A good neighbour, Trinidad and Tobago Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
July 14, 2002

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LAST week, Trinidad journalist, Raoul Pantin, in examining the tragic events in Georgetown on July 3, chose to warn his country folks of `The Fire Next Door’ (Guyana), title of his 'Sunday Express' column.

Seeking to draw lessons for Trinidad and Tobago, in view of its own racial/political divide, he said: "The kind of bile and racist invective that is being bandied about (in that twin-island state) will simply get worse - and Guyana isn't the only example of what happens to societies that allow themselves to get carried away by racial or religious acrimony..."

Timely reminder indeed for a society whose people have so far demonstrated remarkable maturity, compared with those who have allowed themselves to be exploited here in Guyana.

This maturity, in evidence over the years of changing of governments from1986 when the People's National Movement first lost power, contrasts with the situation in Guyana where the major opposition party wants to make a virtue of confrontational politics.

The Trinidad and Tobago electorate, having participated in two general elections, peacefully, in one year, now face the challenge of returning to polls in another three to four months for a third general election in less than three years.

In the face of all the post-December 10, 2001 election political wrong doings, the charges and counter-charges of racial discrimination, denial of justice and more, the people of that CARICOM member state, with a demographic structure virtually similar to Guyana's, have remained calm and shown their respect for law and order.

Good Relations
They must keep it that way. There is more than enough race hate and threats to law and order, not only in Guyana, for them to succumb to the rhetoric and tactics of opportunistic elements to be found across the political divide in their own country.

So far as Guyana is concerned, its government, freely and fairly elected, as happened at two previous elections, has been careful to maintain good relations with both the previous United National Congress administration as well as the current administration of the People's National Movement.

It is also correct to point out that both former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and current Prime Minister Patrick Manning have sought to cultivate friendship with the people and government of Guyana.

The most recent example of this approach was the joint statement issued by President Bharrat Jagdeo and Prime Minister Manning following their bilateral meeting during the 23rd CARICOM Summit.

For all its own domestic social and political problems, Trinidad and Tobago remains a most valuable partner of the Caribbean Community. Guyana and its peoples can, therefore, only wish for its continued stability, respect for the rule of law and economic progress as a new general election approaches.