August 1, 2014

Wrong and strong…

…on Pharma bidding

For years now the naysayers – and the ones bitten by the green-eyed monster over at the Muckraker – have been criticising the Government’s procurement policy on pharmaceuticals. We’re not going to mention back in the (PNC) day, when ALL drugs were sourced through the nationalised GPC – nat a squeak was made. Even though shortages were the order of the day…and week…and month…and years.

No squeaks also when the second-term PPP/C Government switched to the international suppliers PAHO, UNICEF and International Dispensary Association (IDA), etc. But the moment the Government considered the now privatised NEW GPC INC (Guyanese owned) and saved about 20-30 per cent on the foreign prices, there were sour faces and gnashing of teeth. Lots of gnashing of teeth.

In addition, to the aforementioned savings, so what if hundreds of Guyanese were now employed and paying taxes along with their employer?? So what if there were billions in investments in production lines and temperature-controlled warehouses?? So what if that we could claim the honour of being the first in the Caribbean to manufacture anti-retro viral drugs to fight AIDS at a fraction of the US costs?? Hey, it was a democracy, no?? And people had the right to lie and libel!

But the Government took the criticisms in good stead and changed the rules to encourage transparency. But “selective tendering” after a National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) was established didn’t cut any ice.

A few years later when the Government followed WHO guidelines on pharmaceutical procurement and introduced a “pre-qualification” procedure – with the pre-qualified suppliers still having to compete with the international giants PAHO, etc… the screams intensified. Just because NEW GPC was one of two companies that pre-qualified.

So last year, the Government went for even more transparency: an anonymous panel would evaluate the pre-qualification criteria now given specific points. And guess what??? The screams began afresh. Why?? Now don’t be silly…NEW GPC had once again beaten the field!! But this time, it looks like the Government’s had it with this nonsense.

Two companies, IPA and Trini ANSA McCAL claimed they had the required warehouse space. Trouble was, one’s bottling water in their space while the other’s storing beer (Carib, Stag)! So what if pharmaceutical storage need precise temperature controls?? Hey!! It’s only Guyanese lives!

And now we find that the “giant” ANSA didn’t even fill out the paperwork for manufacturer’s authorisation to distribute drugs!! They bluffed – saying they’re distributors for some five named drugs.

As if we all didn’t know the bidding’s for hundreds of drugs!! Guyanese lives?? That’s cheap.

…against women

OK. We know this Vanessa Kissoon from Linden ain’t easy. But growing up in any mining community, like the old sugar estates, ensures the rough edges remain firmly in place. So after David Granger wanted to show Khemraj Ramjattan that he, Granger, “is maan”, but to do so had to depend on women like Kissoon to rile up a riot on Linden, you can’t blame the woman to be pi55ed off when Granger up and moved her from her seat in Parliament and banished her to the back benches.

Then to have Granger’s lackey General Secretary wrench the keys to the PNC Linden office from her, just to hand it over to a “loyalist”, had to have further raised her blood pressure. The final straw, we guess, was the Congress where she and her delegation had to dive for cover from a gunshot fired by one of Granger’s old Army squaddies.

It’s very undignified for a young female to become so dishevelled. So she’s giving it to Granger good! Ouch!!

…on guns

The Army said in1976, nine Smith and Wesson 9mm pistols were issued to an “R Corbin” of the National Development Ministry. But we know that can’t be PNC’s Robert Corbin, can it??

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Seizing power…

…in PNC

The original “gang of eight” was a bunch of old fogies who once ruled China from behind the scenes. They were so lacking in energy, they could only meet once a week. And if a subject came up for discussion that they couldn’t agree on, it was immediately dropped. They just couldn’t muster the stamina to debate. Obviously, they had to go if China was going to ever get ahead.

So they were thrown out – and look where China is today. Fast forward to Guyana after 2000, and Joey Jagan discerned a “gang of eight” in Guyana – with his mother, Ralph Ramkarran, Moses Nagamootoo, and Khemraj Ramjattan as some of the big wigs. Well, that gang’s no more – and Guyana’s doing quite well, thank you…and would do even better if the Opposition weren’t determined to “bruk up” the country – if they can’t have the government.

