…of the lambs
The news that the five men charged and then committed to stand trial for the Bartica Massacre are expected to appear in the High Court on May 21 should remind all Guyana that it was only five years ago this country was facing elements determined to overthrow the government by any means necessary. Yes…that’s right, the Bartica Massacre was committed only FIVE years ago on February 17, 2008.
About 20 gunmen, dressed in military gear and bulletproof jackets, descended on the township in the heat of the night and conducted a ruthless but obviously well-planned attack. Three policemen and nine civilians were massacred with several injured before the bloodbath ended and they made their getaway also by boat. All fingers pointed to “Fineman”, Rondell Rawlings, and his murderous gang that had earlier committed the Lusignan Massacre.
While “Fineman” and most of his gang were killed later in 2008 in various firefights with law enforcement officers – who must be commended in light of the gang’s weaponry and ability to obtain information – what Guyana must remember is the background to all the mayhem and killings that took place between 2000 and 2008. It was a political background: a background that was spawned in the “slow fyaah, mo fyaah” strategy of People’s National Congress (PNC) leader Desmond Hoyte and kept alive by every one of his successors.
The bottom line is that from the elections of 1997, the PNC refused to accept the verdict of the polls – even though these were certified as free and fair by hordes of foreign and domestic observers. They were emboldened when their street elements – with certain elements of the security forces closing their eyes to their excesses – brought the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government down to its knees. (Is it a coincidence that a former commissioner of police and the head of the army both participated in opposition street protests in 2011?) The PPP/C’s term was truncated, the president resigned and constitutional changes were implemented to satisfy the rampant opposition.
The lawlessness escalated because the opposition believed that with continued pressure the PPP/C could be forced from office permanently. The Hoyte doctrine which stated that “the only language the PPP/C understands” is still dominant. Witness Agricola and Linden last year. The Camp Street 5 that holed up in Buxton provided the nucleus around which men like “Fineman” and others of his ilk could take the fight to the government.
Five years in politics is a blip – we cannot become complacent that “things now regulah”. They are not. In fact, the facilitators of the attacks against the state now believe they are poised to take power.
The Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO) just came out swinging, in defence of beleaguered acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba. We salute them. Margaret Thatcher, called “the Iron Lady” by her contemporaries, was also said to have more “cojones” than the rest of her colleagues in the Cabinet. It appears that the sisters in the WPO have more cojones than their counterparts in the ‘town council’.
We’ve commented on their disgraceful behaviour when Mayor-for-life Hamilton Green tried to vote her out of office and none of the PPP/C councillors were around. Green and his band of retrogrades must not be allowed to get their way with our own Iron Lady in the city administration. For too long they’ve scratched each other’s backs as the city treasury was raided to fill their own pockets. What citizens long suspected was confirmed by a report from Raymond Gaskin – certainly no partisan of the government. The WPO also connected the recent ethnic profiling of some Indian Guyanese youths by the City Constabulary to the hounding of Sooba.
Something to chew over.
…of the country
The Alliance For Change (AFC) has made it clear they’ll allow the country to face international censure to “gain leverage”. What say the PNC and Working People’s Alliance (WPA), now A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), to this, in view of their “nationalist” boasts?
…to know one, or projection?
Khemraj Ramjattan, leader of the AFC, says that Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh is a “hypocrite”. One can retort in Ramjattan’s gutter language that “it takes one to know one”. But Ramjattan’s indulgence is a bit more complicated: it’s called “projection”.
It’s when you know in your heart that you feel a certain way about something…but because you don’t think it’s right, or maybe that it’s downright reprehensible, you project the feelings onto others.
It’s very common with those who take a hard-line against gays. They have urges and inclinations in that direction but are ashamed of them. They then, at the drop of a hat, condemn someone they don’t like as “gay”.
So here we have this man (we use the term rather expansively) Ramjattan calling someone of Dr Singh’s calibre a “hypocrite”. Let’s look at hypocrisy and Ramjattan. A hypocrite, we know, is a self-absorbed, arrogant douchebag who constantly groans and moans about other people doing something that they say is wrong, yet engages in exactly the same such behaviour anyway.
