March 7, 2014 By
March 7, 2014 By
This February, the Akwaaba Centre of the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) was the hive of cultural and economic activity for the celebration of African History Month. Three main activities attracted hundreds of schoolchildren, young adults and senior citizens to the centre.
The first and busiest activity was the brainchild of Violet Jean-Baptise, Aisha Jean-Baptiste, Clementine Marshall and Shamane Headley. It was ACDA’s first month long cultural exhibition.
Entitled “Sankofa”, 21 schools and seven groups from Georgetown, Berbice and Essequibo visited the exhibition. They were all treated to an emotional and educational experience, comprising a lecture, guided tour, video and storytelling. Individuals ranging in ages from six to 72 attended the event. Photographs, sculptures, artefacts, books, cloth and wooden carvings were on display.
The Museum of African Heritage provided the Guyanese history context by providing pictures and banners from slavery and the 1763 Slave Rebellion. This included a very detailed miniature sculpture of the 1763 Monument by the late icon Philip Moore. In two months, ACDA will repeat this month long exhibition format, under the theme, “Africans in Science”.
The second event for African History Month was a very successful youth entrepreneurship conference, entitled “Creating and Sustaining Generational Wealth”.
Eighty young adults from the Pan African Organisation (Guyana branch), the African Cultural and Educational Association of Essequibo (ACEA), Youth Vision of Linden, the Festival City Youth Organisation, the Sea View Cultural Group of West Berbice, ACDA, the University of Guyana (UG) and the general public were in attendance.
This one-day event, which was created to honour the 100th Anniversary of the establishment by Marcus Garvey of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the 175th Anniversary of the Village Movement (Victoria in November 1839), was supported by Ambassador Robert Kopecky of the European Union (EU), who spoke on programmes available to Guyanese from the EU.
Other speakers included Audrey Gomes of the Small Business Bureau of the Trade and Tourism Ministry, Kevin Bonnett of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Hubert Forrester of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Craig of the Partners of the Americas, K Chattergoon of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), and Michelle Hennery of the Guyana Youth Business Trust.
ACDA would like to acknowledge Terrence Campbell (CAMEX Inc), Derrick Cummings (SBB), Glenyss Adams-James (Commonwealth Youth Secretariat), Dr James Rose (Director of Culture), Robert Persaud (Natural Resources Minister), Violet Jean-Baptiste (ACDA) and Nigel Johnson (Nigel’s Supermarket) for their financial assistance for this endeavour. This will be an annual event every African History Month.
The third major activity in ACDA for African History Month was the visiting of schools to assist them in their own activities. ACDA visited the Berbice Multilateral School in New Amsterdam and participated in the very colourful North Georgetown Secondary School sixth annual Culture Day.
Apart from this, ACDA visited the St John’s Golden Jubilee Club, comprising seniors at their request, and later hosted them at the Akwaaba Centre for a lecture tour. These 16 women are all above 65 years of age and meet every Wednesday to keep each other’s company in well-structured activities.
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 7, 2014 By
The event came and went as though it never occurred. I am talking here about the University of Guyana (UG) Annual Career/Open Day Fair. It had a good theme: “Honouring the past, moulding the present, and transforming the future”.
However, the whole thing was trivialised and not well promoted, and as expected, the consequence was that it was not well supported.
If our UG is to be true to the fact that it is the premiere academic body in this land, then certain things must follow. The event is annual and so it should really be built up. The organisers should have utilised skills and experience from its publicity department.
They could have joined with communication students and gone to the various media outlets and apprised the public of what was in store. I saw neither banners nor posters on our roads or sea wall. I am very disappointed with what transpired.
I remind readers that the university was founded some 50 years ago, having as its major goal the preparation of the best and brightest minds among our people. The big cry in today’s world is the lack in human resources.
In this regard, I want to know why no one is screening potential students and advising them on areas of studies. It is always so predictable that we turn out so many people from the areas of social science, namely social work and sociology. How about gearing more people for science, mathematics, literature and language studies and careers? We do have great demands in these areas.
Right now a lot of sprucing up is done and this means money. I do emphasise here that a good building and up-to-date facility are not what universities are about. Yes, the physical infrastructure should be there, but it is the variety and quality of the student body that will ultimately matter.
I am hoping to be informed more about UG – a regular publication, spaces in the print media and special programmes on television and radio. These kinds of things will tell me that we are making progress and are an excited group of people. They will also whet the appetite of the high school students across Guyana.
