overall quality of a person’s life in so many ways. After these attacks, I would spend weeks recovering because I would feel like a train hit me. It affected my sex drive too. I know men think sex is not important to women, but it is.

I am finally done with the pain and all those damnable tests, but when I read about how many of my sisters around the world could have this disease, my heart broke for each and every one of them.

When it comes to breast cancer, the medical community has done a great job with its worldwide campaign to educate women on how to detect the early signs. However, with endometriosis, it seems like it is the medical community itself that needs to be educated on how to detect it.

I know my body very well and knew the previous diagnoses of kidney stones were not correct. Even the doctors felt like they were just taking a stab in the dark for a lack of any other possible reason for the pain.

Which is why a woman should always go with her instincts on such matters. Women, don’t let your doctor intimidate you. He or she should be working with you to help keep you healthy, not treating you like you’re ignorant of your own body.

I strongly encourage every woman to make an appointment for a medical check-up within the next month if you have not had one within the last year or so. We often get so caught up in taking care of everyone else in our lives that we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves.

However, ladies, if we do not properly take care of ourselves and take the time to nurture our mental, social and physical health, then one day soon our loved ones could be the ones taking care of us.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live to see my grandchildren and even great grandchildren. I intend to be around for a long time and if that means sacrificing an hour or two for one day a year to ensure good health, then I will gladly make that sacrifice to see my grandchildren grow up.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Stella Says…The Dick Morris factor could change Guyana politics forever

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 9 May 2006)

There is a definite renewed buzz in the Diaspora since the announcement of Dick Morris' appointment as campaign manager for the AFC. After months of a pessimistic outlook about the upcoming elections, it seems that at least the Guyanese in the States are becoming very optimistic that there could be a very real possibility of political change.

One thing is for sure; the introduction of a player like this into the game will change politics in Guyana. I am from the Midwest and we are known for being very resistant to any type of change, but even I can see that the inevitable change that could come by this new development is a good one.

I do not think there is anyone who would not agree that almost every aspect of politics in Guyana should change. From the election process to the arrogance of whatever party is ruling during that term.

However, the Dick Morris factor changes one of the most important aspects – if not the most important one – the forgone assumption that the PPP will win the next elections. In fact, this one aspect changes all other aspects and creates a completely new political climate.

It is certainly heartening to see that a third party seems to be taking their contention for governing seriously enough to bring in a proven political strategist. It is events such as this that keeps every single one of us hanging on to the last bit of hope that we have for the future of Guyana.

The fact that so many people, inside and outside of the nation, love Guyana and refuse to give up on her is one of the best indicators that this country will not buckle under the pressure of the criminal-minded drug lords or those leaders who would use the people of the nation instead of serve them.

Up to this point, I am sure there have been a handful of times when the AFC has caused its political opponents to slightly worry that this third party might be THE third party that could upset the political status quo.

However, I think this new development will cause every single PPP and PNC/R politician to really begin fretting over losing a hefty portion of the party's respective constituency. If they are not worried as yet, then it might be wise to start worrying because the AFC has just changed the game completely.

My initial gut reaction was to be suspicious of Morris' ability to reach the deeply rooted fears of the Guyanese people, such as the ongoing racial division perpetuated by the long-standing political dinosaurs. Mr. Morris should know that this issue should be at the forefront of his mind at all times because it is the filter by which almost every Guyanese makes decisions concerning politics.

A visit or two to Guyana will not give him the foundation he needs to understand this vital concern, especially since the daily lives of the two primary races are intertwined and seemingly peaceful. It is not until he is able to have some healthy discussions with citizens from both races about their political fears that he will even begin to have an idea about how Guyanese think about their politics.

I am sure Mr. Morris knows that politicians play dirty. After all, he has been in this field for quite a while and those whom he has represented have had their share of enemies. However, I am not sure he can totally grasp the extent of how lethal politics can be in Guyana. Just look at the recent violent deaths of the good minister and Waddell.

Though I am sure Mr. Morris is no stranger to cut throat politics and although I am sure he has been keeping up on these tragedies as well as the Agricola massacre, I cannot help but wonder if he fully comprehends the motives behind such atrocities or the impact these events have on the public at large in an election year.

Such events are contrived for one purpose alone, to keep the people in as much fear as possible so the ongoing racial division is guaranteed. And it works every time. The people may indeed go on with their lives as normal after these events since they have no other choice, but the effect on their hearts is catastrophic.