Well, the PNC was never one to be left behind – and at their just-concluded scandalous Congress, their own “gang of eight” took over the party. By hook or crook. If long-time stalwarts Norton and Greenidge and a host of others are to be believed, it was mostly “by crook”. But the dust hasn’t even settled from that sirocco and we’re already hearing sounds of cooing and sweet nothings. Seems the fellas who were rigged out of their democratic rights still want in.

Reminds this Eyewitness of that oldie from the Stylistics, “Break up to make up”. The lyrics go like this:

“Yo, why should we break up if we keep makin’ up?

Yo, I mean let’s just stay together

So won’t ya pull up to my window? I’ma take your order

Anythin’ you want girl you know I get it for ya.”

But the question is whether Granger’s gonna tell Norton, “Anythin’ you want boy, you know I get it for ya”. Frankly, we don’t think so. One of the gang of eight, Basil Williams, was rather outraged that Greenidge would have the nerve to demand that PNC’s internal election be free and fair. “What the (expletive deleted), he thinks this is?? GECOM? This is a (expletive deleted) party.”

The PNC gang of eight, contrary to the protestations of some apologists before the Congress, feels “different strokes for different folks” is the guiding principle when it comes to “democracy”.

So we ask the new gang of eight the question originally posed by Donna Summers: “Who do you think you’re foolin’?” And her wise advice: “You’re halfway up the ladder?/or are you really halfway down?/you never know in this town.”

We think it’s halfway down.

…or living in fool’s paradise

There’s this lawyer who pops up ever so often with some crackpot scheme. Makes you certain the “continuing education” programme by the Bar had to have lapsed. Looking at the present impasse in politics, he’s come up with the solution. No… not the Mike Persaud one to place a person from “the other race” to lead the two major parties.

This fella suggests that since it takes “ONLY a two-thirds majority of the votes in Parliament” to change the Constitution, why don’t the parties in that big house change the rule on forming the government?? More specifically that 51 per cent of the votes should be needed to win the elections – and not just the “largest” party as it is right now. The hick lawyer should’ve asked himself why the change wasn’t made up to now. We won’t even answer it for him.

But we’ll suggest another question that should help. Why don’t the two Opposition parties form a coalition BEFORE the election??? Isn’t that easier???

…through the barrel of a gun

Word is that the fella featured prominently with a gun in his hand – and nabbed fleeing the jurisdiction – is an ex-army man with a long-standing relationship with Granger. He might not be in the “official” bodyguard squad, but….

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In the genes…

…rigging in PNC

It used to be said, Corbin was “the PNC rigger”. But that couldn’t have been so from the beginning, could it?? After all, when the 1968 elections were rigged, Corbin was still in the YSM. It was the Founder-Leader himself, working with his legal chambers associate, Hugh Desmond Hoyte, who pulled off that heist. When journalism classes the world over teach “the rigging of elections” they still pull out that classic effort that the BBC filmed.

From the voters’ list in London, (they had overseas voting then) horses can be seen serenely grazing at identified voters’ addresses – presumably having already cast their ballots. The camera, however, was unable to pick up any ink-stained hooves.

One thing with Burnham as a rigger…he never pulled the same stunt twice when he rigged. The man had imagination. By 1973, he’d moved on to calling in the Army and National Service to stuff ballot boxes. This was when Young Corbin earned his rigging spurs.

In the 1980 elections, dubbed by international observers as “more crooked than barbed wire”, Burnham’s riggers didn’t even bother to remove the rubber bands from the wads of ballots “cast by voters”. Folks didn’t want to be “ballot box martyrs” no mo’. Corbin had earned a graduate degree in rigging by now. By 1985, with Burnham gone to the hereafter, redolent of sulphur, Hoyte gave himself a majority greater than Burnham had ever dared. This was post-graduate stuff for Corbin.

But at the next round in 1992, Hoyte gave away the store and state (as Hamilton Green charged) so when Corbin’s turn came, he couldn’t do a damn thing, excepting marching up and down the streets, creating mayhem.

But hey…when you’ve been rigging for so many years, you can’t be expected to stop cold turkey, just like that, can you? So Corbin then turned to the next available thing – rigging the internal PNC’s election. Hey!!! When a guy’s gotta rig, a guy’s gotta rig!!

