Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stella says…If I Were President of Guyana, I would…

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 29 June 2006)

Don't start worrying your pretty little heads; I am not adding my name to the list of those who want to be the President of Guyana. However, with election season in full swing, I thought it would be nice to revise this column from last October about all of the changes I would make if I had the chance.

Maybe this could help give the leaders who are really running for the Presidential seat a few ideas and inspire some of the parties to establish a solid platform such as what is contained in this column.

Okay, here we go:

If I were President, I would establish an adopt-a-mile program so organisations, churches, schools, etc., could adopt a portion of a road and help keep it clean from litter. In fact, I would also impose a harsh fine for all the litterbugs and those menacing deviants who don't seem know the difference between a toilet and a stranger's home.

If I were President, I would privatise The Chronicle. As much as I would LOVE to have my very own newspaper to write gobs of columns on important issues such as shopping and dancing, I just don't think sweet and sensitive Freddie could find the time to be my editor – and I don't see how The Chronicle could possibly operate effectively under anyone else.

If I were President I would encourage the Diaspora to return home and have a positive impact on the investment climate of the country. I would also make sure to cut through the red tape so they have a reason to stay. This would be instituted the same week I become - not an afterthought I promise to do years after being in office.

If I were President, I would never sue a newspaper – even if they hurt my feelings. However, I would keep Smart and Sharp Robert Persaud around since he is so good at spinning and that could come in handy on the dance floor when we are all getting our national groove on.

If I were President, I would build a world-class resort right next to Kaieteur Falls to let the world know that "Guyana is Open for Tourism." I would also institute Baganara Lime-aid as the official drink of Guyana. This could help sell more rum, thereby creating new jobs and sparking fresh life into the economy.

If I were President, I would ban all forms of Puppet Politics. Important national decisions would be made with the good of the people in mind. I would cut the strings of puppet politicians with the same scissors I use to cut through the red tape. Then I would cut the nametags off of any airport employee who is planting drugs on unsuspecting travellers and give them a prison identification number instead. Those scissors would definitely get some good use.

If I were President, I would start building a road to connect to Brazil…yesterday. I would move heaven and earth to make sure that road is built and then I would open the borders to Brazilian tourists who would visit the new resort at Kaieteur Falls. I would also make huge cuts in import/export taxes, so the Brazilians can share all of their fun stuff with Guyana and Guyana can share all of its fun stuff with them. Everyone would be having tons o' fun.

If I were President, I would let the world know that Guyana loves foreign investors. I would make buttons to pin on the shirts and lapels of those in Parliament so they could wear them everywhere in the country and when they are at official meetings outside the country. I would also teach each of them to hug potential foreign investors as a sign of trust and appreciation for considering Guyana for their business ventures. This brings a whole new definition to open arm economics and we all know that a little hug can go a long way.

If I were President, I would have the mothers of Guyana screen each applicant for the Police Force. Mothers have a knack for knowing if a person is good or crooked and this would help reduce the corruption in law enforcement. Mother's are also very protective and take their jobs as guardians of their families and society as a whole very seriously. This would mean that the dad's would have to start helping out around the house more and maybe even learn to make his own dinner. Now, wouldn't that be a travesty? (Not!)

This is just a small sample of what I consider to be a healthy platform for any of the newly forming parties. Of course any Presidential candidate should feel free to use any part of this platform as your own since I will not need it.

I believe each of these points to be an obvious issue that should be considered by anyone who want to serve the people of Guyana. In fact, I bet the people could add to this platform exponentially – so why not ask them.

Email: stellasays[at]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stella Says…Ramjattan's column has raised the standard of Guyana's politics

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

Stella Says…Ramjattan's column has raised the standard of Guyana's politics

This past Sunday I read a column by a Guyanese politician that was exactly what I have been waiting to see for a very long time. It was honest and brilliant. There was more power in this one piece of writing than I have seen in all of the last year put together from the PPP (or any other politician for that matter).

Khemraj Ramjattan has moved up ten rungs on my ladder of respect this week. His Sunday column entitled, "The Inflexibility of the PPP: Its re-assertion of Communism in these times," captured the struggle of all Guyanese as he detailed his desire to be true to his communist leaders and, at the same time, live with the reality of the collapse of communism.

I have so much going on in my life right now that I did not read this column until late Sunday evening. My family is about three or four weeks from relocating from the DC area to a much warmer climate in Southern Texas. Consequently, we are in Texas for a couple of days this week making some of the necessary arrangements for the move.

However, when I finally got the chance to read the AFC leader's column, I covered my face and told Paul that this is what I have been waiting for – honesty and pragmatism. It seems like so much of Guyana's politics are played in the realm of the unreal with a vivid imagination being the most valued attribute of the communications staff of the ruling party.

I cannot begin to count the number of times the PPP has needed a good reality check because they have produced yet one more piece of propaganda that was closer to being a make-believe story than actuality.

In fact, there have been many a time when I have had to give myself a reality check because it is far easier to get lost in their make-believe land than to live with the murders, rapes, poverty, crime and corruption that plagues Guyana every single day.

And then there is the childish blame game where no one accepts the responsibility for the state of the nation. And there is the racial divide, which is constantly perpetuated by the two established parties in so many ways every single week in their feeble attempt to secure what little hope they have of acquiring a vote from Guyanese who may gladly live in their land of make-believe.

It is difficult to keep a firm grasp on reality when lies and half-truths float around your head on a constant basis. However, Guyana cannot continue on in its make-believe reverie if it ever hopes to rid itself of those ugly aspects that everyone would rather pretend did not exist.

This is why Khemraj Ramjattan's column so impressed me. He did not play the games. He did not curtsy to the long established notions of pretending like communism was still a viable option for a developing country in the 21st century. In the process, he allowed anyone else in the country who has been fighting to escape from the realm of the unreal to firmly plant their feet in reality once and for all.

Since the PPP relies on their make-believe world to maintain their position as the nation's ruling party (because they could never explain their paltry performance in the real world), Ramjattan's column has effectively brought the PPP to the brink of utter and complete ruin.

I know this is very cynical of me, but I have to admit that at times I have wondered if Ramjattan was still secretly loyal to the PPP and was just playing a game with the AFC to disrupt the baby party at one of its most crucial moment. However, his column has proven that he is indeed a man of the people and holds no wistful longing for his former party at all.

I am so excited about this new development of honest and real politics that I cannot wait to see how other politicians will respond to it. Will they pretend it never happened? Will they respond with more lies and half-truths (which the whole nation knows is lies and half-truths)?

