March 8, 2014 By
March 8, 2014 By
The GHRA’s a funny organisation? Not “ha ha” funny…but “strange” funny. You’d think an organisation’s name would at least give a hint of what they do, wouldn’t you? Not the Guyana Human Rights Association! In over a decade, we’ve never seen them take up a human rights issue. Not one. But when it comes to politics, the GHRA’s there before you can say “Burnham”! Not “Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham”…just “Burnham”.
If Guyana had a “Truth in Labelling” law, Mike McCormack – the GHRA’s leader-for-life – would be jailed for the rest of his miserable life. Now don’t tell me about McCormack (and it’s always McCormac…the GHRA is the ultimate one-man show) picking up cases like the kid whose genitals were burnt by some cops. He’ll jump on the bandwagon of these cases only because its one the opposition have already placed on their agenda.
Talk about the ordinary human rights violations of people in Lodge or Lesbeholden…and the GHRA is stricken dumb. So we weren’t surprised in any way, shape or form when the GHRA issued its usual prolix “press release” on the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Dr Rodney’s killing. We didn’t even ask “whose human rights are being violated”. We knew that was a non sequitur when the GHRA and McCormack are involved.
As usual we looked for the political angle – which would have to be about bashing the PPP/C Government. The latter orientation is built into the GHRA’s genome…they just can’t help themselves. But before we even got into the political angle, we were struck at how warped McCormack had become with his hatred of the PPP/C: he didn’t even do his homework to back up the allegations he’d hurled.
“Further efforts (after 1995) to mount an inquiry generated much acrimony and were resisted by the government, the most persistent being in 2008, following a much publicised picket of the government by Dr Rodney’s son Shaka Rodney.” Fact of the matter is that Shaka’s fast and vigil was back in late 1993-early1994 and led to the PPP/C appointing Doodnauth Singh as Special Prosecutor to prosecute Gregory Smith.
That process fell through, even the GHRA conceded, because of extradition technicalities. But in dishonestly mixing up the time sequence, McCormack the old hustler, tries to rub doo doo on the PPP/C’s behind. Plus a change…
In making his political move, McCormack then proceeded to tie himself further into a pretzel. He claims that three of the terms of reference suggest a “criminal investigation”, but the fourth, in guaranteeing “absolute pardon(s)” contradicts this. Now we don’t know where or when McCormack got his law degree, but maybe he could tell us how else you’d word the directive to inquire into an act of death by violence.
And why should McCormack be surprised that the premises of the PPP/C-designed inquiry is based on restorative and not retributive justice? Does McCormack believe the quality of mercy, when strained, couldn’t drop on the PPP/C, but only he and his kind? The GHRA, like so many others, have been clamouring for Guyanese to “move on”. Do they think we’ll do that by going the “eye for an eye; tooth for a tooth route”??
Your Eyewitness never thought he’d see the day when “the cold, callous, totalitarian PPP/C” (according to the GHRA) would be accused of being too “soft”. And by a “human rights” group at that!
McCormack contends the PPP/C couldn’t possibly want peace and harmony because surveillance activities against “the political Opposition” and not just the WPA was made the remit of the CoI. Since this would include activities against the PPP/C, this might just rile up all those Indian supporters of the PPP/C!
But wouldn’t it also prove the Opposition’s (and the GHRA’s) claim that the PPP/C was a “toothless poodle”, which didn’t need surveillance then?
March 7, 2014 By
One hundred and seventy six years after the abolition of slavery here, the practice still continues – in some places. And we don’t have to get into any kind of theoretical reasoning and all that jazz – we just have to look at the relationship of the publisher of the MuckrakerKN – Mook Lall – and his editor, Adam Harris. How else can you describe them than “master and house slave”??
That’s right – house slave. Not the field slaves who looked out for themselves and took every opportunity to get back at the massa for messing with him. The house slave, as Malcolm X reminded us, was so taken by working close to the master, actually came to believe he and the master’s interests were one. The master would have a fever or something and the house slave would be moaning, “We sick, massa? We sick.”
He was sick all right: sick in the head. Just like Harris. Look at what’s been happening with our house slave. Harris alluded in his “Dem Boys Seh” column that he flew up to New York to defend his master at the Muckraker’s libel trial. But Harris was in “economy class seat” just behind the toilets. The smell is worse than in the old slave quarters at the MuckrakerKN.