Name withheld by request
March 7, 2014 By
A quick glance around the city of Georgetown for which Mayor Hamilton Green and the City Council have responsibility could only lead us to deduce that they have no plans for improving the conditions under which the citizen of Georgetown live. In such cases, the budget is merely an exercise of adhocracy.
Our government recognised this laxity on the part of the City Council many years ago. That is why, notwithstanding the fact that the existing legislation allows the council to prepare and approve its own annual estimates, government has sought through the Local Government and Regional Development Ministry to ensure that annual budget estimate of the council emanates out of a process of consultation with residents.
Government also wants to ensure that this focuses inter alia on providing core services, such as proper drainage, efficient solid waste management, vending in markets and market tarmac under good sanitary conditions, and removal of thick vegetation, ensuring that the incidents of breeches of building codes are addressed.
In addition, we have sought to work with the council to get the body to address the inadequacies and inefficiencies highlighted in the Keith Burrows’s report. These include issues of transparency of procurement, accountability, debt collection and management.
Quiet recently, more so since the appointment of Town Clerk Carol Sooba, the council has sought to distance itself from this transparent arrangement that is aimed at assisting the council to do what is right for the citizens of Georgetown and by extension Guyana.
I wish to highlight several of the inadequacies which the ministry has discerned from a close examination of the council’s 2014 budget proposals.
The council in its 2014 budget proposal plans to expend $2.302 billion dollars out of anticipated revenue inflow of $2.505 billion revenue. In other words, the council plans to spend almost 250 million dollars more than what it plans to receive.
There is no explanation as to how the council will finance this deficit. The ministry, after carefully examining the budget, has noticed that employment cost and employment overheads stand at 56 per cent of total anticipated inflow, and a mere 28 per cent of this inflow is set aside for capital works.
Overtime continues to be high in the budget and the budgeted staff strength, which in the Ministry’s 2013 review was already high, increased by four per cent for 2014. That means the council plans to add more numbers to the already underutilised staff. Provisions are also made in the budget for increases for the council’s stipend and allowances, as well as gratuity for a poor performing council. This is unheard of.
In short, the council plans to spend almost 70 per cent of rates and taxes for 2014 on themselves and staff, with a current liability of $1.3 billion dollars, including debts to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Public Relations Unit
March 7, 2014 By
India goes to the polls from April 9 in what is described as the largest and lengthiest democratic practice in the world. Over 814 million voters are eligible to cast ballots, an increase of 100 million voters since the election of 2009. All balloting will be done on computers.
The exercise will span some 36 days from the first date of balloting through nine separate dates or phases of voting to allow for different parts of the country to vote. Security and workers have to be transported to the various locations to oversee voting. There will be over 200,000 workers at 930,000 polling stations. Some 1,878,306 electronic ballot units will be used to cast ballots.
Among the new features in this general election would be the introduction of the “None Of The Above” (NOTA) option in the electronic voting machines, and the adoption of a voter verifiable paper audit trail system in some constituencies. In other words, voters don’t have to put an “X” next to the name of a candidate but can vote NOTA if they are not pleased with the choices.
In 2009, computers were used to cast ballots but there were no audits to determine if fraud was committed. Many people believe there was fraud in the election as they did not expect the Congress to win a second term. Thus, the Elections Commission has decided to allow a paper trail to deter attempts at fraud.
This election casts the ruling Congress against the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as head of two separate alliances. There are also a number of regional cast-based and language based parties. The BJP governed India between 1998 and 2004, while Congress governed with an alliance over the last 10 years. This election will see corruption and ill-governance as major issues, along with livelihood and safety concerns.
Opinion polls put the BJP ahead and the Congress with a dismal showing. The Congress, with many of the allies pulling in different directions, is seeking to disassociate itself from it, and some of the Ministers have been caught in corruption scandals. The Congress is seen as very weak and ineffectual and opinion polls show the Congress with virtually no chance at re-election.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. He has been polling the most support among the candidates for Prime Minister. He is seeking to turn the election into a vote for a strong, able government that does not waver in decision-making. But he is facing a strong challenge from a new entrant, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that stunned the nation with almost winning a majority in Delhi legislative assembly elections last December.
The AAP is led by Arvind Kejriwal, a former tax collector, who has been attracting a large following and could upset electoral outcomes in several key constituencies. He is an indefatigable fighter against corruption. He has threatened to contest against Modi in the holy city of Varanasi.
There is also a group of parties that have decided to come together presenting themselves as a third alternative to the Congress and BJP. They may do well in their own states where they are popular. The electorate is polarised and fragmented and anything could play. Campaigning is expected to be stiff. There are likely to be a lot of surprises in this coming election.