Vincent Alexander, long time stalwart of the party, was rigged royally and left, swearing never to cross the bridge to Congress Place again. But stalwarts tutted and said, “Well, you, know it’s that ruffian Corbin. What can you do?? Things will be better when we put that gentleman Granger there.” So no one said anything when Corbin rigged the vote to get Granger in ahead of old stalwart, Greenidge.

So why’s anyone surprised that Granger has now rigged Norton out of his turn?? Didn’t Burnham the rigger begat Hoyte the rigger, who begat Corbin the rigger – and now, Granger the rigger?? It’s in the genes.

…conflict of interest in AFC

The PPP/C’s finally woken up and brought motions in Parliament against AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan and Executive Member Cathy Hughes to be brought before the Privileges Committee for engaging in blatant conflicts of interest. We don’t know why they didn’t do so before…but better later than never, we guess.

The Speaker – ex-leader of the AFC, Rafael Trotman – summarised the gravamen of the charge: “The accusation against both is that they committed unethical violations as both have/had conflict of interest issues which influenced their decisions with respect to the Amaila Falls project, the Marriott Hotel project and the Specialty Hospital project.”

We got a hint of where the Speaker’s most likely going with this when he scoffingly referred to the PPP/C’s motions as “two letters that were styled as motions”. But this is where the PPP/C will have to draw the line on constitutional supremacy and equal treatment in Guyana.

If the performance of his Office can take the Finance Minister to the Privileges Committee, why allow representing paid clients in Parliament to be less of an “infraction”??

…no confidence

Having stated they’ve “lost confidence” in Granger, but will remain in the PNC, shouldn’t Lindeners move a party “no confidence” vote in the General??

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What now??

…from PNC

No. Your Eyewitness isn’t going to say, “I told you so about the PNC leadership rigging!”. He’s not even going to gloat. What’s to gloat?? The tragedy and farce that simultaneously unfolded was positively Greek in its inevitability. How could it be otherwise? Your nature will come out, no matter how you try to hide it. No one could’ve expressed more pungently this truth than President Obama: you can put lipstick on a pig…but it’s still a goddamn pig.

The PNC will always be the party of intimidation and bullyism – and that’s why there’s no reason for any Guyanese to gloat. For good or bad, the PNC’s the party of African Guyanese. And for one section of our population to be continuously used as pawns – more like shock troops to intimidate the PPP/C and the populace – doesn’t bode well for Guyana.

More to the point, because he’s been exposed as totally alienated from the ordinary PNC supporter forming its base, Granger in the short term will whip them up into one adventure or another to prove he’s “their man”. And not the weasel he’s shown himself to be up to now. There’s no reason he would’ve allowed the Congress to descend into anarchy if he wasn’t sure he’d lose in “free and fair” elections.

So he’ll have to precipitate some kind of street protest or other – which is sure to plunge Guyana deeper into the coming conflagration. The “hard line” he’s taken on the AML/CFT Bill hasn’t resonated at the grassroots. For Granger and his inner circle of Army sycophants, they might argue they’ve laid siege to the PPP/C’s ability to govern as they strangle the financial system. But the grassroots PNCite wants an “action man”. And strangely for an Army man…this he ain’t.

Those who tried to fight the good fight – not to clean up the party…that’s for Hercules who took care of the Augean Stables after 100 years of horsesh*t – but to finally give the “small man, who never got a chance to be a real man”, they’ll have to move on. As Norton said quite openly, the PPP/C’s not an option, now that he’s been shown the door by Granger.

And of course, the same holds for Greenidge and Clarissa Reihl and others. There’s been talk of them joining the AFC…but that bunch’ll never let anyone into that right little circle. They’ll be back to square one.

If they had any sense, they’d get out there and form a movement that’ll finally place ordinary African Guyanese at the centre. And not as the elite’s house slaves.

…at the Rodney CoI

The Rodney CoI resumes today. The PNC – and their handmaidens in the WPA – had accused the Government of convening it to “sully” their name. The question, of course, is whether you can ever sully “mud”, since the PNC’s name’s been mud from the moment it was formed. Anyhow, that argument is academic right now. Even their worst arch enemies couldn’t have pulled off a stunt like the one that just happened at the Congress in Sophia that showed them to be nothing more than the worst low life.