But Harris would know that when his master flies up to New York, he always flies first class. On the sweat of slaves like Harris and others who’re forced to regurgitate the line, “We be sick just like you, Boss Man”. “Boss Man” is what modern house slaves call their masters. But Harris’ slave condition was exposed rather pathetically in how he carried on about food in the plane. It’s clear Mook Lall doesn’t pay Harris enough to buy food. Like the old house slaves, he probably eats the scraps from the master’s table.
Harris’ reputation as a vacuum cleaner when food is around is legendary. You just have to attend any of the Christmas parties the Mook throws – “Crop over” fetes the masters used to hold for the old time slaves. So in his seat in the plane, Harris badgered the stewardesses the entire trip for food. Nuts, chips, drinks, his neighbour’s discarded yogurt, whatever, the man gobbled down.
…in New York
The plane landed in New York where it was cold as ass. The master hadn’t even bothered to give Harris a coat. He had to take his sorry, shivering behind to his sister’s apartment where he got a squeeze. All in service of the “Boss Man” who was throwing back in balmy Guyana in the mansion at Nandy Park, built on the sweat of Harris and his ilk.
Funny thing though, the next day when the Muckraker’s NY representative gave his deposition, he confessed he was just a peon. Didn’t write news, didn’t read news or didn’t understand news published in the Muckraker. The person responsible was the Mook’s house slave, whom he admitted edited all the news in Guyana and which was just reprinted in New York.
So the NEW GPC’s lawyer, rather than waste his time with the NY nonentity, requested the deposition from the house slave responsible for content – Adam Harris. Harris, however, couldn’t be produced.
He was finally getting a full meal – courtesy of his sister.
So Harris is back in Guyana and still in harness for his master. As we saw in Django Unchained, there are some slaves who’re willing to go down with the master when it all comes crashing down.
March 6, 2014 By
…the (power) back door
And here your Eyewitness thought Trinis were the very exemplars of the term “vulgar”. So you could’ve knocked him over with a feather when he read that the Mayor of Port of Spain, railed against the vulgarity exhibited by some of the revellers in their just consummated Carnival. Seems they’d most graphically put into practice the soca lyrics “wine down low and jam on a bumper”.
Your Eyewitness wonders what he would’ve said if he heard the tune our Opposition politicians were putting into action over here during our lame imitation of Carnival: “kick in she back door”! Well at least that’s how AG Nandlall saw the moves they’ve been making on using their one-seat majority in the National Assembly to usurp the functions of the Executive.
It’s obvious Nandlall’s convinced the Opposition is fully au fait with all that “kicking in she back door” implies. The Opposition wants to assert power and domination forcefully, just to show the government “who’s man”. This has been evident long before the last elections when they got that one-seat boost. Back in the 1960s, aided and abetted by the CIA and their labour fronts, the Opposition had “kicked in the back door” and gotten power handed over to them on a platter.
Unable to adjust to the changing world, they still want to get in through the back door…and kicking their way in, is all they know. But hold it! Maybe they have inside info that the world hasn’t changed so much since the 1960s. Your Eyewitness sees governments being threatened and overthrown by opposition forces in both hemispheres and it’s the same usual suspects behind the scenes.
While the CIA is not as active as it used to be (most of the spying is done by machines rather than people – hum-int) the proxies are still working overtime. Keeping the world safe for democracy is a dirty job…but somebody’s got to do it. So the AG shouldn’t think because its Mash time…the Opposition’s singing “bruk in she back door”. Remember everyone thought (and some still trumpet) that Hoyte was the second coming of Thomas Jefferson – where democracy was concerned.
But Hoyte launched “slow fyaah; mo’ fyaah” didn’t he? That’s as “back door” as you can get. And he almost “bruk in” all the way through…after the funeral of Blackie London and the Mash Day Breakout.
Let’s see how the tune will play out this time around.
…the ideological barriers
This time around, kicking in the back door to get Executive power is getting a bit more sophisticated. It’s not just brute force and ignorance. They even have some apologists offering theoretical justification for their nefarious agenda. And it’s not just from the usual suspects that call themselves “NGOs” even though they’re totally funded by foreign governments.