Will they colour a pretty version of their side of the story and spread their propaganda on sweet and thick? Will they invoke the memories of yesteryear's beloved politicians and play the heartstrings of the people in an attempt to divert the nation's attention from the real issue at hand (again)?

Ramjattan has brought this election season into a whole new dimension now and I cannot wait to see if the PPP can keep up. After all, it is not exactly known for its honesty and does not seem to deal with reality all that well either.

What I hope to see is a response that is on the same level of Ramjattan's honesty. This is exactly what Guyana needs – a real election with real politicians who live in the real world.

The AFC has raised the standard of Guyanese politics with just one simple column and I am waiting expectantly to see if the rest of the politicians can rise to the occasion.

Most of all, I am on pins and needles in anxious anticipation to see how Smart and Sharp Robert Persaud will respond to Ramjattan's column. We will finally get to see if that MBA can do something else besides write fictional pieces.

Email: stellasays[at]

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stella Says…Women are strong, but we do not like to fight

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

When someone asks me where I find the passion to write about women's issues, I do not understand the question. To me, that question is like asking a dying man why he still fights to breathe one more breath.

In Guyana, no one asks why the Afro-Guyanese continue to fight to make their case known to the nation at large because everyone knows they feel abandoned and disenfranchised by the current ruling party. Likewise, no one asks why the Indo-Guyanese refuse to vote for another race because everyone knows the atrocities they suffered under the former PNC rule.

Each of these groups have a cause to defend and they are quite passionate about that cause. However, the cause for which each group struggles only began a short time ago compared to the millennia women have suffered some of the most atrocious indignities heaped upon any group of humans.

Kaieteur News printed a stirring editorial this past Friday that addressed only one of many such indignities – sexual harassment. If we took a sample poll of women worldwide on whether they have ever been subjected to sexual harassment, I would bet that over 90 percent would answer yes.

It is because of the overwhelming incidents of such lewd conduct that women often become accustomed to the humiliation. When a woman is sexually harassed in a workplace, she can feel trapped if she needs to keep her job yet wants to escape the degradation of her boss or co-worker.

However, sexual harassment is not limited to the workplace. In fact, it begins for most when they first start to blossom into women. How many times have you seen a young 13-year-old girl being subjected to all types of lewd and indecent remarks simply from walking down the street to the corner store?

A female child may have been able to live a totally innocent existence up to a certain point, but once she begins to look like a woman instead of a child, men quickly teach her that she is nothing but a sex object.

I have never seen a man clamour to watch a movie about an intelligent woman, yet just one glimpse of a woman with an hour-glass figure and a man will fall all over himself just to get her attention.

It is no wonder that some Muslim women cover their bodies (and sometimes their faces) with unflattering robes and veils. It must really cut back on the unseemly remarks to which these beautiful women would otherwise be subjected.

However, it is not the women who have the problem that must be addressed – it is the men. Why should a woman cover herself when it is the man who cannot control his behaviour?

If you ask me, the men should be made to walk around with their eyes covered if they cannot keep their hands and mouths to themselves when they see a beautiful woman. But that is not the case.

Stabroek News printed a letter to the Editor yesterday in which the writer says he performed fifteen pregnancy terminations on girls who had been raped while in the Guyana National Service. Rape and molestation is yet one more despicable way women have been victimised for thousands of years.

It would be difficult to list all of the demoralising acts to which women have been constantly subjected. Until the last few decades, we have been refused an education and the right to participate in political elections. Likewise, we have long been considered property instead of a person with rights.

So I just do not comprehend why people cannot understand why I fight so adamantly for women. Yet if I channelled my passion into something else, like a cricket game or the World Cup, that would be easily understandable.

The most ironic aspect of the worldwide struggle for women's rights is that there are still so many women who do not want to be a part of it. They have been told that things are just fine the way they are and that those Amazonian fighters just want to rule over men. They have also been told that God would not approve.

Consequently, women generally accept their plight without fighting back. Every other group in the human race that has been victimised - in far lesser degrees and for a far lesser amount of time – has fought back.

Women are strong, but we do not like to fight. Typically, the only time a woman will fight is to save the life of her child. However, though our nature is more subdued than that of the other gender, it does not give us an excuse for not fighting for our rights.

If we do not stand up and demand the respect and rights we deserve, then we have no choice but to keep our mouths shut when our daughters are the victims of sexual harassment.

Instead of simply accepting the atrocities that still assail our gender, would it not be better to finally take a stand against them? The one and only reason any other victimised group in the human race has ever been afforded its proper rights and respect is because they fought for it – with a passion.

Likewise, the one and only reason we have not been afforded our proper rights and respect is because we have not fought for it. We have become so desensitised to the victimisation that we accept it as being normal.

Here is a measuring stick to use as a guide in redefining your definition of normalcy when determining whether you should fight over a particular issue. Ask yourself whether any man accept this type of treatment if he were in your place at that moment. If you are in a situation when the answer to this question is no, then demand your rights and the proper respect that is due to you.

This struggle is not a fight of women against men or the god-fearing against the heathen; however, it is a struggle of one more group of humans that have been victimised and must fight back if they ever hope to see the atrocities end.

When the colonies demanded their independence from England, mighty Britain was forced to recognise them as humans and treat them accordingly. This has happened over and over again throughout human history whenever people have stood up for their rights. And now it is our turn, ladies.

Email: stellasays[at]

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stella Says…There has been yet another important victory for women

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 22 June 2006)

A miracle happened this week. On Monday, the Episcopal Church elected a woman to lead its denomination. Thirty years after the Episcopal Church first allowed women to become priests, it has now become the first denomination in the Anglican Communion worldwide to have a woman serve as its leader.

I have said before that I would love to see the day when a woman is chosen to be the Pope of the Catholic Church, but I will settle for these smaller victories in the meantime. According to a June 19 article from the Washington Post, the Episcopal Church has about 2.3 million members, so Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will certainly have her work cut out for her.

It is through significant steps such as this that women will one day be on equal footing in every social, political and religious aspect of life. My hope is that my daughters will see that day.

I have been questioned as to whether I have something against the male population. This is a fair question and I suppose in all honesty my response would have to be an emphatic no – and an emphatic yes.

On the one hand, I have no problem with any man who is secure enough to acknowledge that women are intelligent and capable leaders. I am not talking about the shallow lip service doled out in complicity to avoid a tongue-lashing; I am talking about those men who truly believe women are equal to men.

