Guyana and Black History— High time to change the Story – By Yvonne Sam

Guyana and Black History— High time to change the Story

By Yvonne Sam


Yvonne Sam

We are currently in the month of February, traditionally the period when Black History Month is celebrated. The truth be told Guyanese do not need to worry in any way shape or form about negritude or history as both are being daily celebrated. To be clear and also frank, Guyanese in Guyana have failed to make the progress that they mouthed, spouted and voted for. In fact, it appears that they have fast forwarded backward.  So let us forget about placating ourselves by celebrating Black History Month. We have not broken any stereotypes. We have made no progress.We just haven’t.     

When will we start allowing the world to once again acknowledge our once famous country, not one month out of the twelve, but every single day? Guyana the country that is larger than New York State——home of the largest eagle, largest water lily,  home to No. 2 ranked top waterfalls in the world, home of the largest rainforest in the world.

When will we begin to treat one another as fellow citizens, and realize that our country that is being destroyed was built because our forefathers and mothers were willing to go the extra mile even laying down their lives, all in the name of progress? When, oh when will we come to realize that we need to support each other as a culture? The time is now for the truth to be faced and bravely spoken.  The truth about what it is like this day—this very moment in time to be a Guyanese living in Guyana—- The double standards in the education system, the government, the police, the business world, the spiritual arena etc.

Here is another serving of truth, although some may not like to hear it, but then again how can we pull ourselves up by our yachting boots strings in a country replete with visual and auditory deficients.  We are still a divided nation, national disunity is still prevalent and the election promise nowhere near to being fulfilled. Where is the emotion and anger at the unthinkable wrongs that are still being done – to our own people by our own people? We started out behind, and are still behind. That’s the reality.

How can we go about changing things, being proactive rather than reactive and destructive?

Here are some steps along with a caveat. Let it be known that I do not claim to have a monopoly on answers, remedies or solutions. Let us stop being silent when we see wrong being done. Silence is endorsement.  Why are we killing each other? The answer will speak volumes about the value we place on ourselves, answers the question as to the esteem in which we hold each other, and how we have been conditioned to think less of ourselves and each other.  So let us stop violence against each other, especially the ongoing abuse of our women. It is time to step out of the past and come to the realization and awareness that God created us in his own likeness.

Initiate previously avoided conversations with each other and call out cronyism or racism when it is seen, heard or practiced.  The time to be afraid has passed. We must find our voice and guard our hearts. It is imperative that we start now, striving cooperatively, intentionally and with courage and continuing long past February 28. Remember that it is not all about us but also the children and their future. Enough is enough! Let the action start. After all Black History begins with a positive “who am I experience”, not hero-worshipping.

Yvonne Sam.

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  • Deen  On February 16, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Yvonne Sam you are candid, telling it like it is….the truth sayer.
    Thanks and please continue the fact that Guyana is still a divided country. Politics and political leaders continue to be partisan to keep the people divided because of their retention of power and control. Economically, Guyana has made some headway, there is a lot of revelation of corruption and “tiefing,” but a lot of work remains to be done in terms of employment and development and above all, social cohesiveness, the people remain poor, unemployment and crime remain high, and Guyana remain divided. It desperately to work more diligently to realize it’s motto “One people, one nation, one destiny.”

    • Janet James  On February 16, 2017 at 11:03 am

      There is still corruption and nepotism. When is this country going to be rid of corrupted politicians and judiciary?

  • Albert  On February 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Yvonne article left me confused. Guyana has a number of races. The progress of one is entwined with the progress of the others.

    Secondly, Guyana is a tiny country, with limited resources, a small population dependent on western capitalist countries. In other words it depends on “hands-out” from the West. How much development do you expect from such a country.

    Thirdly, we never had good political leadership especially in the face of racial division. The so called leaders fight to stay in power, get resources for their party or to full their pockets.

    Fourthly, where does Guyanese culture come from? Western media, movies, education, western capitalist greed and money culture etc. What do you extract from sewage.

    The idea of God is a different story.