Weighing in from far off California to offer intellectual justification for the Opposition’s power grab, was Eusi Kwayana, who seems to go on and on like Old Man River. And we’re even not talking about his age. We’re talking about the length and convolutedness of his letters. Your Eyewitness gets paid to read these things, but he confesses it ain’t easy.
Anyhow, he quotes Article 103 of the Constitution to justify the assertion that because the Opposition has a one-seat majority in Parliament, the President should include them in his Cabinet!!! But of course, he didn’t say what Art 103 says – which is, that the President has to select Ministers from individuals elected to Parliament.
Our riposte is – “So?”
…an old mystery
Looks like “boat gone a waata” on the Rodney Inquiry. Commission members’ been sworn in and now a call for information’s been published in the dailies. Not surprisingly, some have started to question whether such an Inquiry is even necessary. Your Eyewitness won’t even dignify such a ridiculous question with an answer.
Save to say that it’s obvious there’s a look of people quaking in their boots already.
March 5, 2014 By
…and APNU (the Elephant)
Seems the WPA’s mightily displeased with APNU. In fact, in its own words, the WPA’s “disgusted” at the manner in which APNU’s taking the fight to the government on the AML/CFT Bill. As if precipitating international sanctions on Guyana isn’t enough! Clive Thomas ringingly declared to the membership of the WPA – all four of them:
“Let us advance the cause of the Rodneyite masses!!! Let us not relent, but plan for the eventualities, which would flow from our principled position!!! Let us not forget we are on the correct side of history in our fight for a better future for all Guyanese!!!” Thomas seems to forget that his party has absolutely no following and only “got a squeeze” from APNU. The whole episode reminds us of a story your Eyewitness heard when he was a boy.
“Once upon a time there was a gnat. His name was WPA, and he was known, because of his sensitivity, as WPA the Bright. WPA decided, after reflection upon his state, and for good and sufficient reasons, to move house. The place which he chose as eminently suitable was the ear of a certain elephant. All that remained to do was to make the move, and quite soon WPA had installed himself in the large and highly attractive quarters.
“Time passed. WPA reared several families of gnatlets, and he sent them out into the world. As the years rolled past, he knew the usual moments of tension and relaxation, the feelings of joy and sorrow, of questing and achievement which are the lot of the gnat wherever he may be found.
“Naturally WPA hadn’t moved into the house without due ceremony and a regard for the proper observances. On the very first day, just before moving in, he had cried, at the top of his tiny voice, his decision. ‘Oh Elephant!’ he’d shouted, ‘Know that none other than I, WPA the Gnat, known as WPA the Bright, propose to make this place my abode.
“As it is your ear, I am giving you the customary notice of my intention.’ The elephant had raised no objection. But WPA didn’t know the elephant hadn’t even heard him. Neither, for that matter, had his host felt the entry (or even the presence and absence) of the gnat and his various families. Not to labour the point unduly, he had no idea that gnats were there at all.
And when the time came when WPA the Bright decided, for what were to him compelling and important reasons, that he would move house again, he reflected that he must do so in accordance with established and hallowed custom. He prepared himself for the formal declaration of his abandonment of the elephant’s ear.
“Thus it was that, the decision finally and irrevocably taken and his words sufficiently rehearsed, WPA shouted once more into the elephant’s ear. He shouted once, and no answer came. He shouted again, and the elephant was still silent. The third time, gathering the whole strength of his voice in his determination to register his urgent yet eloquent words, he cried: ‘Oh Elephant! Know that I, the WPA the Bright Gnat, propose to leave my hearth and home, to quit my residence in this ear of yours where I have dwelt for so very long. And this is for a sufficient and significant reason which I am prepared to explain to you.’
“Now finally the words of the gnat came to the hearing of the elephant, and the gnat-cry penetrated. As the elephant pondered the words, WPA shouted: ‘What have you to say in answer to my news? What are your feelings about my departure?’ The elephant raised his great head and trumpeted a little.
And this trumpeting contained the sense: ‘Go in peace – for in truth your going is of as much interest and significance to me as was your coming.’
March 4, 2014 By
Seems we’re having a repeat of the 1962 faceoff between the U.S. and the USSR – the latter run by Russia. Then it was over the USSR shipping missiles to Cuba. U.S. President JFK delivered an ultimatum to the Russians – remove the missiles or its war! Khrushchev and the USSR were the first to blink and the missiles were removed.