It is tough enough to be a strong woman who speaks her mind in this patriarchal society. Since we refuse to curtsy to archaic sexism or to be the slave of any man who demands our submission, we are often viewed as arrogant or overbearing.

Likewise, those same men who incessantly attempt to put a woman like me in "my place" regard men who believe in the equity of women as hen-pecked or weak. In reality, these open-minded men are the most enlightened of their gender. Far from being weak, it takes a very strong man to stand up and tell those cavemen they are wrong.

I cannot count the times Paul has emphatically told a caveman type that I have a mind of my own and the right to speak my mind as I see fit. In my estimation, he and those like him are by far the strong men and the cavemen types are the ones who are weak since they need to control a woman to make themselves feel important.

Supportive men who value gender equity do not need to offer any excuse for encouraging women to take their rightful place in society because the future development of their gender is on their shoulders. I have absolutely no problem with this type of men at all and hold each one of them in very high esteem.

On the other hand, I have serious issues with misogynistic cavemen who think of women as property and treat them worse than a stray dog. For me, these men are easily identified because they will ALWAYS try to put a strong willed woman like me in my place. They think it is their job to cut strong women down a few notches and feel they are doing the world a favour by forcing yet one more woman to submit to the will of a man.

Without fail, they show their hand every time and I watch in amusement as they play their cavemen games. These men come in so many packages. There are the ones who play the typical patriarchal role and feel they must take care of their wives – as if the woman could not find a way to live if he were not around.

And there are the ones who expect their women to view them as the king of the castle, but are unwilling to give the castle's queen the same respect. The most pathetic ones are those who beat, torture and kill women.

However, make no mistake about it, every single one of these cavemen share the same mentality, it is just that some try to be a kind "ruler" while others push this ideology to its logical end. Regardless of which method they choose to employ, all of these cavemen have the same desire to control women.

This is the type of men with whom I have a problem. These men will condemn the Episcopal Church for electing a woman as its leader. They will talk about how women are not fit to lead in the church and there will undoubtedly be a crack down in religious sectors worldwide lest their women get such lofty notions of leadership as well.

To which I must bluntly ask why anyone would have a problem with a woman leading a religious denomination. It makes just as much sense as putting a man in that position and while I'm sure there are gobs of qualified men to lead the various denominations in the world, it doesn't look like they have been doing such a great job for the last few thousands of years all by themselves.

I look forward to the day when appointments to leadership positions are not overshadowed by the gender question. It will be nice to see qualified candidates considered for high level positions solely based on their professional qualifications and abilities without someone saying, "But she's a woman."

Since women have given birth and successfully raised billions of productive citizens for the world, I think they are more than qualified to take on other roles – like leading a denomination.

Email: stellasays[at]

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stella Says…Where does the party end and government begin?

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

In recent weeks, there has been a definite increase in the amount of party propaganda being injected into the mainstream media. This is true of the PNC to a degree, but the PPP has been going all out to get the attention of the party faithful.

Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud, MBA and the Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Clement Rohee, have been churning out all kinds of untidy cants for weeks now. Although it does seem Rohee has gotten conspicuously quiet this past week. This is very curious indeed.

As I was reading one of Rohee's very long diatribe a couple weeks ago, I could not help but wonder who it was he represented. Does he and Smart and Sharp Robert, when they pen their nonsensical writings, represent the PPP party or the people of Guyana as a whole as implied by the titles they carry?

Our dear Smart and Sharp Robert is also the head of GINA, the national entity entrusted with the dissemination and distribution of important information to all Guyanese. It is a given that one should expect this information to be pure and unadulterated – or rather, it should be delivered without an attached agenda.

As my friend, Mr. MBA (who deemed his party as having ultra-democratic tendencies a couple of weeks ago) well knows, the views and ideas of the PPP are not shared by a large portion of the population. However, if his faux democratic party were truly a party concerned with the progression of freedom, he would be allowing the PNC to make themselves looks as smart and sharp as himself.

However, I did take note that the first line of Mr. Persaud's column this week said, "Guyana is an emerging democracy." Perhaps the swift change of heart is because Smart and Sharp has realised that as long as the PPP maintains complete control over the state media, the party cannot be considered ultra democratic.

Since the PPP does not come anywhere close to having the support of every Guyanese in the country, a truly democratic government would ensure that the voice of the rest of the Guyanese people is also heard. But the voice of the rest of Guyana is squelched – right along with democracy.

The PNC likes to cry foul over this situation, but they did the same thing when they were in power. Which of course is the justification used by the PPP to continue this stifling practice today. How childish. It is as if they are sticking their tongues out at each other when one group of kids gets to the top of the play castle.

Yet democracy is not a toy and while these two parties play around with the freedoms of the people, the entire nation suffers the consequences. When will the people finally whip these parties good and demand that they grow up and start acting like a government?

Although the PPP maintains control of the government right now and exercises its power over the minority party, this is not the example of a democracy. A true democracy recognised the voice of the minorities parties as being just as important and shares the power of government for the good of all citizens – not just the half that voted the ruling party into power.

Here is an October 2, 2005 statement from a letter to the Editor of Kaieteur News from A. Seymour, "However, I must say that I am not at all optimistic because the PPP/C continues to entrench itself in the media, making the distinction between party and government blurred or virtually non-existent. The classic cases in point: Robert Persaud is the PPP's spokesman, PPP Executive Member, Head of GINA and Presidential Information Liaison."

The question remains then, who is it that Robert Persaud represents when he writes his column? The PPP or the people of Guyana? When Clement Rohee spews his vile accusations, whom does he represent? If he represents the people, is he sure this is the type of stuff the people want him to be saying?

If these flyboys are representing the PPP during their tirades, I certainly hope Freedom House is paying their paychecks and not the people. However, if taxpayers are paying their paychecks, I'll bet you anything that there are quite a few taxpayers who are not happy with how their money is being spent.

Email: stellasays[at]

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stella Says…A father's advice can stabilise a topsy-turvy world

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

Fathers who are involved in the daily lives of their children are the backbone of society. This love given by dads is one of the most precious commodities that has ever existed and their wisdom is a gift that lasts a lifetime.

In my house, we have a new pastime this summer – baseball games. We have always been baseball fans. I grew up in St. Louis, which is a baseball town, and in the summer months we cared about little more than our team, the Cardinals. As a result, I am still an avid Cardinal fan.