Held simultaneously with the general elections to the parliament are legislative elections to several states. People are expected to vote along traditional lines in the state elections.
March 7, 2014 By
As is now becoming a new tradition, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is celebrating the lives of their founders – Dr Cheddi Jagan and his wife Janet Jagan. Dr Jagan was born and died in March while Mrs Jagan also died in that month.
March, as the harbinger of Spring, when life bursts anew, is aptly symbolic of the role these two individuals played in bringing the hopes and aspirations of so many of the people of this country into life.
The facts of their lives are two well known to be rehearsed here; it is the significance of their achievements that must be stressed, since there is a concerted movement afoot, to whitewash their roles out of our history, under the rubric of “historical revisionism”.
It is said that “cometh the hour, cometh the leader” and so it was with the young Jagans. Arriving from the U.S. in 1943, they found a Guyana that fermenting under the pressures induced by the Great Depression that had segued into WWII. They returned without significant material wealth but with a wealth of knowledge that has served the country in its times of need.
They knew after WWII was over, the franchise would have to be given to the previously excluded masses in the fields and factories. The older politicians also knew this: even though not publicly released, it was common knowledge that the “Moyne” Royal Commission had recommended universal suffrage. But those politicians had been so habituated into catering to the previously enfranchised middle class that they did not have the wherewithal to widen their appeal and reach.
It was the Jagans’ historical role that they were posed of both ideological and methodological postulates to analyse the society and to suggest changes that were necessary to move it forward to join the comity of nations they saw emerging out of the war. It is to their credit that they attempted to work with the existing groupings but soon saw that the latter could conceive of only “reforming” the existing imperialist system, and not of changing it, root and branch. With youthful enthusiasm they struck out on their own.
The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) was launched in 1946 as a seemingly innocuous “discussion group” at the public library but it was anything but that due to the topics they introduced for discussion and, more importantly, for the Marxist ideological tools they introduced to interpret the issues. The previous year, the Jagan’s had attended the Caribbean Labour Congress that was held in Georgetown, which most of the radical labour leaders of the region attended.
The Jagan’s realised that the travails of the working class of Guyana were not unique but were merely symptomatic of the underlying structural conditions precipitated by a colonial government executing the programme of a plantocracy unwilling to change. The PAC then was able to analyse the challenges facing the colony in a more holistic fashion than the older ethnic-based organisations that were inevitably blinkered because of the trenches they occupied.
Dr Jagan’s role in contesting, and winning a seat to the Legislature in the 1947 general elections, in which the franchise was enlarged but still restricted, was seminal but so was the role of Mrs Jagan in launching a women’s group along with the other two members of the “3 J’s” – Jessie Burnham and Jane-Phillips Gay.
Prior to this, women were expected to be like children – seen and not heard, even though they had to labour equally in the fields and factories. Key to Dr Jagan’s success in entering the Legislature, where he launched an unprecedented struggle for the working class, were the efforts of many youthful radicals who had been fired by the discussions within the PAC.
The PPP/C’s launch in 1950, with the announcement of imminent universal franchise, in this fashion had already been laid. The rest, as they say, is history.
March 6, 2014 By
Some people just like to be in every ting. Dem is pot salt, accordin to old people. Dem love to be in de eyes of de public. Dem like deh in newspaper and deh pun t-vee and radio. De Cee-Hen-S man used to like put he face pun he own t-vee station. People get fed up seein he in real life. Then dem get fed up seein he pun t-vee too.
Now Son-Son tek over, although if was radio alone yuh woulda never know is a son-son. But that is nutten new nowadays. Just listen to some a dem boys who does dress like boys and who seh dem is boys talk and yuh gon know right away whah goin. Nutten ain’t wrong wid whah goin on, is just that some tings does happen in de dark, like de man who does pick pumpkins night time.
Good ting de good book seh whah ever is done in dark does come to light. And de good book mean that no matter how it dark, it gon still come to light – even if is moon light – just like how de pumpkin man get ketch. De secret whah every body know is who he get ketch wid.
Well, de pumpkin man also happen to be a mud paper man. And that mud paper man does instruct de headitor fuh write and talk good tings bout he. Plus publish he photos. Even Sleeping Tom does deh under instructions, and sometimes under de instructor.
It got another man who like to protest all alone so that he alone gon be in the photos in de mud paper. If ever it had a man who like to be on t-vee, believe it or leave it, Ben Cup is de man. De Kiss Man used to join up wid he a lotta times, because he also want de same ting whah Ben Cup want.