Today, the shoe’s on the other foot. While a lot of water has flowed under the U.S.-USSR bridge, we’re smack in the middle of another faceoff. This time the showdown is in Crimea where Russia delivered an ultimatum to the western (read U.S.)-backed Ukraine government: “Get your troops out before this morning or we will invade!” Where in the heck is Crimea, you asked? Well, Crimea’s been part and parcel of our modern sensibility for over a century – only we didn’t realise it.
The Crimean War of the 1850s was the first “modern” war as far as technology was concerned – with steel battleships, modern guns and telegraph, for instance. But in a time of change, there were still enough of the “old” around to have the famous “Charge of the Light Brigade”. The one where a whole Battalion on horseback charged into Russian guns and were wiped out.
The senseless death of all those young men was justified in the famous lines: “There’s not to reason why/There’s but to do and die”. A million Russians perished by the end of the Crimean War, as did hundreds and thousands of British and French troops. Florence Nightingale, epitomising the modern nurse, also did her thing in this war. So Crimea’s been around.
Now since the Cold War – dictating the showdown in Cuba back in 1962 – has been over, what’s the beef this time? Well it has to do with the fact after Russia lost that Cold War by 1989, it suffered the breakup that led to provinces such as the Ukraine becoming independent. Crimea became part of Ukraine – which by then had become dominated by ethnic Russians – as for that matter, was the entire eastern part of Ukraine.
So it’s the same ole, same ole struggle for dominance under a different rhetoric. The West, using organisations such as the ubiquitous IRI (straining at the bit to get going in Guyana), has been working for “democratisation”. The Russian-backed President was forced to flee and the western-backed successor has called upon the West to back them.
And by this morning we’ll know who blinked first, this time.
…on the police “Service”
Well, we do know that that Home Affairs Minister wasn’t able to have his proposal to change the name of the Police Force into “Police Service”, implemented. The Opposition’s not talking to him: seems they’ve “cut out” with him.
Anyhow since the Police Top brasses have been insisting they’ve implemented most of the Disciplined Forces Report’s recommendations, and this re-orientation of the organisations modus operandi was quite high on the agenda, we assumed our lawmen (and law women) were all au fait with the new dispensation. To wit to treat John Public with a modicum of respect as befitting their status as worthy of being “served”.
But it does look like your Eyewitness presumed too much – if he’s to judge by the treatment meted out to one of our senior reporters. The fellow was in a minibus that was hailed by some cops and dared to take out their photographs.
For this he was roughed up under the made-up-on-the-spot “law” that you can’t take out the photos of policemen!
We’re kinda hoping that the Police brass would say that some policemen on the beat haven’t gotten with the programme as yet. We know it takes some time to implement change. What we wouldn’t like to happen is for there to be excuses and denials.
March 3, 2014 By
Your Eyewitness didn’t know ex-Speaker Ralph Ramkarran knew much about poultry. But in quoting a “departed” PPP colleague about “Chickens coming home to roost”, he exhibited profound understanding – both literally and figuratively. Karma does come back to bite you on your behind, sooner or later. Unfortunately, in this case, it’s Guyana’s behind that’s being chomped on.
Ramkarran was referring to the standoff in our political system caused by the “new dispensation”. This was precipitated by the Opposition seizing control of the National Assembly while the PPP/C took the Executive after the last elections. Trouble was, he weaselled out when it came to saying clearly whose chickens were roosting. Using the “false equivalency” cop-out, he placed blame on the Government, as well as the Opposition. And if the truth be told, the Government got the brunt of his blame.
But in this, the Ex-Speaker’s simply following the well-worn track he’s followed after decamping from the PPP/C: Appear to be “impartial” but get in sneaky body blows on his former comrades, in the clinch. But in his refusal to call a spade a spade, he reveals the reason he knows about poultry: he’s chicken.
Let’s take the main point he raises: the Government should have compromised with the Opposition to pass the AML/CFT Bill. But this position betrays the devious double standards of Ramkarran and his false equivalency. Let’s consider the Opposition’s objections to the BILL. The AFC, like every financial institution including CFATF, has none. They’re just shamelessly using the Government’s concern for the welfare of Guyana, as hostage to blackmail them to establish the unrelated “Public Procurement Commission” – on AFC’s terms. Ramkarran wants the government to acquiesce to the blackmail – without even slapping the AFC.