However, we have never really been the type to go to a game more than once or twice a season. We would watch them on the television or keep up on the scores through the newspaper. This year is different though.

We have been to several baseball games already and it is only the first part of the season. My little girl is hooked now, even though the team here in DC is not doing very well at all. Her sudden interest in baseball has nothing to do with the team or how well it is doing; it has everything to do with the fact that her dad has been taking her to these games.

This is something special they share together now and the two have even been going to games when I have not been able to go as well. She is so much into baseball now that on Friday night when we went to a big video arcade with some families from her dad's office, she cared nothing at all about the great games there was to play at the arcade.

Instead, she was glued to the television watching a baseball game with the home team against the New York Yankees. She was just too cute to watch. She would get upset and yell at the television when the Yankees scored a run and would cheer when the Nationals pulled ahead. She even called the Yankees team the "stankees."

Those words are music to the ears of an avid Cardinal fan like myself. We even use to call the New York Mets "pond scum" back in the 80s.

Although my daughter never cared about baseball before a few weeks ago, it seems she can now spend hours engrossed in a game. However, I suspect this newfound passion has very little to do with how entertaining baseball can be and everything to do with the fact that baseball is a new way she has found to connect with her dad.

Paul even took her shopping after the game last Saturday and bought her a Nationals shirt and baseball cap, which she proudly sported to the game on Wednesday night. For the rest of her life, this is one of the many experiences she will cherish when she thinks about her dad.

I never met my father until I was 16 years old. In fact, Paul went with me to meet him for the first time – and oh boy was it a huge let down. He was drunk, a state he was often in, and blasting rock music. I couldn't help but smirk at the irony that he was the father and I was the teenager.

However, before I met my own dad, I had met Paul's dad. I had never really had a father figure in my life before, so I was very interested in the relationship between this father and his son. When I first met Paul, he was 18 years old and would still go and lay with his father in the mornings and talk to him. This type of intimacy was a totally alien experience for me.

Paul's dad was a man of very few words, but when he chose to speak, the world listened. This was a bit difficult for me at first, since I could not understand his thick Guyanese accent when he would try to start a conversation with me. One time when I had first met Paul, Dad and I must have exchanged at least five minutes worth of conversation and I had absolutely no idea what he had said.

I'm a quick study though and soon enough I caught on and truly appreciated this family that had both a mother and a father. Dad's wisdom helped to guide Paul and I through financial decisions and family planning during our early marriage.

Dad was meticulous with his personal bookkeeping and tried to teach us to do the same – although we never appreciated these lessons until much later in life. It is funny how we think we know everything when we are kids and its not until we are adults that we realise we still know absolutely nothing.

Dad passed away from heart disease far too early for any of us. My children barely got to know him and Paul still feels his absence, especially at times when he needs some wise advice. If you ask Paul about his special experiences with his dad, he remembers how his dad took him to the first day of school in Essequibo and running errands with him.

He also remembers going with his father every Saturday up to the Assemblies of God camp when it was first being built to check on the progress. These seemingly ordinary experiences created fond memories and formed a lasting bond between father and son. Just like how a silly baseball game can make a father and daughter even closer than they were before.

We should never underestimate the role of a father in society. I truly believe fathers help shape the future of their children. And I also believe that without those ordinary experiences, there is a constant void in a person's life that they may never be able to fully understand.

If you are feeling a bit off today or if you need some wise advice, perhaps you just need to spend some time with your father and create some more ordinary experiences. A father's attention is like a healing balm and just a few words of advice has a way of stabilising a topsy-turvy world.

Email: stellasays[at]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stella Says…Can the AFC deliver?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 15 June 2006)

There are times in life when you might get an unexpected surprise. Those unguarded moments make life interesting because we never truly know what lies around the next corner. Just such an occurrence happened to me this week.

I was reading an Internet forum for Guyanese on Tuesday where one conversation remarked that the AFC is picking up a lot of support with the younger generation. Although this makes perfect sense, the remark still took me completely by surprise.

It is difficult to gauge any progress the AFC is making because they are not in the news on a daily basis embroiled in one political battle or another, like the PPP and the PNC. Thus, it is sometimes easy to mark such an entity off as out of sight, out of mind.

However, this does not seem to be the case with the AFC after all. One Guyanese on this forum said, "I keep hearing people and I mean lots of people saying 'Alliance boy, the Alliance.' 'I giving the Alliance my vote'."

If this is the case, the very first question I am forced to ask myself is whether the AFC can deliver for Guyana. If we are to be honest with ourselves, it would be irresponsible to vote for such a drastic change without first determining whether this baby party is up for the job.

It seems that when Guyana achieved its independence, those who were entrusted with governing the nation were not ready for the task at hand. This is the case with many of the colonies when they were granted their independence. It is difficult enough to learn how to govern a nation when it is young and just forming.

But to take over the leadership of an already established nation, with previously established problems, this is a task that is most times beyond even the most well-intentioned leaders. The good intentions of early leaders never really got to mature and many of these nations have floundered about for decades.

So what makes the AFC any different from the PPP or the PNC? Does this new party finally have the right type of leaders to help Guyana recover from a long history of problematic leadership? Maybe.

To start with, the AFC has Raphael Trotman, Khemraj Ramjattan and Sheila Holder – all of which are seasoned leaders. Moreover, these leaders have somehow found a way to work together long enough to make this party gel. This is a tremendous feat in Guyana.

How many other politicians have attempted an alliance of this magnitude and failed? It is utterly frustrating to watch supposed mature and intelligent leaders bicker and posture over minor territorial issues when the real focus should be the best interests of the people.

Could it be that Guyana does have some leaders who can see the big picture and work together for the good of the country? I must say that it is impressive just to see the AFC come this far without imploding like many of those other "third party" hopefuls.

What this means to me is that there must be an overarching attitude of compromise from within the party. If so, this in itself is very positive news. If they can work with each other, regardless of their differences, then perhaps they have what it takes to govern a country like Guyana, where the people have spent so much time focusing on their differences that they have forgotten there are some very advantageous commonalties.

However, seasoned leadership and the ability to build a cohesive team from a diverse group of individuals does not exempt the AFC from the temptation of corruption. I truly believe that when an upright and conscientious government finds its way into office in Guyana, that is the day when the people will start enjoying a far better standard of living.

When all foreign aid goes to its assigned purpose, when bribes and kickbacks to government officials are absolutely forbidden, when there is a government who will openly account for the money it spends, when there are leaders who know how to facilitate economic growth – this is when Guyana will be better off.