Ramjattan talks about following “principles”. What principles were he following when he held on to his PPP seat even though he left the party – until he could collect his duty-free car? Looks like the principle of greed and avarice to me. Then there’s his “news carrying” to the U.S. embassy, even though he screams about his ‘independence’.
He should be reminded of Martin Carter’s aphorism: the mouth is muzzled by the hand that feeds it. But then that’s OK with a hypocrite – once the hand stuffing his face is full.
The worst bit of hypocrisy practised by Ramjattan is to boast he’s pushing a “multi-racial” line. From the man who stirred up the hornet’s nest at Linden, resulting in the deaths of three men, by playing the race card against both the PPP and the PNC!! You can’t get more devious than that. This man will sink below the belly of a snake to get his grubby little hands on power.
Take his latest bit of hypocrisy, over which he projected his hypocrisy onto Dr Singh. Imagine he says he would vote for the money laundering bill…once his demands on the procurement commission are met. That means he has no problem with the bill…he just wants to have his way, and is willing to take down the country for it. What a hypocritical wanker!!!!
Granddaddy of hypocrites
Hypocrites come in all shapes and forms. But from our experience the ones that wear suspenders, take the cake….and whatever other prize they’re handing out. Take Suspenders Ram, for instance. Ever since he went to law school with kids young enough to be his grandchildren, he’s been spouting opinions to everyone under the sun about “morality” and such things.
Everyone, that is, excepting his friends in his hypocrisy club. There’s got to be a club for these fellas…how else could all of them sing from the same hymn book all the time? If you check out his writings, Suspenders has never been shy about knocking people whose books he’s audited. Only recently he had to defend this practice of his, in the papers. But he’s never knocked Guyana Stores, the board of which his buddy Glenn Lall, of Muckraker and backtracking fame, sits on.
We’ve just gotten our hands on the 2003 audited accounts of Guyana Stores – written in 2009 by – guess who? That’s right….Suspenders Ram!!! And the bottom line is that he concludes in his written opinion – “No comment”!!!
David Granger, of APNU, just tabled a motion in the National Assembly to have the president appoint a commission of inquiry (COI) to investigate the incidence of trafficking in persons (TIP) in Guyana. Why only “in” Guyana? He doesn’t want his backtracking TIP buddy, Glenn Lall hauled in?
Hamilton Green claims ‘the real Forbes Burnham is hardly known.” Makes you wonder as to why Green, who was certainly one of Burnham’s thugs, hasn’t been a bit more conscientious in rectifying that lacuna. Could it be that the “real” Burnham wasn’t such the stand-up guy Green claims he was?
Let’s consider the views of Burnham’s sister Jessie, who was certainly closer to Burnham than Green. The following are excerpts from what she wrote just before the 1964 elections:
“… had (Burnham) coupled (his) ambition with a genuine concern for the welfare and needs of the people, giving him all he sought, in life. But along with ambition, he developed certain slickness, a sly glibness. He began, even as a boy, to depend more and more on his skills with words to achieve his goals…
The issue of party leadership came to the fore immediately after the election. It has always been interesting to me that Forbes, alone among our key People’s Progressive Party (PPP) leaders, did not go to jail following the suspension of the Constitution. Could it be, I’ve frequently asked myself, that when Governor Lungley Savage remarked that “certain ministers have come to me,” he might possibly have had in mind my brother? Could it have been his hope to shatter the party, bring down the government in disgrace, and then perhaps, be around to pick up the pieces?
It’s leader or nothing!” he angrily shouted.
When I heard him, I smiled. It was so typical of my brother. This was indeed the moment of truth: leader or nothing. It was, perhaps then, for the first time, I became fully aware of his “winner take all” attitude, his unending zest for the trappings of power, the frightening egotisms of the man.
Eventually, in a move mediated by Aston Chase, Burnham backed down and accepted the Ministry of Education. But things were never again quite the same. That his love for personal power is so great he will trade anything to achieve it. That nothing is safe, no person, no liberty… that stands in his way. That is why I say, in all sincerity,
“BEWARE, MY BROTHER FORBES.”
