Used to be, the fear was “suppose you threw a party and nobody came?” After yesterday, it’ll be “suppose you hold an election and no one voted?” During the past few weeks everyone conceded turnouts in LGE’s are generally low… but no one expected it to be THIS low. In some jurisdictions they make voting compulsory… maybe we ought to go that route?
But upon reflection, the snarky tone isn’t fair to the Guyanese electorate. After all they haven’t experienced an LGE for almost a quarter of a century – and social acts like voting have to be inculcated with practice, over time. And even with those old enough to’ve voted in 1994… that facility would have atrophied over the generational span. If Lamarck thought “organs not in use tend to degenerate”, imagine what happens to socially imparted habits?
And that’s the problem for our entire democratic culture, isn’t it? During the British days, we “natives” were told we just weren’t ready for the weighty task of making democratic decisions. Never mind right after slavery, ex-slaves founded the Village Movement and ran their affairs in totally democratic fashion. While we were being tutored, our rulers had to do double duty and do what was best for us. Like stymieing the Village Movement that was too “radical”. They asked questions like why should their taxes clean the sugar plantations’ canals and not theirs? Such upstarts! Ruling was a dirty, thankless job, but somebody (responsible) had to do it, no?
During the PNC’s 28 years at the helm of state, they also thought the small man really didn’t know what it took to be the “real man” to run his own affairs. His destiny had to be “moulded” since he didn’t know what was good for him. So all the village councils were disbanded and absorbed into “Neighbourhood Democratic Councils”.
Can you believe in some instances villages strung along the public road for five to nine miles being called a “neighbourhood”? Well the villagers didn’t… but what did they know? But the bottom line was ordinary folks got nothing out of “local government” for more than 30 years… and just saw it as a boondoggle for local Caesars.
So after years of struggle between our two political mountains they produced the framework for the present LGE. The populace might be forgiven for giving it a great, big yawn. They’re suffering from “ennui – a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement”.
But your Eyewitness isn’t so jaded. He’s at least looking out to see the promised “new dawn” of LGE from this morning. Will his street be asphalted, at last?
…over for WI cricket?
The massive blowout of England by the WI team in their ICC T-20 World Cup match has local fans over the top. It almost made us (yes…”us”. Your Eyewitness is what the English call a “cricket tragic”…he lives and dies with the fortunes of the WI team.) forget for a while, the devastation and humiliation the WICB wrought in our once proud cricketing record.
And yes, your Eyewitness is laying the blame squarely at the feet of the WICB. Going back to the pretensions of the British, the WICB inherited and maintained the worse sense of entitlement of the old colonial Boards. The players were supposed to simply doff their caps to the Board who would make all decisions about who could play and how, where and against whom their cricket was going to be played.
This confounded nonsense must stop. Even while revelling at the chance of the WI going all the way, we must back the Caricom Committee to reconstitute the WICB!
…at government sell out
During the elections campaign, we know the mega millions Glen “Mohan” Lall’s “Funding a United Candidate for Opposition Presidency” (FUCOP) pumped into the coalition had to be repaid.
But are radio and TV licences now legal tender?