So what’ll we hear at the CoI??? We hear that the soldiers will be testifying. We don’t know exactly who’ll be those soldiers – but the ones that should testify were all at Congress Place when bullets were flying on Sunday. The soldier who knows more than anyone else about Rodney’s death, of course, is the man who just rigged his way to the PNC’s leadership – David Granger, but was then head of the GDF!!

Burnham and Hoyte rigged national elections against the PPP. Granger topped them by rigging his own party’s election!!! Ow maan!!!!

…for Trotman

We wonder what the Donkey Cart economist, the Flower Boy, the Taxi Driver from Queens and Asquith are all now saying about their “Messiah for Democracy”, Granger?

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Why worry??

…follow the Leadah

Now that all the storm and fury have passed at the PNC Congress, we can appreciate the folk wisdom: “When dawg larn fuh suck egg, he cyaan stap!” The PNC was born out of manoeuvrings, plottings and betrayals – and it’ll take more than even the sustained assault of an ex-General Secretary like Norton, to change the modus operandi of the party of Forbes Burnham.

Your Eyewitness is writing this early Sunday morning, still basking in the glow of his Guyana Amazon Warriors’ victory over the Barbados Tridents. That young Beaton showed character, didn’t he?? But when he thinks about the goings on that’ll unfold at Sophia later in the day, for sure he knows it’ll be no Lionel Richie’s “Easy like Sunday morning”! You’re talking about close-up, hand-to-hand combat – no holds barred.

After all the “fat talk” about democratic “one man, one vote” at the Congress – which would’ve given dibs to the PNC for some funding from the IRI – why aren’t we surprised they’ve stuck with “one delegate for every 10 members”? You don’t get it, Dear Readers?? With 750 delegates showing up, that’s a whole lotta dough to buy their votes. But with the 10:1 rule it comes down to a more manageable number. It’s all about money, Baby!!

So we’ll come down to good old-fashioned carrot-and-stick politics…and this Eyewitness is going on a limb to say it’ll be Granger when it’s all over. It’s a simple case of Arithmetic: he has more carrots and sticks as the incumbent leader. So let’s move on to the question as to what kind of PNC can we expect henceforth.

Well, for one, very elitist and leadership from top down. In addition to following in the tradition of the Burnhamite ruling style, this fella Granger was a GENERAL. He was head of a rag-tag army that specialised in shooting ballot box protesters, but a General nonetheless. When he barks, “Jump!!!” PNCites better ask, “How High, SIR!!!??”

On the elitist style, there was a telling anecdote by gossip columnist Kissoon from the MuckrakerKN. Seems he hangs out with Aubrey Norton, but has never even been invited over for tea by Granger. Even though more than anyone else he’s tried to rehabilitate the image of Burnham and the PNC in the last few years!!

Granger wouldn’t be caught dead in the company of someone from Kissoon’s social class. And so we’ll have a PNC where the middle-class big ones will use the lower-class followers as cannon fodder. Same ole, same ole.

…let sugar fail

Granger’s been accused of not having an “ideology”…even though his Donkey Cart economist Khemraj thinks he can discern one. But then from the distance of New York, what can he see?? Now there are pros and cons for having an ideology. It at least gives you a framework for analysing events as they unfold. But it can be a fetter when it is applied dogmatically – against all evidence in front of your eyes.

Take the case of and for sugar in Guyana. Very few know sugar – at least theoretically – like Clive Thomas – who could’ve been Prime Minister with Cheddi, if the WPA hadn’t been too greedy. In an interview with this paper, he offered a very good DESCRIPTION as to where the industry’s at right now. And the most sensible observation that things’ll get worse before they get better.

But when he came to PRESCRIPTION, going against all the evidence, he nixed even partial privatisation. Now this is ideology (Marxist in this case) as blinders!!

…be a slave

A fella took exception to the Muckraker’s resident house-slave Adam Harris, in their Dem Boys Seh column, referring to other Guyanese as “coolies”, “bucks” and “blacks”. He wanted to know why not “ni**er” for the last group.