With the AFC leadership team tutoring Morris on such intricate details of politics in Guyana, perhaps he will be able to effectively assess the situation and produce a campaign strategy that will once and for all crumble the monopoly held by the PPP and the PNC/R.

This is my one and only hope for Guyana right now – to break up this political monopoly. I do not support any party, but I do support a redistribution of power that will benefit the people of the nation. As long as power continues to toggle between one of the two political dinosaurs, Guyana will continue to be the unwilling pawn in their power struggle.

However, once a third party – any third party – demonstrates the ability to attain strong support and a measure of trust from the people, even the two mainstay parties must then begin to cater to the will of the people. The blame game becomes obsolete and each party then becomes accountable for its lack of performance.

Choice is a wonderful thing. Choice is what will change the political landscape of Guyana forever. If Dick Morris can indeed help to make the AFC a viable option for Guyanese, then the PPP and the PNC/R had better start shining up their halos because this game is about to change in a big way.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Stella Says…The President wants you to start a business

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 7 May 2006)

I will wait while you stop laughing after having read the title of my column. I could hardly believe it myself, but it's true folks. The President is holding a summit this week on Private Sector Development. It seems he wants to see more businesses spring up in Guyana.

Whew! I had to laugh a little bit more too. Okay, I think I have control once again, but can you imagine how many jokes that can be created for this summit? It is very difficult to restrain myself from deeming this summit is a joke in itself – though I am sure there are many who have already had this thought too.

I'm sorry, but I just can't resist. I have to tell at least one joke. Hey, did you hear the one about when Jagdeo held a summit to promote private business in Guyana? (I'm laughing so hard and I haven't even created a punch line yet!)

Does His Majesty really think anyone takes this whole charade seriously when the entire country knows that unless you are a PPP loyalist or a drug lord, you cannot even through the first round of red tape before the money well runs dry?

Which makes me wonder if the majority of the participants in this Presidential Summit will be PPP supporters. Or maybe this is a trick and what will really happen if someone shows up thinking this summit is in fact genuine, a clown will jump out from behind a corner and yell, "gotcha."

I read about the summit in the PPP's pure propaganda paper, The Mirror. The article said, "This specific Summit is timely, as the private sector must utilize all the opportunities made available in Guyana in expanding to meet all the challenges facing Guyana."

All the opportunities made available in Guyana?

Since President Jagdeo himself will be delivering the keynote speech, perhaps he can start by listing "all the opportunities made available in Guyana." The language of this sentence makes it sound as if Guyana is bursting at the seams with opportunities.

I can just envision Jagdeo at the summit this week trying to sell people on the notion that Guyana is overflowing with opportunities. He is wearing a newsboy bag and cap as he bellows, "Opportunities! I've got opportunities here!! Get your opportunity quick before they're all gone."

Sure, he has opportunities to pass out, if you cast the right vote in the last elections. (Wink, wink) Speaking of the last elections, I cannot help but wonder how many new businesses have started in the past five years. Better yet, I wonder how many businesses have been successful.

In fact, I would love to see someone try to list 25 substantial business opportunities available in Guyana that can bring in enough money to sustain just ten full-time employees and show an annual growth of only 15 percent.

The guidelines for this list are that the businesses must be legal, the opportunities must be open and accessible to ordinary people and there should be a record of racially inclusive equal opportunity for the past five years.

Oh, I do hope someone takes me up on my challenge. My heart truly wants to believe the best about this summit, but my sceptical brain tells me that this is just another way for the PPP to justify the nation's poor economic state.

After all, if they are holding workshops on how to run a successful business, then the lack of such entities in the nation cannot be their fault. It has to be someone else's fault - like the PNC/R or even the people – and Jagdeo can rest easy at night while he tells himself that he really did try to help people start businesses.

Meanwhile, back in reality, bureaucracy prevents the average Joe and Jill from starting a business and crime and corruption runs the already existing businesses into obscurity. From where I stand, this does not look like a very friendly investment environment at all.

The summit is a nice thought though. It would even be laudable if I thought for one second it was credible. However, the only way the President can get up this week and face those expectant faces of his fellow countrymen and women without being embarrassed is if he can also say that his administration has indeed followed up on his speech from last year's GuyExpo.

During the expo he said, "We have made historic progress putting in place many of the necessary building blocks – better, more transparent laws that protect business from political interference and establish greater accountability of both Government and business; a stable macro-economic environment that allows businesses to plan and make sensible business projections; an open economy that supports the competition that is necessary for business success."