Ting-a-ling-a-ling…friend tell friend…mattie tell mattie! That is why dem end up fightin wid one another. And it wasn’t fuh publicity and kissin alone!
March 6, 2014 By
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) would like to once again express its profound disappointment at the continuous action of the combined opposition to place Guyana and Guyanese in the path of the impending dangerous consequences following the non-passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill.
Guyana missed another deadline, the latest being February 28. Given the position taken by the opposition, the PPP/C is compelled to ask again, why would these elected representatives who profess to have the welfare of Guyanese at heart, including their own supporters, wilfully and maliciously place all in harm’s way?
Over the many months the main opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), failed to make known objections it may have regarding the bill and only a few days ago made a lastminute submission. This was clearly a deliberate attempt to not only delay debates to facilitate the passage of the bill, but to bring to bear unwarranted suffering to the hard-working people of this country.
More so, it was a deliberate attempt to embarrass and have Guyana sanctioned by the international community so as to derail the overwhelming progress achieved under the PPP/C-led administration. This is the latest of many attempts by the opposition to reverse the economic strides of our nation and return this now free, democratic and progressive country, to a state of bankruptcy and backwardness.
While this is nothing new for the opposition, given their public position of professing to be working for a better Guyana, it would have been reasonable to expect a sense of nationalism and to act responsibly. Their actions have made it pellucid that such positions articulated were mere exercises in political rhetoric and deception, even for their own supporters.
The PPP/C would like to reiterate that the government it leads entered the discussions regarding the bill in good faith. The Alliance For Change (AFC) signalled its willingness to support the passage of the bill based on a resolution regarding the Public Procurement Commission (PPC). The AFC had been adamant that their support was hinged on the establishment of the PPC. Despite the AFC’s demand, it was clear that it had no contention with the actual bill but wanted what they insisted on as prerequisite for support.
It is therefore extremely mindboggling that the AFC, which vehemently professes to be responsible and independent, has reneged on the resolution reached regarding the PPC and has now adapted the position taken by APNU. This can only be viewed as a resort to treachery by the AFC and is further demonstrative of that party’s gross attempts to continue to mislead and misinform the nation and their supporters regarding its independency and its false claims of not working in cohorts with APNU.
Recently, Juan Hernandez, an official from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), reiterated what the government has been saying all along: that the bill in its current form is compliant. He also was clear when he noted that amendments proposed by APNU would make the current bill non-compliant and would therefore place the country at risk.
This is clearly a vindication of what the government continues to articulate. Given this, the question becomes obvious, why would the AFC suddenly adapt APNU’s position and thereby collaborating to place the country and its people in jeopardy? This wholesale adaption of the positions taken by APNU will serve to continue the erosion of the AFC’s credibility.
The dogmatic approach which APNU continues to take is consistent with its position of not wanting any movement on the bill. The PPP/C reiterates that both APNU and the AFC have deliberately not taken into consideration the harsh consequences the non-passage of this bill would bring to bear on the people of this nation.
It must be asked, why would both parties continue to ignore the related challenges their own supporters can face? The effects of the non-passage of this bill are not confined to only members of the PPP/C and the actions of the opposition is further indicative of their wanton disregard for the welfare of our people.
It should also be noted that during the all-party talks pertaining to the passage of the bill, the PPP/C-led government exhausted all opportunities for a resolution and has taken an extremely reasonable position during those discussions. Unfortunately, the intransigence of the opposition has led to Guyana missing the deadline.
Guyanese must remain cognisant of these actions by the Opposition which are intrinsically designed to wreck the economy, to bring hardships to all, including their supporters, as it continues to foster a political agenda which is counterproductive to the development of Guyana.
The party takes this opportunity to thank all those who have, and continue to express their support, for the position taken by the government for the passage of the bill. This expression of support was further demonstrated through the town-hall style meetings held recently in non-traditional PPP/C areas.
These meetings which were held to provide an opportunity for Guyanese to seek clarification and to freely express their views, were tremendously successful. The feedback from these meetings and the public at large have been overwhelming in its support and appreciation for the current bill to pass.
This show of unity and nationalistic pride holds good for the future of our country despite the Opposition’s continuous attempts to ignore the will of the Guyanese people. Once again, our party would like to express its gratitude to all who continue to show support for the government’s position regarding passage of this bill. It is therefore profoundly unfortunate that in this context, the Opposition would continue to exhibit a wanton disregard for nationhood.
March 6, 2014 By