Then there’s the APNU callous manoeuvre. For two years, they claimed to be “consulting with stakeholders”. Two years. Finally at the 12th hour (after the first deadline is missed) they insisted on changing the INITIAL 2009 Bill, which according to CFATF, isn’t even necessary for Guyana to be declared “compliant”. And that isn’t all. As the representative of CFATF warned, the changes in the original Bill would raise new areas in which Guyana could be disqualified.
Ramkarran’s always been accused by his former comrades in the PPP/C as being unwilling to stand up for principles. He then rationalises his “sell-outs” as “compromises”. Looks like his own “chickens” are coming home to roost.
…on race relations
It’s been truly said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And so it’s been on the question of race relations from some Guyanese. This bunch of well-intentioned persons despair at the differences among our several groups creating “problems”, as they see it. The troublesome difference in this scheme of things centres on race and ethnicity.
All would be hunky dory if certain persons wouldn’t stir up these differences and cause trouble. One evidently elderly educator, Clarence Perry by name, took social commentator Dave Martins to task for claiming we’ve been handling our differences better than most other places. Apart from treating race and ethnicity as one phenomenon, Perry takes Martins to task for suggesting our problems in this area aren’t as bad as some other places.
Perry’s problem is signalled where he’s coming from when he affirms that “the two major ethnicities in Guyana have far more in common than there are differences.” He misses the point that there’s nothing wrong with differences, once we recognise them and then deal with their consequences.
To ignore them is to ensure our eventual welcome by the fella with the Trident and horns.
…in foreign currency
The Opposition can’t deny that with dollars getting short in the country, the exchange rate’s heading skyward. Greenidge shamelessly denies it’s due to CFATF’s sanctions. Now we know why he presided over the US$ black market back in the day.
March 1, 2014 By
Some people never learn. They’re “hard ears”. Or could be, they think once they’ve romped in bed with someone, they’ve become so “tight”, they can take liberties. You know…”do what you want with he!!!” Take the AFC. Ever since the two thwarted underlings in the PPP/C and PNC – Ramjattan and Trotman – failed in their power grab in their respective parties, and launched their party, they’ve fawned over the TUC and courted its leader Lincoln “The Loud” Lewis.
The point, of course, being to weasel their way into the affections of the putatively “mammoth” membership of the labour grouping. That the said membership and its size was a figment of Lewis’ fevered imagination didn’t dampen the AFC’s ardour. So early in the day after the last elections, thinking he’d ingratiate himself into the favours of the bombastic Lewis, Ramjattan used the Tripartite Talks with President Ramotar to discuss salary increases for Public Service workers.
Ramjattan, of course, had long salivated at the thought of getting Public Servants’ votes. This would deliver a double whammy to his pipsqueak outfit – more seats in Parliament, but more importantly to show they were “multi-racial”. But no sooner than he’d opened his mouth and left OP, Lincoln “The Loud” bitch-slapped him mercilessly. “Who the hell were he and the AFC to think they could appropriate the right of trade unionists to bargain for their membership???!!!” the stentorian one screamed.
Never mind that the most savvy detective would’ve been hard pressed to detect any “negotiation” Lewis had conducted. But then again, it could be that he thought his long and tedious letters to the press – which no one could plough through – were “negotiations”. Be as it may, after the bitch-slapping, Ramjattan slunk away with his tail (and any other contiguous organs) between his legs. For good measure, he “wrung his ears” and said “sorry”.
In the following two years the AFC and Ramjattan slavishly curried favour with Lewis – marching up and down in the sun on one or the other political protests. (Ramjattan never dared to tell Lewis, the latter was poaching on his turf. A good bitch-slapping does make one diffident.) So Ramjattan must’ve felt that he and Lewis were “tight” again. Last Thursday, he proposed and got accepted in Parliament, renewal of the subvention for the Lewis-controlled Critchlow Labour Institute.
Only thing was, Ramjattan offered membership on the Board, to FITUG – which, Lewis knows, is the real Labour Umbrella in Guyana. We don’t have to tell you the denouement of this tale, do we?