It is because of statements like this that makes me laugh. The PPP is promising transparent laws to protect businesses from political interference? They are instituting greater accountability? Guyana has an open economy?

Unless the President has found a way to implement these promises since his last September speech, then his presentation at the summit this week will be nothing more than a joke. But the joke is on the people – and it is not funny anymore.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stella Says…Is Guyana going to follow Bolivia back into nationalisation?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 4 May 2006)

It is official folks. Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia now officially stand united and promise to be a real headache for those darn capitalists in America. Over the weekend, Bolivia’s new President, Evo Morales, signed a trade agreement with Cuba and Venezuela and upon return to his country, immediately set out to nationalise his country’s foreign-owned gas and oil reserves.

The Times online reported that Morales claimed energy is just the beginning, “because tomorrow it will be the mines, the forest resources and the land.” No doubt Morales has been emboldened by his new friendship with Castro in Cuba and Chavez in Venezuela, but this trend is definitely catching on in Latin America.

In a statement sent to me by the Cuban Embassy in Guyana, Morales pulled no punches when explaining his reasoning for joining forces with Chavez and Castro. The first line of his statement said, “Recognizing that the implementation of neo-liberal plans and policies has led to the proliferation and deepening of dependence, poverty, the pillage of our natural resources and a state of social inequality within our region…”

This type of language is bound to upset some Americans. However, to some extent it is encouraging to see these Latin American countries taking steps to try to help themselves and each other during financially trying times. Quite frankly, since America has all but forgotten its economic promises to Latin America, who can blame the nations for employing such drastic measures?

What did the Bush administration expect? For Latin American countries to just sit around and die a slow economic death while it ran off to the Middle East to fight an unprovoked war in Iraq? Instead of being a good neighbour, America is acting like it is and island unto itself. So the U.S. has no one but itself to blame for Morales’ decision to turn to Castro and Chavez for help with the economic security of Bolivia.

Certainly capitalism has been successful to a large degree in the U.S. (not completely though because the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen exponentially). However, capitalism has not worked for Latin America for many economic and political reasons. One reason is because of widespread corruption.

Likewise, this leftist move in Latin America toward nationalisation will fail as well because of corruption. Guyanese remember, all too well, their days of nationalisation and what it meant to the country. Today, many from Guyana have a bad taste in their mouth when they hear the word “nationalisation.”

When Burnham kicked foreign investors out of Guyana, the previously stable and/or thriving industries started to collapse and left the country with but a shell of its former self. So although I like to see countries like Bolivia make drastic moves to try to pull itself out of economic distress, I cannot help but show my scepticism of nationalisation.

What kind of impact will this shift to populism in Latin America have on Guyana? Is Guyana heading toward nationalisation again? Jagdeo has a chummy relationship with Castro and the PPP has clearly made its feelings about certain issues well known. I have very little doubt that if the PPP returns to power after the elections that Guyana would soon after toss out what little foreign investors it has left.

The current administration has not been friendly toward foreign investors. Hell, they are barely even friendly to national investors, especially if those investors are not PPP loyalists. Yet at the same time, the administration seems to be unable to offer any viable economic initiatives to financially grow the nation.

Given the unfriendly nature of the current administration, it is no wonder foreign investors shy away from Guyana. And now they must also consider the fact that the leaders of Latin America are more prone than ever to seize their private assets. Morales seized 56 oil and gas fields on Monday and the investors have no say in the matter whatsoever.

Therefore, when foreign investors see Jagdeo flirting with Castro and Chavez, they no doubt run in the opposite direction. There are plenty of safe Caribbean nations that are opening their doors wide for these investors and even taking extra steps to entice these investment dollars to their shores.

Sure, Guyana is beautiful. It has natural resources aplenty and no doubt people would pay a hefty price to catch a bit of this raw tropical paradise (under safe conditions). All Guyana has to do is clean up the crime situation and open her arms to the tourists to see the world start flocking in.

I truly believe this nation could one day be the hot spot for vacationers – under the right government. I believe the potential for Guyana is limitless. There are so few unspoiled and pristine landscapes left in the world today, which is why Guyana’s beauty is worth so much.

However, I also believe a turn toward nationalisation is a sure way to slam the door on this promising future. While many Caribbean nations thrive economically because they opened their doors to the world, Guyana continues to hobble along and shy away from the very investors who could help with the nation’s economic recovery.

