OPINION: Guyanese gone out – By Dave Martins


Last week, with Kamala Harris named to run with Joe Biden in his presidential push, there was a powerful piece online about the significant role her father, Donald Harris, played in her development.

I know they get a lot of knocks in the region for their flamboyance, but time and again Jamaicans come through as a people of substance, sometimes, as in this case, stressing the simpler and more humane side of things (and, okay, sometimes right at the same time going overboard as they are wont to do) but, generally, a culture where we find the tradition (as in the Kamala case) or history or reverence that they seem to be naturally drawn to.   

You look at the balanced position of a Donald Harris and in the midst of admiring the man’s approach you have to stop and recognise that we are often failing in the Caribbean in those very areas.  Look at the melee in Guyana and in Trinidad with our elections – I mean, elections, man; what the devil is the matter with us?  This is our nation. I see how we are behaving ignoring the COVID precautions, plus trying to rig a voting result… in this day and age? We have some matters to fix.  We make excuses for these things, but there are so many areas in the region where we are falling short, and some of the biggest names among us are looking like buffoons, or worse.

Consider the recent melee in Guyana over the national elections that seemed to continue without end. At the very same time, in our region, look at the debacle in the Cayman Islands with an ongoing melee over whether to rebuild their port to accommodate cruise ships when the COVID-19 lockdown ends. Yes, we see some people there speaking out about it, but they’re in the minority.  Yes, there are some of us shouting “pride in one’s self” for Caribbean people, but so often it’s Jamaicans getting it right and so many of the rest of us standing on the sidelines.

The J’s can go overboard and rub you raw with it, but at least they are often making the effort that the rest of the region is passing on.  Look at Kamala’s story and how that one Jamaican man’s influence is bearing fruit. It is infuriating, leaves you cussing, when some haughty European, right here in Guyana, bold and brave, is ridiculing Caribbean people, even making jokes, the same Europeans who were the engines in slavery and colonial misery, and now we have to listen to that slam, knowing that the people often have a good case against us, and we just handed it to them, and we continue in the same vein. Hats off to Donald Harris, and Mia Mottley and the St. Lucian PM.

I just wish we had a bunch more like them in the region. One of these days, right? I was hearing that as a youngster growing up in West Demerara; I’m hearing it still. One day!  One day is right now and in some ways it looks, as Guyanese say, like “we gone out.”
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  • Jo  On 08/27/2020 at 6:04 pm

    Dave: RE Kamala Harris: She never referred to her father as being part of her upbringing. He mentioned the divorce but somehow no daughter speaks of any ongoing close relationship with him. He injected himself into the narrative..the article is a few years old..but oddly is not to be seen in any photos Kamala has posted. But yes, he seems to have had a very good value system based on his family’s hard work and accomplishment. He paid homage to his female forebears. Good for him.

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