Especially when his boss calls him that!!!

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Judge, jury and executioner…

…Parliament

The more things change, the more they remain the same. And no. Your Eyewitness is not going to refer to how the phrase is expressed in French. And that’s because you dear readers will have to forgive his “French” as he discusses the load of sh*t that the Opposition’s been dumping on our system of democracy over the actions of the Minister of Finance.

For a country that went through slavery and with Emancipation Day nigh upon us, it’s more than a crying shame and disgrace that they would try to pull the kinda stunt they are. A slave was a slave because he was property. The massa could do what he dammed well pleased with the slave and nothing could be done about it. Your chair can’t sue you if you throw it into the fire, can it??? You know it goddamn well can’t – it’s property and you’re the judge, jury and executioner about its fate.

After the abolition of slavery and we were recognised as “human” and given rights – it was conceded that we should enjoy what’s called “natural justice”. What’s this?? Just a basic rule of fairness if we’re going to be judged – not like the old “massa days” when we were the same as chairs.

More specifically, there are two prongs – no one should be a judge in his own cause. Meaning that no person can judge a case in which they have an interest. The other principle is – the other side must be heard. So let’s see what the Opposition doing to Ashni Singh.

First they made up the charge – the Minister shouldn’t have spent the $4.5 billion that’d been cut from the budget by the same Opposition. The Minister said, “Hey!! I was just doing my job as specified by the Constitution!!” So the Opposition responds, “Listen Budday! You’re in Parliament and we make the rules here. We’re taking you to our Privileges Committee, which we control!”

So the Minister responds, “But we’re not England. Parliament also comes under the Constitution, like me. You gotta take me to the courts, if you think I acted unconstitutionally. They should be the judge.” The Opposition snorted (it could be they farted, but it’s tough to tell), “You can take the Courts and stick them, you know where! We’re asking the Speaker – who just happens to be our fella – to decide”

And – surprise!! surprise!! – Speaker Trotman says, “Later for the Constitution!! It’s the Privileges Committee for you, Buddy.” Looks like Massa Day ain’t done!! Parliament insists it’s judge, jury and executioner.

…PNC Leader

But one thing about the PNC – the big enchilada in the Opposition – they’re an equal opportunity son-of-a-bitch. They can screw their own as good as the Government, when it comes to denying people natural justice. Shows when it comes to power, there are no favourites. Take no prisoners!! Show no mercy!!

So the folk down at Linden were pi55ed that their local girl – an MP no less – was treated like dirt by one of the party big ones from GT. Imagine the fella wrenched the hands of the poor, fragile MPs. Showed what those town folks thought of country folks, no?? Slaves.

Well, the Lindeners demanded Justice. They’re getting it – but it ain’t “natural”. The PNC pulled the same stunt they’re trying in Parliament. Formed a Committee of all their town loyalists to judge the Linden lass.

Talk about trying the Devil in Hell!!! But the girl’s shown the old fogies, she ain’t taking it lying down. She wrapped her head in a scarf, girded her loins and showed up when the leader was on nominating himself. Truth to power!! Guess, Massa can be challenged!!!

…Aussie match referee

Looks like the rot’s even spread to cricket. David Boon just arbitrarily penalised Indian all rounder Jadeja for English fast bowler Anderson pushing him. How dare a chair complain!

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Fat talk…

…from Dagger

In Guyana, everyone has a “false name”. Granger’s is “Dagger”. You know?… the thing you stab others in the back with. People know why they give folks “false names”. Overseas, people tend to be ironic, like calling the hefty fella, “Slim” …but in Guyana, we’re very literal. Without fail, the hefty fella becomes known as “Fat Boy” …No subtlety here!! And we come to “Dagger” in name and “Dagger” in deeds.

After Corbin’s reign over the PNC, even Corbin knew the party didn’t need another Corbin. The fellas figured the PNC needed a makeover – without having to say “sorry”. So they picked Dagger, with his hangdog look and “butter-can’t-melt-in-his-mouth” speech, figuring he’d be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Why, even the racist Indian wanker from Queens blurted out, “Dagger’s like one of us!!!”