Therefore, when the people finally get to cast their votes, they should be well aware of the future ramifications of their votes. Given Jagdeo’s chummy relationship with Castro, will Guyanese willingly vote to possibly re-embrace the nationalisation that failed the nation under Burnham?

Actually, I cannot help but wonder where the opposition parties stand on this issue. Do they support nationalisation or would they open the doors of Guyana to the world? I wonder what the AFC thinks about Bolivia’s economic move.

This is a vital issue to consider before going to the voting booths and the people should be completely informed on the national economic plans of each party so they can make an educated decision.

Email: StellaSays[at]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Stella Says…So you say that you want a little heaven on earth?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 2 May 2006)

As I read over the Kaieteur News article about the AFC and Raphael Trotman in Sunday’s issue, I was struck by the notion that Guyana would do well to have another party or two to break up the political monopoly the PPP and the PNC/R have maintain for so many decades.

However, as I read over the columns of the same issue and saw the many opinions held by the various voices of Guyana, I was reminded of a very different type of group – the religious group.

I realise my apprehension to religion probably leads many people of faith to think it comes from ignorance of the subject. However, I have studied religion quite a bit. I was raised in a profoundly religious environment, went to a seminary type of school for a year and subsequently studied the foundational beliefs of various Christian sects with their leaders from the respective groups.

Aside from all of this class study, I have also studied on my own about the rise of various religions and the history of Christianity. One era of Christianity that I found to be interesting on a personal level was The Reformation led by Martin Luther.

Luther had no intention of breaking away from the long-standing Catholic Church. A whole new sect of Christianity simply developed when the Church refused to reform it’s less than “holy” practices. Then came another section, and another, and another, until today when there are too many sects to count and it seems like a new one pops up everyday.

Centuries later, mankind can look back at the 15th Century and pinpoint the splintering of Christianity into thousands of pieces. Before Luther nailed his Theses of 95 accusations against the Catholic Church to the doors of Wittenberg, Christianity was one entity under the Catholic Church. Therefore, if you did not believe like the Catholics believed, then you simply were not a Christian.

On one hand, this was a sad turn of events because it is easy to see in retrospect that the purity of the religion was lost at the same time, although many would argue that the Church lost its purity under the rule of the Catholic priests – and I would not argue. Even so, Christianity will never again be joined in a unified belief system.

However, is this a bad thing? With all of the various sects in just Christianity alone, not to mention all of the other religions in the world, it seems like there should be a belief to fit every person on the planet if they want to believe in a supreme being.

I know full well that most religions state that a person can only be saved through their religion and by their god, but I cannot help but feel that the reason there are so many religions, and so many sects within each of those religions, is because different people want to believe differently about their god.

Likewise, even though the people of Guyana are being told they must still believe in the long-standing political parties, it seems many are turning to other parties. A rise of new parties with a healthy support base is the best indicator of this phenomenon.

According to the aforementioned article from Sunday’s issue, “Kaieteur News was reliably informed that the recently commissioned poll showed that the AFC could win the equivalent of 16 seats on Parliament. This means that the vote in Parliament could split at least three ways, with the PPP/C and the PNCR taking up the majority of the other votes.”

The poll maintained that the AFC could garner up to 25 percent of the vote if elections were held right now. When the Catholic Church would not clean up its act, the people chose to find a religion that would. Now it seems that since the long-standing parties cannot get their acts together either, the people are choosing to find a party that will.

You have got to love democracy.

Mankind has a drive to see justice and to live in peace. It is often the rulers who decide to drag the people through a proverbial hell against the wishes of the people. Further, in time the people often choose to discard those stubborn rulers and replace them with other leaders who will be more compliant and trustworthy.

Guyana is no exception to this rule. They have given both of the long-standing parties a fair chance to prove they can run the nation. However, since both parties have instead run the nation into the ground and the people are ready to see a little heaven on earth within their lifetime – it seems like it is out with the old and in with the new.

This change will be good for Guyana. Can you imagine how controlling and manipulative religion would be if there was only one belief system from which to choose? The same holds true with political parties.

In short, the more choices people have, the better equipped they are to choose a party. When the other parties realise the people have a choice, they are more likely to submit to the will of the people.

I do not support any particular party, but I do like the fact that there are more choices for the people. I am certainly happy to see this new spirit rising in Guyana and I could not agree more with the results of the poll to mix things up a bit.

Email: StellaSays[at]