by Forbes Burnham
Posted on 2011-01-25
We in Guyana will soon be citizens of an independent nation and it is well for us to decide positively and in time, what type of Guyana we want or don't want. We in the People's National Congress want our country to be free from all forms of foreign and outside domination. Guianese have experienced British rule for over a century; sometimes it has been harsh and dictatorial; sometimes it has been callous and arrogant; sometimes it has been hypocritical and paternalistic, but never dictated by the real and best interest of Guyanese. We are still poor in the midst of rich potential; our country is still underdeveloped in the midst of great resources.
But having freed ourselves from our British masters, will we accept the bondage and tutelage of a new set of masters; will we exchange the Union Jack for the Hammer and Sickle? Neither flag represents our aspirations, traditions or history.
The People's National Congress is one with the People's Progressive Party in desiring an end to British rule, but refuses to pawn our country and our future to a new mother country in the distant east. The people's National Congress does not want Guyana to be a satellite of some great power bloc, it wants Guyana to have a personality of its own and to be a prosperous and progressive country.
We realise all to keenly that the old economic system under which the rich become richer and the poor poorer, under which some are destined to be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, while some are ordained to rule, must go.
It is our conviction that our economy and society have to be revolutionised and the interest and happiness of the majority made the paramount concern of the Government and Community.
The emphases have to be changed and the little man be given the opportunities he has hitherto been denied. We are socialists, we are Democrats, and aim at a system which recognises in precept and practice the dignity, worth and ability of the ordinary man. We are for social and political democracy.
On the other hand, we do not equate socialism with regimentation, the substitution for the elite of birth and wealth, of an elite of slogan prattling sycophants to some new dictator; we are resolutely opposed to both; we will not if we can help it see Guyana jump out of the frying pan into the fire.
While seeking to change the whole economic and social system, the People's National Congress is dedicated to the establishment and preservation of the democratic and human rights as embodied in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights. We are nobody's fool, we are no one's pawn, we are Guyanese Nationalists.
(Extract from LFS Burnham's Speech over Radio Paramaribo dated 28th July, 1963)