Trouble was, Granger turned out to be more fox than wolf. He slyly manoeuvred to seize control of the PNC to buttress his own flaccid ego. Dagger began to do what comes naturally to daggers: backstabbing! Right off the bat, he bypassed the PNC party workers and embedded his old Army protégés to organise the last elections. Ex-Lieutenant Harmon and Captain Mark Archer are his aide-de-camp more than anything else.

How many years the late Debra Backer hadn’t held the PNC’s Security portfolio?? Why was she summarily shoved aside for Felix – apart from the fact he was a member of the Disciplined Forces and had done several courses under Dagger?? He boasts the PNC’s showing improved because of his Army squaddies. But when you look closer, the most significant change was in Linden where it was all due to old time PNCite – Aubrey Norton.

Norton is the quintessential “PNC man”: willing to mix it up on the streets – but taking time to take his “education” so that he could hold his own verbally. His expertise was in the foreign service. But did Dagger give Norton the foreign service “shadow” portfolios to reward him for services “above and beyond”?? That’s a silly question about a man dubbed “Dagger”.

NORTON WASN’T EVEN MADE AN MP!!! And some wet-behind-the-ears neophyte – whose name no one can recollect (quick…, can you?) was given the post. People like Granger, who’s always been appointed and can’t stand people who stand up to them – will always stifle talent – especially when their competitors have a base.

And that’s the surest way to kill any organisation.

…on PNC’s glory

In what could be his “famous last words”, Granger promised to “restore PNC’s former glory”. You heard right!! This from a man who promised to broaden the PNC’s “traditional base”. After all, what was the “PNC’s glory”?? Couldn’t be the bauxite industry…or the sugar industry…or the rice industry. These were all in ruins by the time the PNC got through with them.

Couldn’t be that new industries were created. Where’s the bicycle, glass, fabric, ceramic or leather factories?? And forget about the “Irish potatoes” that were banned. Couldn’t be the Mazaruni Hydro that never materialised, but into which Burnham pumped $400 million of money squeezed from the sugar industry?? But they say, “man doesn’t live by bread alone”, no? So let’s not talk anymore about the economy…but to the brave new world the PNC brought with “Cooperative Socialism”.

We guess the “glory” was that the “small man” was going to become “the real man”. Yep, he became real all right! Real ingenious to survive in the PNC Police State being described in the Rodney CoI’s hearings.

It’s obvious Granger has a different idea of what’s “glory”.

…on Minister of Finance

The AFC wants to haul Ashni before the Police. The PNC wants to haul him before the parliamentary Privileges Committee. Why?? Because the man is doing his constitutional job. We think Ramjattan and Greenidge should “haul deh ass”!

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Copyright

The issue of copyright has been an ongoing subject of debate and will remain so as long as members of the creative industry believe that more needs to be done to protect their work. And why not? For some, it is their main source of income and their labour and hard work must not be the bounty of the opportunists operating in the lucrative piracy of creative works industry.

This travesty has been stifling the growth and development of the local industry, as it is difficult for professionals to market their work and make a living, much less enjoy a comfortable life. Perhaps, this is the primary reason some of the better-known names in the local performing industry are choosing Guyana mainly for the big concerts, rather than marketing and developing their trade in their homeland.

There has been the argument that modernising the extant 1956 Copyright Act must be a careful exercise, taking into consideration the current situation that obtains in Guyana. Attorney General Anil Nandlall, at a recent forum on Intellectual Property, said thus:

“Speaking for the Government of Guyana, it is not that sufficient attention has not, and will not, be placed in this direction… when one is in the position of Government in a developing country, there are certain considerations to which one cannot turn a blind eye, and one has to be careful that one does not design, implement and execute a system of laws and policies that are inconsistent with the realities of the society in which those rules and regulations are expected to operate.”

Indeed and quite evidently from this pronouncement, the Government recognises the need for copyright reform, but is placed between a rock and a hard place on the matter, more so given its performance at the last General and Regional Elections.

With the prevailing tense political atmosphere, copyright legislation reform, most certainly, now is an item on the bottom of the agenda, both of the Government and Opposition political parties. Interestingly too, the Opposition has never been vocal on the need to modernise the limited 1956 Copyright Act, which does provide protection of literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works.