Another salutary bitch-slapping for Ramjattan, that’s what – as Lewis rejected the move.
But the irony of the whole sordid “sucking up” affair was the role of the government. As we pointed out yesterday, why did the government go along and accept that the opposition could violate an explicit Constitutional stipulation that forbid the latter from moving motions that involved spending? This is a Trojan Horse that they’d better scuttle.
But Lincoln the Loud gave the government another reason for looking stupid. Foaming at the mouth, Lewis thundered that the Critchlow Labour Institute was a “private institution”!! How dare the government or Parliament think they could appoint anyone to its Board? Seems that APNU had already raised this quid pro quo and Lewis had already summarily dismissed it.
The question for the government, of course, is why the heck they would want to give a subvention of $30 million to a private institution? Why can’t they get it through their thick skulls that they have to encourage private initiative? They did the same damned thing when they prevented the people of Linden from rebuilding One-Mile Primary School.
Please, Government, get out of the way of private initiative!!
Clarence Perry is an old “educator”. Yet the man thinks genetic inheritance of melanin is “social biology”. Hit too much on the head in the old days?
February 28, 2014 By
The government finally caved in on its insistence that unless the Critchlow Labour Institute got its (financial) house in order, they weren’t going to be doling out monies from the Consolidated Funds to fund the bloated and corrupt institution, once again. What got our hackles was when the government didn’t even bat an eyelid to object to the opposition moving a motion which placed a “charge on the Consolidated Funds”.
This is expressly forbidden by the Constitution Article 171 – so how in God’s name can they object when the opposition moves a motion to reduce spending – which might at least be arguable? The government might think they won a great battle in having some unionists friendly to them now sitting on Critchlow’s Board. But is that going to be enough to get the school’s affairs in order? No way Jose! First of all, the opposition unions will remain in the majority. And if the government has any doubt as to what’s ahead at Critchlow, they’d better look around at what the labour opposition cohorts are doing in Parliament.
Critchlow will revert right back to where it was when they were feeding at the public trough. Which is to say, it’ll simply provide sinecures for opposition figures and the wherewithal to hand out favours for their friends and relatives. They’ve made a lot of allegations about “corruption” and “nepotism” in government. A closer look at Critchlow’s affairs will give a good indication of what’ll happen if the opposition ever gets their hands on the public purse. It’ll make the government look like the church choir.
Right off the bat there’s never been any accounting as to how the monies from the government and outsiders are being spent. People like Lincoln Lewis treat the facilities like their personal fiefdom. A ton of the money just goes towards their upkeep – posh offices and all that. The labouring class would be shocked to see how their “representatives” live high off the hog.
As for teaching staff, nepotism knows no bounds. Critchlow is a home away from home for out of favourite politicians. That’s Norton’s claim to be the new Principal. Before the (now abandoned) government’s insistence on accountability for public monies, WPA’s Rupert Roopnaraine had been the Principal. Maybe someone figures since Roopnaraine’s replaced Norton in the leadership corps of APNU, they’d better throw him a bone.
So we can expect Norton to fly in old PNCites from abroad as guest lecturers – just as Roopnaraine did for the WPA acolytes like Trotz, Hinds and (WPA) company. Happy (Opposition) days are here again!!
…and coming out
The AFC’s been playing ducks and drakes about their relationship with PNC/APNU ever since they sashayed into Parliament in 2011. All the signs were there that they weren’t only in bed together, but had the sheets pulled way over their heads. As to who’s on top, will not detain us here. It’s the relationship that counts. We could do worse than remind all and sundry as to how their “co-leader” became Speaker of the House.
Like all relationships, they’ve had their spats – like who was going to take credit for the Linden protests. But it was just a matter of “break up to make up”. So the confession this week by Ramjattan that the AFC was not just pushing its Public Procurement Commission line to sign AML/CFT, but was now also championing the APNU’s demands, came as no surprise.
As the old people advise, you just can’t hide your true nature forever.
The sensationalsation of news by the KN to fill the pockets of its publisher continues undiminished. They admitted they “erroneously” reported that a man “confessed to killing his wife”. Yet they could not find it in themselves to offer an apology to the poor fella. Justice…thou hast fled to brutish beasts!
February 28, 2014 By