Can the AFC do this? Can they pull off such an enormous task when historic precedence is pressing down on them to be as corrupt as the last two parties? I cannot answer that question.

However, I can say with confidence that neither of the last two parties have been able to create an effective government that would produce a thriving country. And neither party has found a way to work together for the good of the people. At least the AFC has done this much.

As the PPP and the PNC do everything within their power to divide the nation by race in the next few months leading up to the election, it will be interesting to see if the AFC will find a way to bring their spirit of compromise into Guyanese politics at large.

Email: stellasays[at]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stella Says…If only they had a shot to prevent cancer

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

Oh, but they do have a shot to prevent cancer, my friend. This past week, the FDA approved a new drug that offers an outstanding rate of protection against certain types of cervical cancer if given to a young woman before she becomes sexually active.

Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of death for women in the United States until the introduction of the PAP test, which helps to detect early signs of cervical abnormalities. The American Cancer Society reported only 10,520 new cases for cervix cancer in the US in 2004, down from 13,000 cases in 2002.

For developing countries, the incident rate for cervical cancer is significantly higher because far fewer women are able to get the PAP test. The National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) said this type of cancer is still the leading cause of death from cancer among women in developing countries.

The NCCC Website said, "At least 370,000 new cases are identified each year; 80 percent are in developing countries. Rates are highest in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa. An important reason for the sharply higher cervical cancer incidence in developing countries is the lack of effective screening programs aimed at detecting pre-cancerous conditions (dysplasia) and treating them before they progress to invasive cancer."

A 2003 Pan American Health Organisation report cited 51.1 new cases per 100,000 population for cervical cancer in Guyana in 2000. This rate is significantly higher than many of Guyana's neighbouring countries during the same time period. Trinidad and Tobago's incident rate was 33.3, Barbados' rate was 30.4, Suriname's rate was 43.8 and Venezuela's rate was 38.3. These are the most current figures I could locate.

It seems almost all cervical cancers are caused by a sexually transmitted microbe called human papillomavirus (HPV). In a June 11 article, Time explained it like this, "Most of the time, a woman's body can deal with an HPV infection without any trouble--which is a good thing since a majority of sexually active women are believed to develop one at some point in their lives. In a small percentage of cases, the virus persists in the body, and in an even smaller percentage of those cases, the infection triggers a complex process that leads to cervical cancer."

The new vaccine, being manufactured by Merck, is said to have an astounding rate of protection nearing 100 percent for the two most common cancer causing HPV strains. When given to a young woman before she becomes sexually active, this vaccine could prevent her from ever getting cervical cancer that is caused by this HPV virus. Women can still get the vaccine after being sexually active, but the rate of protection decreases.

Imagine that there is a shot that can prevent a form of cancer! This is some of the most heartening news in recent medical history. My mother died at the young age of 48 from another vicious form of cancer, which makes me all the more cautious of this deadly disease. Now it seems as if I can protect my daughters from at least one type of cancer.

However, there is a downside to this monumental medical achievement – the cost. The vaccine, which is given in a series of three shots over a six-month period, costs about US$360. For the just women of my immediate family to get this vaccine, it would cost us well over US$1,000. That is not to say our lives are not worth the money, but that the price tag is far out of reach for many around the world and even here in the US.

In developing countries, this price tag is outrageous. Although I understand these drug companies exist solely to make money, I simply cannot help but consider the fact that they could save so many lives with this drug. Yet the very ones who need this vaccine the most are the ones who stand little chance of getting it.

A discovery such as this should not be withheld from developing countries or the poor in developed countries because of something so trivial as money. It should be manufactured in mass quantities for the lowest price possible and generously distributed around the world.

If I were an executive at Merck, I would not be able to live with myself if I knew at any given minute there were thousands of women worldwide dying a slow and tortuous death simply because I cared more about the bottom line than the lives of those precious women.

Since this vaccine is newly approved by the FDA and doctors have not even started to stock up on it yet, I suppose we have no other choice but to sit back and wait to see what Merck will do. In the meantime, I am hoping the next medical breakthrough will be yet another way to make the threat of cancer a thing of the past.

Email: stellasays[at]

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Stella Says...Could Rohee prove I did not help to unseat the Burnham government?

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

In less than one week there has been two letters to Stabroek News trying to discredit Sweet and Sensitive Freddie and yet another letter to Kaieteur News - from someone I did not know at all - attempting to discredit me by acting like he or she knew me personally.

Me thinks the current government, which according to the Information Liaison to the President, Smart and Sharp Robert Persaud, MBA, is "renowned for its ultra-democratic tendencies," may be a bit perturbed with all of the abundant freedom of press that being enjoyed by the Kaieteur News columnists nowadays.

Speaking of good ole' Smart and Sharp, I received a biting email this week from a kindly housewife named Lolita who was bitterly upset with me for being so harsh on Mr. Persaud about his column from last Sunday. The email was laced with a racist nuance to which I will never succumb no matter how many stories I hear of yesteryear.

Lolita also said she thinks I have a crush on the President (are we still in primary school?) and used some intimidation techniques that included my daughter and a separate statement about skeletons creeping out of my closet. I did not respond to the email, but I would like the alleged housewife to know that I have nothing more in my closet than any other average 37 year-old woman.

The issue with these letters to the Editor and the emails I receive is that one can never be sure if the author is indeed a real person or a phantom name being used by a member or supporter of the government.

I did get an email from a Christian to let me know someone is praying for me in my backslidden condition. Although I truly do not see a return to my former faith, I do appreciate the kind gesture and the prayers.

On a more serious note, I have been corresponding with a young woman who lives in a Berbice village near the Guyoil robbery this week. She relayed the terrifying experience to me and my heart broke when I thought about what she and the rest of her neighbours had to endure at the hands of these terrorists.

This scared young woman told me, "In Guyana, human life it seems is considered equal to that of chicken and fish. A guy is dead and a place is robbed, many were scared and at risk - and that is ok, right? Who cares? No one." Such extreme hopelessness at such a young age struck a chord in my heart as a mother.

There was also a very intelligent and hardworking 16-year-old young lady who was brutally raped and murdered this week. When I consider the fear that plagues the lives of the people, I cannot help but wonder why someone like Clement Rohee is spending so much time writing about the political role Freddie Kissoon played in Guyana decades ago when the young women of Guyana are being killed and terrorised today.