Guyana inherited the legislation from Great Britain following its Independence in 1966 and has never revised it since, even though its former colonial master had long repealed the legislation that deemed copyright infringement a civil wrong.

From then to now, there have been significant changes, with some experts expressing the need for the Act to be revised to purge it of obsolete clauses, and for it to be broadened to include modern patents, Internet laws, private international law, consumer laws and international business law, among others.

They cannot be more spot-on, as notwithstanding the political climate of Guyana and the current economic realities, the situation ahead is unlikely to change much to create a favourable environment for Government to revise and implement a modern Copyright Act.

What can be done, in keeping with the AG’s suggestion for a careful revision of the Act, is to modernise the old legislation in a gradual manner, with the aim of discouraging acts of intellectual piracy. Guyana can do so by implementing heavy fines and making provisions for out-of-court settlements.

A time must come, regardless of the political atmosphere, that Guyana must move to fully protect its knowledge-based economy by enacting and enforcing legislation that covers the gamut of issues in the area of copyright. It was the lack thereof that contributed to the death of the local cinema industry.

The environment must be created for small and medium-sized enterprises spring forth from the creative industry to develop and flourish, providing a platform for artistic men and women to be nurtured locally, and to become international stars. Jamaica and Trinidad are two sister Caricom nations that provide this enabling environment.

The professionals produced by Guyana can become some of the foremost ambassadors in promoting the country as a tourism destination.

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Cavorting…

…with criminals from the beginning

Minister Rohee accused the PNC of “cavorting with criminals”. We’ve heard of “dancing with the wolves” – but the image invoked by Rohee’s phrase is more suggesting of “dancing with hyenas”. He dared PNC Leader (for now) David Granger to answer his charge. Not surprisingly, Granger did what’s standard in these matters – deny everything and hurl some counter charges.

But for a man who was supposedly only recently “not part of politics” he offered up some pretty categorical denials. But there’s the observation that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”, no?? For a man who was sent to UG on taxpayers money to get several degrees in history, Granger could only be playing the fool. The PNC was midwifed by criminals and criminality and has never shown any inclination to cut those links.

In fact, following their founder-leader Burnham’s lead, the PNC has always flaunted and cultivated its “hooligan” capabilities. The PNC got into power because it was able to come with horrors like its X-13 Plan, found at Congress Place. It was executed by street elements like Emmanuel Fairbairn. The plan was explicit:

“These are rules governing X13”: The Committee should comprise of men governing different sections or a particular type of work. The Chairman could be a person employed by the party and a very high character, subject to the approval of the council. It therefore recommended Comrade Van Gendrine. He would be known or referred to as the ‘Old Man’. He would be responsible directly to the leader Comrade LFS Burnham, for projects, plans, etc., of this organisation. He would be advisor, organiser and coordinator.

“Comrade I Thomas would be responsible for all military training and military advice, posting of men for different duties and all orders should come through him from the Committee, to the men.”

Fairbairn made the following statement to the Police: “I does watchman at Clarke & Martin (Burnham’s Law firm, where Desmond Hoyte also worked) by night and I does get a small piece. During the day I does go to Congress Place…and there I got to know Chippie Graham, because he does detail the watchman duties. On Friday, 17th July, 1964, about 8:00 a.m, Chippie Graham gave me a small square box, he said it was a bomb for Gimpex and I must give it to Godfrey Edgerton and he going to carry it.

“Edgerton was at Congress Place and I give him the box with the bomb and he ride away on his cycle. About 11 o’clock time I was still at Congress Place when I hear the explosion.”

…with criminals during slow fyaah; mo fyaah

How different are those “operations” from the “Freedom Fighters” holed up in Buxton after their prison escape of 2000?? Desmond Hoyte, who is suddenly a “saint”, went into Buxton and denied there were criminals in the village. Very few people know that during the 1964 riots, it was the newly minted lawyer Desmond Hoyte who defended the criminals like Fairbairn in the employ of the PNC.

