The coming together of the people of Linden in 2012, should inspire the coming together of the people of Guyana at this defining moment.
Yesterday 18th of July, we honoured the memory of Shemroy Bouyea, Allan Lewis and Ron Somerset and are comforted by their spirit which remains in our midst.
This comfort is rooted in our belief that as citizens of this land we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
In that the struggle to ensure this equality, led to the demise of our comrades, our heroes, Guyana’s heroes, was inspired and remains inspired in the fact that this land is ours from the Rupununi to the Corentyne, from the greenheart forest to Atlantic waters, this land was made for us, serves as impetus to keep pushing on! And if this land was made for us, then it means that we have a right to be treated as first class citizens, a right to every square inch and all the Exclusive Economic Zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in relation to Guyana.
That the people of Linden/Region 10 three years ago came out in their thousands for weeks on end to signal to a government that as citizens of this land, we shall accept no less than what we are entitled to, and Shemroy, Ron and Allan have paid the ultimate price, while others were injured and we remained undeterred is testimony to what we as people are capable of.
We face similar threats, though this time from foreign places, I paraphrase Dave Martins and the Tradewinds to say that we ent backing down…we ent giving up no mountain, we ent giving up no sea, we ent giving up no river, because all belong to we!
18th July 2012 when darkness shrouded this blessed nation, blood, tears and sweat drenched our soil, the anguish of our people to sanctioned police brutality made sunset a time never to be forgotten. For this is the day that marked a new beginning in the nation’s history when a people confronted adversity in the spirit of oneness not seen in the country for sometime.
Today as we weep, some audibly and others in silence, the physical absence of Shemroy, Ron and Allan in our midst, and though we miss our brothers dearly, our grief must not immobilise us, because if we are immobilized then we allow the forces of darkness to conquer us.
In this midst of sorrow, we must find strength. The strength to continue to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, to keep hope alive as we pursue the dream to live in this blessed land as One People, One Nation, One Destiny.
The strength to defy adversity and press on in the conviction that our lives and the lives of our fallen comrades will only end the day we stop believing in ourselves and our abilities. That needed strength that while complacency beckons now that we have a new government, to recognise that we cannot let up, give up, or quit until every aspect of the 21st August 2012 Agreement between Central Government and Region 10 Regional Democratic Council is honoured!
We must look within and draw from deep within us the needed stamina to journey on to ensure an Agreement written and sealed with our blood, sweat and tears come to fruition. This government has committed to honour the Agreement.
To honour an Agreement that requires the return of the television station gifted to the people of Linden by Green Construction, to ensure that the people of Region 10 participate in the crafting of an Economic Plan for their development, to have the people’s involvement in examining and developing an affordable and reliable electricity sector, to have members of the required ministries sit on the Land Selection Committee that we now have under our control. All of this we agreed to, all of this we deserve, and all of this we must have.
And while I repose confidence in this administration that they will respond to our years of struggle for equal rights and justice, as we keep our eyes on this prize let us not lose sight of the threat to our statehood by our neighbour, Venezuela. This threat comes at a time when each and every one of us is called on to remember not what country can do for us but what we can do for country. This time is now to do our bit for Guyana. Let us cooperate for Guyana and resolve to fight together. Yes we can!
As Guyanese, we must raise our voices in unison across the Atlantic Ocean so President Maduro can hear us, voicing Dave Martins’ “not one cuirass, not a blade of grass!”All are aware by now of the rapidity of the absence of sensibility by President Maduro to think there is validity in his claim to what is not Venezuela’s.
This covetousness to an inch, much less two-third of our land, we must not accept and is clearly non-negotiable. We do not need any identification card for any part of our 83, 000 square miles, other than the one marked the Cooperative Republic of Guyana! Guyana is our home and no one must put us out of our home. Only a fool allows himself to be evicted from his own home and Guyanese are not fools. Guyanese are not fools.
Brothers and sisters these are serious times. Serious enough to warrant us standing together, regardless of which party we support or which race we belong to, and I use these two identifications because they are often used not to play to the better angels within us. Race and politics must not divide us on any claim to our sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this we are One and must remain One. If we must fight- and fight we must to guard what belongs to us- let us fight together. Yes we can!
In 1899 the International Tribunal settled the boundary dispute between Guyana and Venezuela. We must see this ruling as binding and non-negotiable! While our national leaders engage in diplomacy to have good sense prevail on the part of Venezuela’s leadership, as citizens- be we at home or abroad- we in our own little way can add our voice to foil any rude invader. Let us ask every one we know to join us in condemning this existential threat to our statehood. Let us inform everyone that while we empathise with the economic challenges faced by Venezuelans under President Madura’s leadership, we shall not roll over and accept anybody taking from us what is rightly ours!
A peaceful people we are but any talk about taking over, we ent backing down. If Guyana is allowed to drill for the oil it is said we have, it means economic development for us and greater independence. It means our dependency on oil-producing country, notably Venezuela, will be a thing of the past and we will have greater opportunities for charting our development and standing stronger on our feet. It means greater security for us as a people since oil will no longer be used as a financial weapon over our heads to restrict the potentials and bounty of this blessed land and her people.
The people of Guyana in One Voice must put President Madura on notice that we ent giving up nothing and we ent backing down. All 83,000 square miles and the Exclusive Economic Zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in relation to Guyana remain ours! In One Voice we must commit to cherish and defend forever this nation that gave us, our parents and fore-parents birth.
What propelled the people of Linden/Region 10 in 2012 and fellow Guyanese who joined us in the struggle are the same things that must propel us to carry out the 2012 Agreement and ward off Venezuela’s aggression. These are grit and determination to stand up and fight for what is rightly ours. We ent giving up. Let all Guyana know we ent giving up. Let embroiled President Madura and the good people of Venezuela know that we ent giving up nothing that belong to we. “Not one Blue Saki, not one rice grain, not a drop of water from the Pomeroon!”
May the souls of Shemroy, Allan and Ron continue to Rest In Peace. Though they no longer walk among us they will never be forgotten.
May God continue to bless us all.