Behind that jest, that charm, that easy oratory is a certain dark strain of cruelty which only surfaces when one of his vital interests is threatened. There are two Burnhams: the charming and the cruel. I say BEWARE of both.
I do not want to see my country become a police state, where a power-hungry man can sacrifice our liberty for his personal gain… our beloved country cannot tolerate such men as LEADERS.”
The lady certainly knew her brother.
On the opposition’s benches in Parliament, there are a lot of shady characters. We’re talking about all the “shadow” positions they’ve doled out… shadow minister of this and shadow minister of that. Joe Harmon’s billed as the shadow minister of public works. But from the way he’s carrying on you’d think he’s taken over Basil Williams’ wuk as shadow attorney general. And he hasn’t even taken up wearing spiffy suits.
He pontificated at length about the opposition’s bills the president has refused to sign. We don’t mind he’s disagreed with the president – that’s his right which the government’s been strenuously defending. But the way he took it upon himself to advise the president, you’d think he’s even looking for the real job.
Harmon says the president must be acting on the advice of Attorney General Anil Nandlall and since that advice is bad, the president should fire Nandlall. And maybe hire Harmon? But first he should look at Williams and Nandlall and get some good suits.
Freddie Kissoon of the Muckraker maligned Mahatma Gandhi by calling him a “racist homosexual”. He and his paper refused to apologise even though they print a daily quote from the great man. Yesterday, he called the Mahatma “great”…yet, no apology. Pride cometh before a fall. What a cowardly wanker!!!
…by city constab
There was a very revealing article in the Chronicle about a one-man protest against Mayor Hamilton Green for the racist profiling by his constabulary against three Indian-Guyanese young men. Now this is exactly what President Bharrat Jagdeo was talking about when he condemned the “resurgence of anti-Indian racism” he detected in the society. It was all part of a grander trend in which forces in the opposition were pitting one ethnic group against another, to return us to the dark days of the 1960’s.
Ossie Rogers, evidently a broadcaster and journalist who’d worked in 2011 on Moses Nagamootoo’s internal People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) campaign to be presidential candidate, was the picketer. Rogers, is evidently no partisan of President Jagdeo and so it’s not as if he’s seeking to buttress Jagdeo’s point. Back in 2011 when he was pushing Nagamootoo’s candidacy, he’d written: “let us send a strong message to President Jagdeo and his preferred choice, Donald Ramotar, that we are asking for a process that is fair to select our next presidential candidate.”
But Rogers’ action is a powerful evidentiary confirmation of the daily actions taken by partisans of the opposition in pushing the “anti-Indian” line to polarise the society. What were the facts? Rogers, an African Guyanese, was supposed to meet three Indian friends at the Number 44 bus park. They weren’t in sight when he arrived: they’d been picked up by the City Constabulary and hauled off. They were forbidden to call or inform a waiting friend.
When Rogers investigated at City Hall days later, he was told they were charged for “loitering”!!!! At the Number 44 car park where there is always hundreds of people milling around!! The incredulous Rogers asked to see the log and saw that they’d been actually charged for “littering”. That’s right…littering at the Number 44 bus park. As Rogers concluded, the City Constabulary was just shaking down three “defenceless young Indian guys”.
After an initial flurry of outraged outbursts against Jagdeo for the red herring of “where” he made his remarks, our society has refused to deal with the substance of “anti-Indian racism” pushed in the country by the opposition. Look at the disingenuous response by the opposition spit-press after they highlighted primarily Indian faces that received radio licences, creating the impression that only they benefited. The truth was that more than half of the awardees were non-Indians.
Guyanese of all creeds, race and colour must stand up like Rogers and nip this cancer of anti-Indian racism in the bud.
Guyana is a young democracy, we concede. So while the institutions might’ve been adopted from Britain, it’s obvious that the occupants of several offices aren’t willing to follow the rules. Sometimes it’s from greed and avarice. Sometimes it’s from misguided partisanship. Sometimes from both.
