September 25, 2016

Clueless…

…or malicious?

For quite a while – in fact from the very beginning of their reign – your Eyewitness’ been saying this government is clueless when it comes to stimulating business. But then he remembered an old bit of wisdom from one of the Bond movies he saw in his dissolute youth. The first time something anomalous happens, you can dismiss it as “happenstance”. The next time? Dismiss it as “coincidence”. But if it rears its head a third time… then you better check out whether it’s “enemy action”.

So we come now to what triggered the thought – the government’s surreptitious move on VAT for heavy duty machinery used in Agriculture. It’s not like the government doesn’t know the sector’s in a crisis mode while still the largest employer and contributor to the economy. Let’s take rice as the largest agricultural generator of foreign revenues.

Right after taking office, APNU/AFC did absolutely NOTHING about the Venezuelan market which was our largest – absorbing some 200,000 tonnes at a price far in excess of world market price. It was in effect a barter arrangement which also gave us a break on oil prices and repayment terms. All round positive, yes?

Well evidently the new coalition government didn’t think so. They went on a full court press against the Maduro government for evoking the Border Controversy. But APNU/AFC knew Maduro’s gambit was so as not to be outflanked by the Opposition breathing down his neck in the domestic economic meltdown. An Opposition backed by the US which had sworn to remove the successors of Chavez.

So when our government just twiddled its thumbs and did nothing to save the rice contract, this could’ve been dismissed as “happenstance”. Prices for rice and paddy plunged by almost half… taking it even below the cost of production. Asked to kick in the “Rice Stabilisation Plan” the coalition had promised during the election campaign, the government responded that rice farmers were “on their own” when it came to prices. So we chalk THAT up to “coincidence”?

And then came this sneaky reinstatement of VAT on equipment farmers need to cut production costs to survive. What else can we call THAT if not “enemy action”? And the question arises as to why would the government see the agriculture sector in general – and rice in particular – as a candidate for destruction?

Was it because rice farmers didn’t vote for them? But at least some of those 4700 votes by which the APNU/AFC coalition pipped the PPP/C, came from rice farmers who fell for the wiles of the AFC, no?

And this is why we don’t think it’s about being “clueless”. It all about “malice”.

…on social media

The police arrested a woman and her son for posting a threatening message to President Granger on Facebook. If the police are consistent, half the people on Facebook should be placed behind bars. Whether we like it or not, social media has become the medium for everyone with thumbs and a smart phone to “mouth off” on any subject under the sun. Including against anyone who might’ve rubbed them the wrong way.

The question the police should ask before they round up folks for mass incarceration is whether the threat is credible. From the context, did the police really think the woman was serious? Isn’t this how millions of folks express their frustration – but just simmer? The pertinent question the US Supreme Court of the US ruled on a “Facebook” threat by an incarcerated man to his wife was, “did he really intend to harm her”.

This subjective test is pretty hard to prove… and in the instant case, impossible.

Let the woman go!

…on gender

The workings of the law are inscrutable. At least to this Eyewitness. Take this magistrate who rules that females can show up in court in men’s clothing while males can’t do the same in female clothing.

So what would he say to a Scotsman in kilts?

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