While Hamilton Green revelled in his role as an “enforcer” and strongman with links to the criminal underworld for the PNC, Desmond Hoyte was just as connected. Granger fools no one when he asserts Hoyte went to arch-criminal Blackie London’s funeral because of “human rights” concerns. Hoyte didn’t have to drape London’s coffin with the flag of Guyana. He was simply signalling to Blackie’s survivors, “The PNC is with you!” Andrew Douglas, the leader of the Buxton Freedom Fighters was a Lieutenant of Blackie London.

Those who have ears, let them hear!!!

…for comedy

Your Eyewitness was very saddened to hear of the passing of Guyana’s first and most famous stand-up comic, Habeeb Khan. The man entertained generations of Guyanese for over 50 years. We hope he’s honoured finally. Albeit posthumously.

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If the Dunce CAPS fit…

…you’re a damned dunce!

If it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, you’d think it’s safe to say, “Its a duck”, no?? Well, evidently not when the duck wears a CAP. A Blue CAP, more specifically. The founder-leader of BLUE CAPS Clinton Urling yelps that the GTimes is “paranoid” to say he’s “pro-LEAD” and has political ambitions.

Well, let’s look at what’s been going down. The US Embassy launched their LEAD (Leadership and Democracy) programme to be coordinated by the Republican Leadership Institute (IRI). These are the same folks out of the right wing Republican Party that worked with youths and other assorted Opposition figures to bring about the “colour” revolutions in Eastern Europe, then in North Africa and the Middle East, Honduras, etc, etc. (Our revolution’s to be blue??)

They’re presently doing their thing in Venezuela. Youths are IRI’s mainstays and technology their watchword. Remember the fake Twitter lookalike in Cuba?? The IRI’s funded by USAID, which is funded by the US Government. It’s more than a stretch to call them an NGO! The PPP/C Government wised up to the implications of LEAD a bit late and finally put a stop to it in May when they threatened to deport the head of the programme.

Then lo and behold (as they used to announce miracles from on high!) the very next week, Blue CAPS was launched!! CAPS was the acronym for “Change, Advocacy, Policy, Service” – almost as cute as LEAD, no?? Then with another lo and behold – CAPS promptly launched its first of FOUR weekly workshops. How many soups would that’ve cost?? The workshops were on a “Youth Leaders’ Leadership Development Programme”. Yep!! That’s right. YOUTHS!!

But not ALL youths. To the IRI, it’s obvious that all youths are not worthy of being trained in the mysteries of “Youth Leadership”. They were thrown out of Egypt because all the chosen youths were from the Opposition!! So what do you know?? Coincidentally (?) these were exactly who were at the “workshops” – Youth Action Network (YAN), Cuffy 250 Committee, UNFPA Youth Advisory Group, Come Alive Network Inc (CANI), Youth Ambassador’s Programme, Global Shapers Community – Georgetown Hub, Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), and Global Youth Movement.

And in a final lo and behold, the main speaker was Guyana born Lloyd Haynes, with a financial advisory company in Washington, DC. Its main clients?? A dozen departments of the US Government – including USAID!!

If the soup maker from Tiger Bay thinks Guyanese will fall for this patent nonsense, then he must be wearing not a Blue CAP – but one big DUNCE CAP!!

…then you might be a donkey-cart economist

Another politician who’s thrown his hat into the ring is the “Donkey Cart” economist, Tarron Khemraj. Well, actually it’s the fourth time your Eywitness understands he’s thrown his hat into the ring – PPP/C, ROAR, AFC and now PNC. His hat must be getting quite tattered by now…because as you can see from his resume, it’s been downhill ever since the PPP/C!!

Not for the first time, he’s sucking up to David Granger. This time, he has a full page letter (a thesis??) in the Muckraker and the Stabber News. Maybe with Rupert getting on in years, he figures it’s time for another token Indian-Guyanese at Granger’s side. But he should go easy with buttering up “the leadah!”

He claims Granger believes “populism” isn’t the way to go – with his actions at Linden. Really?? After agreeing that a graduated electricity increase is necessary, he supports riots and arson and mayhem for free electricity. And this is not the very definition of “populism”??

Puleeeeeese!!!

…or a brown noser

The Donkey Cart economist also confesses he supports Granger because the PNC leader’s a “modest” fella. Well, Granger certainly has a lot to be modest about!!!

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