Take the charge by Attorney General Anil Nandlall that the Speaker “erred” in allowing the opposition to debate and pass the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Bill, which affected charges of constitutional bodies on the Consolidate Funds. It was patently outside the parliamentary remit of the opposition. The Speaker retorted heatedly that he read Art 171 and he saw no overreaching by the opposition.
Well this is where the profiling comes in. Either the Speaker is intellectually challenged or he’s irremediably partisan. Art 171 (2) (II) clearly states that unless with the permission of the Cabinet through a minister, “the Assembly shall not… impose any charge on the Consolidated Funds.” And isn’t this what the opposition bill seeks to do? For the record, we don’t think the Speaker is intellectually challenged.
The police says that unless the public reports specific instances of music in minibuses, they can do nothing. Really??? The law says NO…that is, NO instrument to play music should be on buses. The police can’t monitor this? What are they? Blind?
…but not a drop to sell
It’s been 13 years since the fateful announcement by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announcement that they’d identified the Guyana-Suriname basin as having the second highest resource potential among unexplored oil basins in the world. With recoverable oil reserves over 13.6 billion barrels and gas reserves of 32 trillion cubic feet. That’s more than the proven reserves in the North Sea, which gave such a stimulus to Norway and Britain back in the 1980s.
But here we are, still dependent on Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago for our oil supplies – placing a huge drag on our push for double-digit growth. Can you imagine what we could do with a revenue stream that would make Trinidad look like a street corner cake shop? After all, we have just about half their population with more than 70 times their land mass. So what’s going on with the oil and gas lying below the seabed north of the Berbice and Corentyne rivers.
The first thing to note is that absolutely no player in the petroleum industry – and we’re talking about all the major global companies from Exxon and Shell down – doubts the findings of the USGS. Their own explorations confirm those predictions. In addition, there’s the huge oilfields off West Africa, like the Jubilee oilfield off Ghana, that’s already pumping out huge rivers of the “black gold”.
“And what does that have to do with us?” you ask. Everything. If you cast your mind back to your primary school days you’d remember that eons ago, West Africa split off our shore, and whatever lies off their shores is mirrored off ours. The theory was tested and confirmed by Tullow Oil off French Guyana.
We know there was a hiatus after Suriname ran off a CGX rig in 2000 but we took them to the World Court and won in 2007. Part of the problem since then has been the undercapitalisation of CGX, which was forced to enter into several strategic partnerships with larger companies. All of the wells, however, were dry with the exception of the last which was abandoned due to higher than expected pressure. All this means that getting to our ticket out of “undercapitalised economy” will take a little longer.
In the meantime, as everybody and their uncle are advising, we shouldn’t be sitting on our hands, waiting for the gushers. We should at least launch programmes in our technical institutes and University of Guyana (UG) to prepare the engineers and others that would be needed to serve the industry.
Silence and anarchy
Caught literally with his pants down trying to write- off taxes for his wife and for not properly accounting for a Japanese loan to the city, Mayor Hamilton Green has launched his counter offensive. But like they say, “mout’ open and story jump out”. In a letter to the press, he says, “The media has brought to our attention a number of human tragedies, human insensitivity, human cruelty, human corruption… all the result of a general loss of self-respect and a disregard for traditional moral and spiritual values that are necessary to secure the integrity of a society.”
The man knows of what he speaks. What greater tragedy can there be in Guyana than us allowing this mealy mouthed hypocrite to turn our once fair, Garden City into a cesspool? And we are silent. But the best thief makes the best policeman. Let’s do as Green advises: “Guyanese of whatever race, colour, religion or age, be aware that your silence helps breed evil, so the wrong doers become bold. Good people stand up – speak up for the good of Guyana.” Oust Hamilton Green!!!
Rip van APNU
After being silent for years, including its People’s National Congress (PNC) incarnation, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had finally denounced the sensationalist coverage of the spit press in Guyana. They’re “disappointed” at the “gruesome” photo published of recently murdered Maryann Nauth.
…in the city
We’re compelled to bring you the latest episode in the ongoing soap opera in City Hall. In this one, the ongoing battle between the forces of anarchy and disorder, led by Mayor Hamilton Green; against the forces to save the city led by the acting town clerk, of course, continues. But as usual there has to be a twist.