Actually, now that I think about it, Clement Rohee is the Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation. It seems to me that Rohee's focus should be on foreign investment, an area in which Guyana could assuredly use some competent experience, not on a campaign letter writing crusade as if he were in charge of the communications aspects of the party.

Is that not Robert Persaud's job? Why is Rohee doing Smart and Sharp Robert's job? Does he not think Persaud is as Smart and Sharp as the rest of us do? Rohee had better watch out or he may soon be getting an email from that same housewife who shook her finger at me this week. She seemed very protective of Robert Persaud. I wonder if she has a crush on him.

Come to think of it, Persaud did import his fancy MBA pretty quickly. Perhaps he would do better job as Minister of Foreign Trade than Rohee. He is a pretty slick talker too. I bet he could do a great job selling Guyana to investors.

However, I suppose if the members of the government fully and effectively functioned within their assigned roles, they could rely on a solid track record for this campaign season instead of resorting to ancient history and racist politics to get a trickle of votes.

I suppose the question at hand that the people of Guyana should be asking the PPP is, "What have you done for me lately"? Have you stopped the flooding? Have you stopped the crime? Have you fixed the economy? Have you enhanced the educational system?

The answer to all of these critical questions is a resounding no. Just ask those in Lethem about the flooding and my young friend in Berbice about the crime. Maybe Rohee needs to spend more time on fixing the economy and less time writing letters.

For every full-page letter he writes, that is a solid two hours or more he could have spent on trying to enhance relationships with some foreign investor to create jobs for the people. Or if he spent that time reading the letters to the Editor from the people about the issues that are actually important to them, then maybe the PPP would have a better idea of where their focus should really be in this election season.

As an afterthought, while we have everyone switching roles, maybe I could switch roles with Sweet and Sensitive Freddie and become Guyana's premier columnist. Nah, I just don't think I could ever measure up and I'm sure Rohee could uncover a skeleton in my closet and prove that I was never part of helping to unseat the Burnham government.

Email: stellasays[at]

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I support Stella’s campaign against discrimination - Paul R.

Here's a letter from Paul:

I support Stella’s campaign against discrimination

Dear Editor,

Recently in this paper, a letter was published encouraging Christians to boycott the Sidewalk Café because they allowed a group of Guyanese citizens to hold an event at their establishment.

I find it interesting that a faith, which has suffered its share of persecution over the past 2,000 years because of their beliefs, would in turn attempt to persecute other groups of individuals for their beliefs.

As Stella mentioned in one of her recent columns, homosexuals and lesbians are humans just as we are and should not be discriminated against. For the record, I support Stella’s campaign against this discrimination. The gay community is a group of individuals who ascribe to a lifestyle that is condemned by Christianity, but does that give us a right to discriminate against them or encourage such discrimination?

Today in countries that are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists, there is State sponsored discrimination against Christians and Jews. These radicals believe their holy book supports this activity and God will reward them for this campaign. If a poll were conducted in the Christian community on this practice, the overwhelming majority would say that Christians should be free to worship, congregate and share their faith in these countries. Yet, in a country where there is freedom of religion, there are Christian radicals who are now calling for similar control over another group.

I do not and will not ever support discrimination against any group of law-abiding citizens. I do not believe in legislating morality. Who determines which set of morals should be followed? Laws should be made to protect ALL the citizens of a country. As long as an action is not violating the rights of another individual, why should there be laws against it? Murder, rape, stealing and other acts that violate the rights of individuals should have laws that are enforced. However, two consenting adults in a relationship do not fit this category and they should enjoy all the rights of other citizens.

I do support a Christian’s right to believe that homosexuality is a sin, but that should not equate to acts of discrimination. God will be the ultimate judge of the actions of His creation not our interpretation of the scriptures. At its core, Christianity should be about love, compassion and mercy and our message is one of compassion not condemnation. In fact, the only people Jesus condemned were the religious fundamentalists who rallied around religious law and neglected the important matters of the heart. He associated with those who were labeled sinners and his disciples openly defied the laws that were not related to the higher law of love.

Instead of discriminating against consenting adults who in many cases love and care for each other, we should stand up for the rights of all our citizens regardless of race, gender, religion, social status or sexual orientation. We are a nation of Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese, Amerindians, Portuguese, Chinese, Caucasians, heterosexuals, homosexuals, males, females, young, old and many other groups; but above all else we are a part of the human race governed by the law of love, compassion and mercy.

In this election season, let’s stand together and focus on what needs to be done to improve our country and to bring peace and prosperity to our people. Let’s stand against the true evil of the senseless killings, crime, and corruption that is rampant in our homeland. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you; But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Paul R.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Columnist has about-face in defending homosexuality - A. Singh

Here are portions of a letter from today's Kaieteur News in response to my recent column on homosexuality and discrimination:

Columnist has about-face in defending homosexuality

Dear Editor,

I feel compelled to add my two cents, having read the article in the Kaieteur News dated 5th June, 06 by columnist Stella Ramsaroop: Roger Williams, homosexuals are just as human as you and me.

We are living in the last days, times when men are trying to change the standards and moral codes that have been set down centuries ago by God.

God is Holy and just, and will not change, neither will His standards adapt to meet the imaginary progressiveness of the 21st century.

The so-called “new morality” professes to restate codes of conduct in the light of modern knowledge and science, when in actuality it returns to the morality of Rom 1:18, 24,28; instead of progress, it is retrogression.

The new morality code says that sex is an expression of love and should not be prohibited or curtailed; homosexuality is an expression of love between members of the same sex, and therefore should be legalised in order to let people express themselves to one another in a way that seems the most natural.

What utter and reprehensible nonsense!

In the name of compassion, the new morality condones adultery, fornication, etc. Widespread promiscuity could lead to an epidemic of STD.

Mr. Williams' call for a boycott was indeed extreme, but our mission or mandate as Christians is to renounce the 17 works of the flesh enumerated in Gal 5: 19 –21 and to bear the nine-fold fruits of Gal 5:22,23. Ms Ramsaroop said she had a working knowledge of how a Christian feels about homosexuals. This is not a feeling by Christians; it is an immorality condemn by God. Rom 1:27; 28. It is not about being human or reptile; it is about the conduct that precedes that gender.

The word ‘Immorality' does not appear in the scriptures,but it has two basic meanings in modern usage: (1) Sexual impurity and (2) Deceit and falsehood.

