July 17, 2008


Posted in Guyana, Philosophy, Politics, Religion tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:03 pm by randallbutisingh

Randall Butisingh – Newspaper Interview: Question 3 of 10.


Randall Butisingh was recently asked a number of questions by a newspaper feature writer. This was the third of ten questions with the answer. We will feature these questions and answers in ten blog entries.

Question: List the top three things that you would like to see in Guyana.

Answer: The top three things I would like to see are :-
1.  A nation who looks to God primarily for its guidance and are tolerant and respectful of one another’s religion and culture.

According to the 2002 Census, Guyana’s religions breakdown is 51.4% Christian (16.9% Pentecostal, 8.1% Roman Catholic, 6.9% Anglican, 3% Seventh-day Adventist, 16.5% other Christian denominations); 28.4% Hindu, 7.3% Muslim, 4.3% no religion, 0.5% Rastafarian, 0.1% Bahá’í, and 2.2% other faiths. Many Indians are Christian but may also adhere to Hindu customs. However, the mix of various religions call for tolerance and respect for various cultures.

Personally, I grew up as a Christian living in Buxton on the East Coast of Demerara. However, I was exposed to the Hindu religions as well. Later I was also involved in the study of the teachings of the Quran as well as other religions. This exposure to various religions has made me even more aware that they are all branches of the same tree that leads to the one God. Mankind is indivisible and the cultural differences that sem to divide us are miniscule when compared to the things we share in common.

2. A government that is truly national in which all the ethnic groups are treated alike with justice and fair play.

The requirement for a “Nationalistic government” is paramount due to the historical reality of Guyana. The 2002 census reported  that the racial breakdown was : East Indian 43.5%, African 30%, Mixed, Amerindian  and others 26.3%.This census reflected a decrease in both the East Indian and African population and the increase in the Mixed and Amerindian parentage.

The need for the Rule of Law, justice and fair play is a requirement in all governments. In a multiracial and multicultural society like Guyana, it is a prerequisite, or there will be unrest. This is especially so based on the experiences Guyana has had since 1962, with racial and political conflict between the two major races. I lived through the riots, killings and burnings of 1962.  I had to leave my village and friends who were Africans and seek refuge in a neighbouring village where strangers accomodated me because of my ethnicity.  My family was however sheltered by African friends during the carnage.  I truly understand how societies can self-destruct when politicians use people as pawns for their own selfish interests.
Political parties in Guyana have to stop using race and fear to solidify their bases of support and work for the true interests of Guyana in the development of the nation.

3. A country in which there is Law and Order, where people can feel secure and be assured of justice at all times and in all circumstances.

A country where there is a genuine effort by the administration to heal the divisions in society and to treat all crime as it deserves.  Where the people can expect fair play; where trials are expeditious and people are not kept incarcerated for long periods without trial, where ihe media is not intimidated and muzzled.and where judicial behaviour is not politically motivated. This will surely gain the respect and loyalty of its citizens and move it forward as a country that promotes law and order.

A high crime rate engenders fear and retards development; visitors are afraid to enter the country; and in a country as beautiful as Guyana much revenue is lost to tourism and foreign investment. This fosters an attitude of looking outside rather than inside for development and the solving of problems.  The continual emigration of Guyanese, around 80% of university graduates,, nurses, teachers and other skilled workers for economic or political resons is draining its brain and brawn and leaving a residue (there are more Guyanese living abroad than there are in the country) of mediocrity and incompetence which is not a good sign for a country which was once noted for its scholars and which attracted many visitors from the Caribbean and abroad.

— Statistics resesrched/editing done by Cyril Bryan


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