This time the mayor and his council all walked out of a meeting leaving the city clerk on her lonesome. Now this is not unexpected. After all, if the mayor doesn’t pull this kind of stunt, the dirty secret of him wanting to cancel $9 million in back taxes for his wife’s pharmacy will be exposed for all to see. Imagine this mayor has been berating businesses every year for not paying their rates and taxes and all the time his wife wasn’t paying a penny!
What was really different in this episode was that not a single PPP councillor on the City Council was there in the meeting to show some solidarity with the embattled town clerk. What’s going on? Is there a deal with the mayor to throw the town clerk to the dogs after all she’s been doing to bring some kind of sanity to the running of the affairs of the city? Seems that way.
All we can say to this new development is – a plague on all the councillors if none of them can show some backbone or cojones in this struggle to save our capital. For too long the mayor has actively worked to undermine all efforts to get to the crux of what ails the city.
Take the vendors problem. How many laws aren’t they breaking and how many problems aren’t they creating. Paying their taxes? Sure!!!! Picking up their garbage? Right!!! Encumbering the sidewalks for pedestrians? Try walking down any city street to window shop. Harassing passersby to check out their wares? …. and the list goes on and on.
The mayor, right from the 1990’s when he was ensconced into office, encouraged this kind of lawlessness in. Quid pro quo. He looks after their backs and they show their support when he wants to flex his muscle. It’s not even populism…that is, really caring for these women. If he cared for them, he would’ve encouraged them to regularise their activities and established proper businesses by now.
The bottom line is he wants a street force and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep those poor women right where they are. And this is why the town clerk must be supported by the PPP councillors.
Text and context
One of the major sources of trouble in the modern world is caused by those persons, attending school for a couple of years; call themselves “intellectuals”. Having read nothing more than words on paper – and never testing their ideas in the real world – they take a supercilious air towards everyone else.
A paradigmatic example of this sub-species in Guyana is the Muckraker’s Kissoon. For years the fellow fobbed himself off as “Dr Kissoon” and didn’t even have the cojones to admit he was a fake. Anyhow yesterday, he attempted to lecture President Ramotar on “context” because the president hadn’t assented to the opposition’s bill.
But most typically, he completely missed the context of the president’s action. It has nothing to do with the substance of the pensions of presidents – all presidents, incidentally, not just Jagdeo. It had to do with the principle of the prohibition of expropriation of property in a democracy.
Kissoon, however couldn’t understand why his contract wasn’t renewed by UG. He should examine the context: two “papers” produced in 26 years!!!
Once again what’s the point of the Natural Resources Ministry “monitoring” gold prices. If they could predict where gold prices would go, we don’t need the gold industry. The ministry could just speculate.
This seems to be the guiding principle of the opposition in Guyana since they got their one-seat majority in Parliament a year ago. So President Donald Ramotar refuses to assent to two bills that are clearly violating the Constitution and what does the opposition do? No, not consider the folly of their ways and repent. That’ll be asking too much. Not even going to the court if they think the president is wrong in interpreting then constitution.
That would be acting within the rule of law. And you know that’s anathema to a bunch determined to living on the wild side. Protests with pulling timber across roadways, blocking bridges, burning buildings (the more the merrier) and trapping thousands of commuters is more their style. But this time they decided to go beyond anything they’ve tried before. It was “payback time” for them when the Money Laundering Bill came up.
As we reported, “the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has given Guyana until the end of the month to upgrade its Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism law, in keeping with recommendations from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. If Guyana misses the May 27 deadline and is blacklisted by OECD countries, movement of money in or out of Guyana will be intensely scrutinised, thus creating significant delays in the financial and banking system.
The U.S., Canada, the UK and the European Union (EU) last month all teamed up to provide Guyana with experts at a workshop on money laundering.”
Now we had representatives from the Caribbean Task force, so it’s not as if the opposition doesn’t know what his is all about. The opposition, as everybody knows, has a direct pipeline to anything that goes on in Caribbean institutions with Guyanese involvement. Remember Carl Greenidge inside the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery? So with the gun literally at our country’s head, the opposition decides to pay a game of Russian Roulette. They sent the bill to a select committee.