  • Hermina  On February 16, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Get a life Albert that is my suggestion. You are certainly confused and bemused to start out with, or are you just responding for the sake of writing?.
    Yvonne Sam as always has very clearly stated the facts that bears out her point, and here you are straying off on different tangents. Basically what you are doing, is restating the very points that are referred to in the article and twisting them around to make what you think is a comment.
    The size of Guyana and its limited resources was never an issue. Are you erudite enough to recall the slogan under which the APNU/AFC campaigned. That has not been fulfilled.
    Incidentally, do you have a definition of Guyanese culture. Guyanese culture not only reflects the large influence of its African and Indian descendants, but also British, native Amerindian, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Caribbean, and American cultures. Show the connection between present day Guyana and western capitalism. I suggest you read the book by Percy Hintzen entitled Charisma and Guyana’s challenge to Western capitalism.
    Try to extract something from a juxtaposed version of the song” What culture and resource has to do with it?

  • Albert  On February 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    OK Hermina, have read your piece. I was looking at the big picture and assumed that most informed people took it for granted that there was a high degree of correlation between American money and material capitalistic culture and Guyana. To make one of many points as far back as the 70’s Guyana consumed over 80% of its GDP by buying western (mostly American) goods and services. Foodstuff, demoralizing entertainment, technology, clothing, literature etc. Much went the barrel route. One would assume over the years a country’s people become conditioned, subjected and dependent on what they are accustom to consume from abroad.
    My point is what’s the surprise. Guyana is getting what it bought from abroad.

  • Hermina  On February 18, 2017 at 12:48 am


    Here we go again. Give me your feed back on the banning of certain items and the long lines for rice, flour, butter, cooking oil, toothpaste, toilet paper to name a few. And I wouldn’t even bore you with the ones that were banned. People getting their vehicles seized and left to rot at Brickdam impound for as little as a pound of flour. Try to get you facts straight on the GDP. There was a time,around the same time of which you are speaking when 1 Guyana dollar was equal to 50 American cents.
    The gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period; you can think of it as the size of the economy. So figure that one out.
    In conclusion no part of Miss Sam’s article alluded to any form of surprise but a mere call for a change .
    Pray tell me, what did Guyana buy from abroad?

  • needybad4u  On February 4, 2019 at 1:55 am

    we waited fervently at the beginning
    we made ardent strides
    in the long march for freedom.
    ~ Leonard Dabydeen

    University of Hunger (~Martin Carter (1927-1997 / Guyana)

    is the university of hunger the wide waste.
    is the pilgrimage of man the long march.
    The print of hunger wanders in the land.
    The green tree bends above the long forgotten.
    The plains of life rise up and fall in spasms.
    The huts of men are fused in misery.

    They come treading in the hoofmarks of the mule
    passing the ancient bridge
    the grave of pride
    the sudden flight
    the terror and the time.

    They come from the distant village of the flood
    passing from middle air to middle earth
    in the common hours of nakedness.

    Twin bars of hunger mark their metal brows
    twin seasons mock them
    parching drought and flood.

    is the dark ones
    the half sunken in the land.
    is they who had no voice in the emptiness
    in the unbelievable
    in the shadowless.

    They come treading on the mud floor of the year
    mingling with dark heavy waters
    and the sea sound of the eyeless flitting bat.
    O long is the march of men and long is the life
    and wide is the span.

    is the air dust and the long distance of memory
    is the hour of rain when sleepless toads are silent
    is broken chimneys smokeless in the wind
    is brown trash huts and jagged mounds of iron

    The come in long lines toward the broad city
    is the golden moon like a big coin in the sky
    is the floor of bone beneath the floor of flesh
    is the beak of sickness breaking on the stone
    O long is the march of men, and long is the life
    and wide is the span
    O cold is the cruel wind blowing.
    O cold is the hoe in the ground.

    They come like sea birds
    flapping in the wake of a boat
    is the torture of sunset in purple bandages
    is the powder of the fire spread like dust in the twilight
    is the water melodies of white foam on wrinkled sand.

    The long streets of night move up and down
    baring the thighs of a woman.
    and the cavern of generation.
    The beating drum returns and dies away.
    The bearded men fall down and go to sleep.
    The cocks of dawn stand up and crow like bugles.

    is they who rose early in the morning
    watching the moon die in the dawn.
    is they who heard the shell blow and the iron clang.
    is they who had no voice in the emptiness
    in the unbelievable
    in the shadowless.
    O long is the march of men and long is the life
    and wide is the span.
    ~ Martin Carter

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