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Roysdale Forde attempts to trivialise slavery must be condemned

Dear Editor,
The Opposition continues to display a pattern of blatant distortion of facts, misrepresentation of policies, and outright fabrication.
While the eyes of the world were on Guyana as the descendants of the former British Prime Minister William Gladstone offered an apology for their family’s past as enslavers, the APNU cabal actively campaigned to shift the spotlight away from this historic event.
In so doing, the party’s racist underbelly was exposed. Roysdale Forde’s comments on the apology demonstrate a total lack of historical awareness, sensitivity, and understanding of the impact of slavery on societies and individuals.
Forde expressed that “sadly in the 21st century independent Guyana, the Ali Government, in many ways, is not different from the colonial masters and enslavers.” (Village Voice, 8/28/2023).
He then called on the President to do the unthinkable and offer an apology. Comparing the freedoms that were fought for and are enjoyed today should never be equated to the regime of slavery that existed hundreds of years ago.
His comments serve to trivialise the impact of slavery, disregarding the experiences of countless individuals who endured unimaginable hardships, and also undermine our ability to learn from the mistakes of the past.
For this, he should be condemned. Slavery is undeniably one of the darkest chapters in human history, marked by immense suffering, dehumanisation, and the systematic violation of basic human rights.
It is disheartening to witness the extent to which Forde has journeyed to deceive the public in furtherance of his own political agenda, particularly given his own involvement in the orchestrated coup against the leadership of the PNC.
This latest campaign of falsehoods has not only demonstrated a complete lack of integrity but also a deliberate attempt to mislead the public and undermine the Government’s efforts towards fostering an inclusive and diverse society.
The President has been a strong advocate for the Caricom reparations initiative – a call for justice, equality, and compensation for those who have historically suffered atrocities under the system of slavery.
This demonstrates the President’s commitment to addressing past wrongs and working towards mutual understanding and reconciliation between diverse peoples.
By supporting policies that seek to right historical wrongs, our Government has demonstrated an understanding of the importance of acknowledging our past in order to build a better future for all – one grounded in fairness and equality.
We live in an increasingly complex world, where diversity and multiculturalism are ever-present. It is therefore crucial that those who present themselves as leaders understand the importance of being respectful, inclusive, and supportive of all citizens. We will not stand idly by while the Opposition tarnishes the reputation of our dedicated President and undermines the trust that our citizens have placed in our Government.
Their persistent propagation of baseless accusations only serves to erode the foundations of our democracy and sow seeds of doubt among our citizens.
The Government remains dedicated to working towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all our citizens. We encourage all stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and collaborate on initiatives that genuinely uplift our nation.

Prime Minister
Brigadier (Retd)
Mark Phillips