Sexual sin – Adultery Ex 20:14, Fornication Acts 15:20, Effeminate 1Cor 6:9, Masturbation 1Cor 6:9, Whoremonger Eph 5:5, Inordinate affection Col 3:5, Homosexual Rom 1: 27, Gen 19:5, Lesbian Rom 1:27, Lewdness Judg 20:6, Nakedness Ex 32:25, Divorce John 4:17,18, Evil Concupiscence Col 3:5

Deceit and Falsehood – Cheating Amos 8:5, Dishonesty 2Cor 4:2, Bribery Job 15:34, Gambling Luke 15:13, Corruption 2 Peter 2:9, Extortion 1Cor 6:10, Fraud Jas 5:4, Slothfulness Rom 12:11

I am in utter shock and dismay at this columnist.... Now, Stella, you must have had a really bad experience with God (which I doubt) to have penned such an article. You were responsible for many coming to know the Lord thru your and your husband's unselfish missionary work.

The many years on the mission field was surely no easy work; yet you went out there and preached the word of Hope to many lost souls. What has become of that message of hope?

The comparisons shared is not to be compared, since immorality has to do with that of the heart, you, the individual, and then the infecting of society, The case of trafficking in persons (children) has to be dealt with by the state, and there is a law in place to deal with that, and so with the case of the Stepfather that is a case for the judicial system and the mother…homosexuality and those cases bear no comparison.

Mr. Roger Williams, keep doing the work Christ called you to do. As Christians our message remains the same. We preach: “Holiness without which no Man shall see God”

This Gospel must resound until everyone has heard.

A. Singh

Stella Says…Smart and Sharp Robert should join the circus

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

I do not believe there has ever been a comedy show, a clown or a joke that has been able to make me laugh as hard as Robert Persaud’s columns. His column from this past weekend was some of his best material and not even my favourite comedian, John Lithgow, could have made me laugh harder.

This Smart and Sharp Information Liaison to the President, MBA (we are so proud of that MBA) should really think about comedy as a full time career. If he can deliver this type of wonderful material with just the right timing, I am sure he would make a fantastic stand-up comedian and could tour the many rum shops of Guyana.

In case you missed this hilarious piece of comedic writing, do not be disheartened because I simply have to share portions of it with as many people as possible.

Let’s start with one of the best lines of his column, “The PPP/C administration has been renowned for its ultra-democratic tendencies, and the opposition and other elements, know that their freedom and rights under the Constitution will never be knowingly violated.”

Oh my! I’m laughing so hard that tears are running down my face and my cheeks are hurting. The PPP is “renowned for its ultra-democratic tendencies”? Wait a minute - is this the same PPP that proudly sued a newspaper last summer for printing a letter? Is this the same PPP that imposed a vice-chancellor on the University against the protests of the institution’s governing board?

Is this the same PPP that allows the criminal elements to overrun the nation while the law-abiding citizens live in constant fear? This PPP has “ultra-democratic tendencies”? Woo hoo, I need to catch my breath for a second.

I recently took my daughter to see a circus when it came through town and it was a fantastic sight with all the clowns and side shows, but Smart and Sharp Robert beats them all hands down and I didn’t even have to buy a ticket for his hilarious show.

Mr. Persaud then called the joint opposition’s new promotional strategy a “campaign of disruption.” Poor Robert, it seems these opposition groups are disrupting his party’s sense of “democracy” and security. I think the PPP finally got the memo that the upcoming election is not in the bag for them. Poor babies!

The slick Information Liaison even pulled a George W. Bush. He deemed the opposition’s actions as “unpatriotic antics.” This is one of my all-time favourite tricks of those who cannot take the heat from a dissenting or questioning voice. When such spineless people get upset at their challengers, they simply deem them “unpatriotic.”

In fact, Mr. Persaud, I do not believe there is anyone more patriotic in any country than the dissenter. Though I am quite sure the PPP likes to surround itself with yes-men rather than those who would question the daily activity of the governing party. However, do not fool yourselves by believing yes-men to be patriotic – instead they are usually opportunistic power-hungry charlatans.

The most entertaining part of Smart and Sharp Robert’s column is the irony of him heralding the PPP as being so democratic at the same time he steps all over the opposition parties. Shame on you, Robert. Perhaps a refresher course in political freedom is in order, eh?

How can one claim to champion democracy and at the same time ridicule every organised dissenting voice in the country? Who is the unpatriotic one in this whole fiasco now, Smart and Sharp?

The best part of any comedic act is when a joke has been perfectly set up. The PPP’s column would not have been half as funny if Sweet and Sensitive Freddie Kissoon had not written a column just the day before on the semi-fascist and totalitarian tendencies of the government as demonstrated in a recent editorial from the Mirror.

When one takes in the actions of the governing party of the past year and the perfect set-up of Freddie’s column the day before Robert Persaud writes a column on how his party is “renowned for its ultra-democratic tendencies,” this is one joke I simply could not allow to slip by.

Finally, as he ends his column, Persaud declared, “In Guyana, the opposition does not need to look too far on how to behave.” Hee, hee. That is grand! Woo, hoo.

I implore all opposition parties to please ignore this completely asinine statement from Smart and Sharp Robert. Please do not look to the PPP for a democratic behavioural model.

The ruling government provides us with all the comedy relief we need, so there is no reason for any of you to jump in and clown around too. Besides, I just don’t think my cheeks could handle many more of these hilarious jokes.

Email: stellasays[at]

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Stella Says…Roger Williams, homosexuals are just as human as you and me

by Stella Ramsaroop

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

This past Wednesday a letter to the Editor caught my eye because it called for Christians to boycott a certain business establishment because it hosted an event for the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).

I am always for a good boycott and since I have a working knowledge of how Christians feel about homosexuals, I knew this letter written by Roger Williams would be celebrated by most of the religious section of society.

However, I thought it would only be right to point out some interesting points that should also be considered. For example, Mr. Williams asked this question, “And why is Bibi Shadeek so silent, given the implications for the entrapment and trafficking in children?” (sic)

I think it is only fair to point out that the trafficking of children in Guyana is not being spearheaded by the homosexual society. In fact, many of the children being trafficked and sexually exploited are handed over by their own parents.

Just this week Kaieteur News featured a stirring story about a young man who was sexually abused by his new stepfather. Once his mother found out, she sent him to live with a family member, but took no legal action against her son’s torturer. The article said she was even staying with the paedophile! This is especially dangerous since she has another young boy in the home as well.

