Divide & Rule: Racism in Guyana – by Rosaliene Bacchus

Another informative blog entry from Guyana-born Rosaliene Bacchus. keep up the good work Rosaliene!

Three Worlds One Vision

High Court with Statue of Queen Victoria - Georgetown - GuyanaThe High Court with Statue of Queen Victoria – Georgetown – Guyana

Rude citizen! think you I do not know
that love is stammered, hate is shouted out
in every human city in this world?
Men murder men, as men must murder men,
to build their shining governments of the damned.
From the poem “After One Year” by Martin Carter (1927-1997)


I entered this world during a period of upheaval: the decline of the British Empire and the rise of the United States as a world power. As the British and American governments jostled to protect their interests, they fractured my small world. The British sought to secure their economic gains. The Americans feared having another communist nation in their backyard.

The British exploited the weakness within our first political party that had united the two major ethnic groups, totaling 81.6 percent of the population: East Indians (50.8 percent)…

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 08/04/2013 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks, Cyril.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 08/06/2013 at 8:35 am

    I was going to form my own opinion of the ‘Divide & Rule: Racism in Guyana’ article; but Kamptan de Castro has stimulated me to express myself differently, in the sense that I would like to play on his words: I AGREE that the media has an important part to play in Nation-building. The media decides what we think about and talk about today, and every day. I DISAGREE that Brazil is an example of racial harmony [check out my comments on this blog pertaining to ‘Brazil – Slavery and Struggle for Racial Equality’ and ‘Brazil in Black and White’].

    I AGREE the poor are in the majority … I DISAGREE the poor dictate/decide who rules the roost. If you believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, that would make sense. In reality, the rich, the economically powerful and the privileged rule the roost. Poverty is legislated. There is no legislation preventing the poor from becoming rich; but there is legislation that benefit the wealthy, that the poor cannot access.

    I AGREE Guyana must learn from the mistakes of others by not repeating them … to put it another way: Don’t let your past [personal] experiences be your jailer. In other words, aptly applied to our national experience, I would say, ditch the colonial mentality – grow up!! Come 2016 we will be celebrating 50-years of independence. Growing up is not happening fast enough!!

  • Thinker  On 08/06/2013 at 2:23 pm

    Once you have different ethnicities and cultures in the same society, you will have certain cleavages at the political level. Happens all over the world and Guyana is no different. Sensible people try to minimise these through well-thought out constitutions, understanding of history and culture, political coalitions etc. It’s not simply a matter of divide and rule, although it is often used for political ends.

    • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 08/06/2013 at 4:28 pm

      Thinker, I agree that the difficulties we face in Guyana do not stem “simply (from) a matter of divide and rule.” Multi-ethnic societies are complex and, as you suggest, require laws that protect the rights of all groups.

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