Breathe Again – by Ewalt (Waltie) Ainsworth

This article/story is one of many on this site that has been written byGuyana-born Ewalt (Waltie) Ainsworth.  He left Guyana in the early 1980’sand now lives in New Jersey. He is now almost totally blind but this impediment has not stopped his academic studies or his ability to craft his interesting and sometimes amusing stories about Guyana, the USA, and life.  E-mail:


By Ewalt (Waltie) Ainsworth

The peeps (people), residents and dissidents of the 592 republic will be able to breathe again if only the candidate of the opposition APNU plans a deliberate and sustained psychological program to defeat the incumbent PPP at the polls.  One sure way to overcome the dictatorship without becoming a dictator in residence is to assemble and sequester young blood with new ideas and a can-do attitude.  The emphasis must not be on winning but willing to narrow the disparities, close the achievement gap and bringing back a group collective spirit sense of self worth powered by the cumulative experiences of Guyanese.

Two decades of sufferation, suffocation, corruption, devolution, degradation and mass migration, is a long-long time.  More Indo Guyanese have slipped over the borders than their black neighbours to Suriname, Cayenne, Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad, Barbados et al.  The black people have remained behind “to see what will happen next?”

Not very many people alive can recall when the front door key used to be left in the flower pot and   paynuse from the cow used to be a man’s relish.   There was also a time when flour bag and rice bag used to make curtains and floor mats and the material of choice for intimate apparel.  Listening to death announcement used to be the official signal for bedtime.  These days, this is the time people leave home to hustle on the mean streets of Bartica, Linden, New Amsterdam and Corriverton.  Guyanese do not trust each other anymore.  One man from D’edward complained that his dog swam the Berbice River in protest of the high tolls, ended up in Paramaribo and launched a petition with the embassy over there.   The dogs too need to breathe again.

Guyana needs to breathe again.  The new ethos must be based on a wholesale collaborative to enable Guyanese to be citizens and not consumers.  Self-welfaring in which the new gadgets, gizmos, cars, toys, games must not be the metrics for development.  Material gain must be rendered obsolete and that thrust to re-enter the global market, eliminating the disparities and putting one ethnic group against the other, must be in the past.  The pursuit of academic excellence must also be emphasized.

Indo Guyanese in metropolitan societies do not disclose their identity.   This group, any group, must be proud of its heritage whether they are of Portuguese, Chinese, European or Amerindian ancestry.  Trinidadians do not hesitate to tell you how close to the ‘bone’ they are. It is worst than pulling teeth. The way they behave overseas. They would welcome you with open arms and open legs as long as you do not delve into their country of origin.

Black folks on the other hand, talk openly about the cost of living, who they jook , who jook them, who change, who transitioned and who left handed. They also talk in loud gusto about crime, the corruption, the cost of doing businesses, who come and who can’t come.  Worse, do not let them know your physical address or else they would send you unsolicited bottles of ‘company-water.’  This natural beverage, has a way of bringing peeps, men and women from every ethnic stripe, gender, religion, age, race et all, together.  Company-water is marketed as a cure-all and elixir.

The APNU has to claw its way into the psyche of the peeps, make them feel comfortable in their own skin and make them rally from within.  Everything from outside, comes with an expiry date and a whole list of instructions.  We are all fitted with a conscience and an expectation to do good based on cultural nuances and the opportunity to breathe again.

Constitutionally, elections are due before the end of the year.  Jagdeo has already held his ‘appreciation-day’ observances.  In one press report, he has crowned his years in Office as President as being “stellar and sterling.”  Someone asked him to the contrary if “you are not ashamed of yourself for ruining the country?”  His retort: ”I am proud to be ashamed of myself” and proceeded to list tokens of appreciation like laptops, kites, entertainment centers and frequent flier miles racked up in trips overseas.

Jagdeo is folding his tent and is counting the millions he has amassed and wants the peeps to forget the past.

This is his way to exit stage left and the peeps would be right in going to the polls in numbers and do the right thing, so that as a group collective, we can all breathe again.

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  • dawn chesney  On 10/06/2011 at 11:25 pm

    Hi waltie i read the blog and it really took me back as i would say in memory of the times when i was in my early teens growing up with my brothers and sisters with my parents in the country .

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