Please take note that this was a supposed heterosexual man who sexually abused this boy – not one of those in attendance at the recent event held by SASOD at the Sidewalk Café. Perhaps if Mr. Williams is so concerned about Guyana’s children, he should boycott the home of this boy’s stepfather. At least then a proven criminal would be targeted.

It may very well be true that Guyana still holds laws on its books concerning consensual sodomy, but those laws should be changed. A person should not go to jail simply because he/she has decided to love someone who is the same gender.

While I am sure there are some homosexual criminals - just as there are heterosexual criminals – a gay person should not be sent to jail simply because of the person they chose to have sex with the night before. I do not know if Guyana has laws against adultery as well, but if it does, then according to Mr. Williams these people should be rounded up and jailed as well for breaking the law.

Mr. Williams stated, “Guyana's criminal law prohibits same-sex relationships and intercourse … for good moral and medical reasons.” He also said Kaieteur News should not accommodate any press releases from such groups as the SASOD. Conversely, I wonder if Mr. Williams realises that his definition of morality may not be shared by the whole nation?

To be sure, there probably is a large portion of the nation who does share the same moral standards as Mr. Williams, but obviously not everyone or there would not have been anyone at the SASOD event.

For those who do not share Mr. Williams’ thoughts on morality and realise the children of Guyana have more to fear from their own family members and neighbours than from the homosexual community, a call for a boycott is a bit extreme.

Antiquated laws and stereotypical generalisations aside, there is another interesting point that I would like to address. The primary Christian Scripture used to vilify homosexuals is based on a letter written from Paul the Apostle to the church at Corinth. In this portion of the letter, Paul is chastising the church.

He said in 1 Corinthians 6:7-10, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

It seems to me that if Mr. Williams is going to call for a boycott against businesses that host events for those who practice a gay lifestyle, he must also boycott businesses who accommodate those who are cheaters, wrongdoers, sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, prostitutes, thieves, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.

Mr. Williams was also concerned that these types of events serve to recruit more to the gay lifestyle. He said, “Labouring under ‘sexual orientation’, the ‘film festival’, ‘exhibition’ and ‘radio programme’ represented nothing more than a recruitment drive for homosexual activity.”

No Mr. Williams, these people are not trying to recruit more people to their way of life. These events are nothing more than a celebration of their lives, much like what you do when you go to church on Sunday mornings and celebrate your own life.

These events also allow others to see that those in the homosexual community are not aliens with antennas coming out of their heads; they are normal human beings with human emotions just like you and me. Trust me, a person will not become homosexual simply because they walk by the Sidewalk Café while it is hosting an event for the SASOD.

I understand that there are some who, like Mr. Williams, are concerned about events like this. After all, such happenings challenge what we have been taught as acceptable and proper.

However, I simply think it is unwarranted to be so alarmed when a group of homosexuals get together. It would be far more beneficial to spend our energies trying to jail the real child molesters (like that man who molested his young stepson), the thieving criminals and the swindling politicians. These are the people who are dragging Guyana’s morality into a cesspool of grime.

Email: stellasays[at]

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Stella Says…It’s time to clean up Guyana, starting with the politicians

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 01 June 2006)

In this year’s May/June edition of Foreign Affairs, an article entitled, “The Long War Against Corruption” talked about how corruption in developing countries is undermining international goals of development.

The article quoted from Martin Meredith’s book, “The Fate of Africa,” when it noted, “that out of more than 50 countries on the continent today, only South Africa and Botswana are better off than those African countries freed from colonialism were four decades ago, despite hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid.”

The article continued, “Massive embezzlement and extortion by officials in recipient countries, weak financial administration, and lack of oversight have limited the effect of international assistance.”

However, the most eye-opening piece of the article paints a scary picture for developing countries. “Developed countries may be wary of financing new programs, such as the next round of the UN Millennium Challenge Account…unless they are credibly assured that effective corruption controls are in place.”

Which bring us back to Guyana. Up to the point of this article’s submission, there has been nothing but deafening silence from the government in regards to important developing matters in recent days. Allegations of corruption and wrongdoing are rampant with yet another taped conversation.

In the words of the AFC’s Khemraj Ramjattan from yesterday’s Kaieteur News, “…it is a shame that the PPP government and President are not reacting in any way to this most abhorrent development within the higher echelons of the police force.”

I could not agree more with Mr. Ramjattan. Where is the condemnation of law enforcement officials who plant drugs on unsuspecting citizens? Where is the outrage that a public official would behave in such an inappropriate manner? Quite honestly, it is also an outrage that nothing has been said or done as yet.

There are always those who want proof of corruption in Guyana – as if corrupt behaviour is conducted in daylight while the world is watching. No, this type of behaviour occurs in the shadows. However, if anyone wants proof of corruption, the silence on this matter from both of Guyana’s longstanding parties is all the proof anyone needs.

Meanwhile, this newspaper reported yesterday that some citizens have grown weary with the injustice of the current system and plan to stage a week-long protest against “what they term as the government's inaction towards bringing the crime situation in the country under control. This move has stemmed from the detention of numerous persons, who have not been charged, during the operation currently underway by the Joint Services.”

Good for them! It is a scary thing when those whom we trust to protect and serve us become the very ones we should fear. I do not for one second believe every officer is corrupt.

However, this is truly a case when a little yeast will leaven the whole batch since even those who attempt to keep their hands clean will eventually be faced with a decision to turn in their fellow corrupt officers or keep their mouths shut.

The international community can impose strict anticorruption laws that require the complicity of developing countries that want to receive aid, but who is going to enforce those laws? It is difficult to keep a vigilant eye on suspected corruption within developing countries such as Guyana.

Ultimately, it is protests like the one previously mentioned that would create an inhospitable environment for corrupt public servants. If the government will not demand justice, and they do seem to be too busy doing something else to do anything about this recent tape situation, then it is up to the people to stand up and demand that justice prevails.

If the protests do not work, don’t lose heart yet. There is still one more way to make sure that your government officials hear your demands for justice – it’s in the voting booth. That is the beauty of democracy; if one government refuses to cater to the will of the people then they can simply replace it with a more responsive government.

There use to be a time when the PPP would not be afraid of an election since they were all but guaranteed a victory. Those days are over now and this is the year that the voice of the people will finally be heard.

It is time to clean up Guyana – and it should start with the corrupt law enforcement officials and politicians. After those criminals are properly disposed of, the rest will fall into place naturally.

Email: stellasays[at]