Here’s a bunch of jokers who can pronounce on an entire economic strategy encompassed in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) or the Amaila Falls Project in a single sitting but they can’t approve of a Money Laundering Amendment Bill? What has their shadow Finance Minister Greenidge been doing all this time? Taking more junkets to Europe?
Sadly, their callous power play has the potential of hurting our country – in more ways than one. Once we get on some list of “noncompliance” on money laundering and (most importantly) terrorism, we’ll be literally marked forever.
We hope the Opposition comes to whatever sense they have left in them.
Joining the fray
The Stabber News had been taken to task by the MuckrakerKN’s Editor-in-Chief Adam Harris on quite a few occasions for not joining the marches in the streets and in assorted foreign cities to complain about not getting radio licences. Harris pretty much accused the Stabber of mooching for a free lunch — or in this case, a free radio licence – off the Muckraker’s sweat. And boy, did Mook Lall’s head sweat in the sun!!
So we guess, not wanting to be cussed out by the Mook himself (we understand the man has quite a wide vocabulary in scatology), the Stabber decided to renew its opposition credentials. Yesterday, it pulled out an old letter from that certified moocher Tony Vieira and piggybacked on its outrageous claims to say its licence was ahead of TVG’s. Apart from proving conclusively that these fellas aren’t interested that the radio monopoly was broken…they just want a piece of the action. But the Stabber piece doesn’t add much to the discussion. We’re disappointed. At least we thought they knew about the rights of corporate ownership.
…on City Clerk
For the longest while, Mayor Hamilton Green and his band of sycophants claimed the acting Town Clerk was unqualified. Now they interviewed dozens of applicants…and none match her qualifications. She’s maybe overqualified?
There’s always been speculation about what happens after life. Some say you go to heaven… or most likely, human nature being what it is, to hell. Well, after Executive Committee (ExCo) member Ralph Ramkarran left the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), which was life to him, we’re finding out. We’d have said Ramkarran was in some kind of limbo. You know, that region right outside of hell where you hang around until the powers that be decide what to do with you.
But Ramkarran just informed us as to where he actually is. Seems there is such a thing as “virtual reality” and Ramkarran has taken up residence there. We should’ve suspected. For the past year, we haven’t actually seen the man. The only clue he’s still around is a column in a blog called “Conversation Tree”. Conversation Tree exists in virtual reality.
Now the real Conversation Tree, at the turnoff where Ramkarran lives, has dried up and died. This was one clue that all was not well with Ramkarran. I mean, if the signifier of your existence dries up, it doesn’t send a reassuring message, does it? Anyhow, every week, the Stabber News picks up Ramkarran’s column and reprints it in its Sunday edition with a photo of Ramkarran and everything.
This is to reassure us that Ramkarran is still around…and, more to the point, that he matters. To drive home the latter point, the Stabber then goes on to carry the contents of the column as a news story later in the week. They just add “he said” and “she said” and other codes to imply that they’re reporting the words of a real live person from Earth. But in this week’s column, Ramkarran blew his cover, so to speak.
Actually, he tried to paint a picture of the PPP/C he left back on Earth. Said they’re in a virtual reality, which he first compared to the “Matrix”. But he blew his analogy when he also said the PPP/C was in the Orwellian world of “1984”. I mean, George Orwell described a real live world that would be created if true believer Marxist-Leninists like Ramkarran ever got into power. In the “Matrix”, it’s machines that take over.
But Ramkarran really ought to visit the real world if he wants to be taken seriously. When he was back on Earth with the PPP/C, the rap against him was that he was “alienated” from the masses. Now that he exists only in virtual reality, who listens?
We really wonder what’s going on over in the Ministry of Culture. Dr Frank Anthony comes over as a humble guy. But to paraphrase Winston Churchill, seems like he has a lot to be humble about. He just can’t seem to make up his mind on this “Arrival Day” business. Is it “Arrival Day”? Or “Indian Arrival Day”? We’re getting all confused out here. All the events the ministry sponsored seem to say, “Indian Arrival Day”, but then he shows up and talks about this generic “arrival business”. Enough already!
Then to rub salt into the confused local wounds, the ministry goes and invites two Trinis – Brinsley Samaroo and Kusha Haracksingh – to lecture Guyanese about our indentured experience. Two problems. First, these fellows are real establishment types spouting only the “official line”. Haracksingh, for instance, used to be chairman of the Caronie, the Trinidad sugar company they eventually closed down.
Secondly, don’t we have any Guyanese who can speak on these matters? Guyana’s ethnic relations are significantly different from those of Trinidad, and people who comment on our ethnic affairs at this critical juncture ought to be more aware of our nuances.
With Forbes Burnham’s award in limbo (not virtual reality) – if not nixed, Barrington Braithwaite of the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) took his fellow executive member Tacuma Ogunseye to task for putting the People’s National Congress (PNC) on the spot about Dr Walter Rodney. Ah…the trials and tribulations of the true believers!
The murders of two men – one in Sophia and the other in Berbice – has forced the nation to grapple with this latest descent into barbarity. Now while there’s been a great deal of ink spilled over the depravity of those who inflicted the fatal beatings – we’d like to make a wider connection.
You see, these kinds of societal breakdowns and the incidents – wide apart as they were geographically and ethnically – are society-wide and are never happenstance. Invariably, they’re connected with broader movements that create a mindset in which the illegal behaviour is justified.
It all has to do with how we are socialised to look at the law and the organs of the state to deal with the inevitable disputes in every society – excepting possibly heaven. And even there, we heard of a fellow, high up the hierarchy, who disagreed with how things were going and had to be expelled. In these matters the fish, as they say, starts to stink at the top.
Now look at what’s been going on in Guyana for over a year. There’s an election. The opposition can’t wait for the count to be done properly. They march up and down the streets of Georgetown, threatening Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials. The police have to use condign force to keep the peace. The police gets blamed – by opposition leaders, one of whom actually was a former commissioner and another, head of the army. The authority of the forces of law and order is diminished in the eyes of the populace.
A while later, the Alliance for Change (AFC) disagrees with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) about gradually equalising the electricity tariffs for Linden. The PPP/C and APNU worked with the system – the PPP/C wanted equalisation, APNU only agreed after it forced the PPP/C to raise pensions. AFC then breaks the rules of the (political) game, runs down to Linden, screams they were betrayed by the PPP/C (“racist”) and APNU (“sell-out”) and all hell breaks loose as APNU backtracks trying to protect its turf.
The police are called in to keep the peace, the law is broken and flouted, shots are fired, three demonstrators die, and…the police are blamed. Their authority is diminished once again. Protests now pop up every time there’s a disagreement. No one wants to use the legal system. Why are we now surprised when ordinary people take vigilante justice when they “catch a thief”?
The opposition leaders must start leading by example when it comes to using the law to settle disputes.
The long running soap-opera “As the World Turns” had evidently been replaced by a local production called “As City Hall Turns”. Every day there’s a new twist but the theme’s always the same: the avaricious mayor Hamilton Green and his band of renegades holding the citizens of our (once fair) city to ransom.
In the recent episodes, the mayor was upstaged by a steely-eyed gunslinger brought in from the outside by the Local Government Ministry. And to add drama to the storyline – the gunslinger’s a woman. While the mayor was able to outdraw all the other hired-guns brought in to clean-up the mess in the corrupt city, it looked like he met his match this time.
Untouched by the dirt that evidently accretes on everyone who’s come though the City Hall swamp, the Town Clerk Carol Sooba had some old-fashioned ideas. Like a person must work for what they get paid. A real revolutionary, if you know City Hall.
In the latest episode, the mayor wants to fire the town clerk for “insubordination”. Previously, it was for being unqualified. Now after interviewing eight candidates they can’t get anyone qualified. Poor mayor. Stay tuned.
Lest it be thought your faithful Eyewitness is heartless let me assure everyone that every Mothers’ Day the Eyewitness sings Mighty Sparrow’s “Mothers Love” to his dear old Mom, who’s still around to pull him up!