August 29, 2014

Two faced…


Janus is a Roman God with two faces. Whatever might’ve been its original import to the ancient Romans as the alpha and omega of things, in modern times, to be “two-faced” has its own very specific meaning: a hypocritical, double-dealing fake who says one thing to some and an entirely different thing elsewhere.

In Guyanese parlance, we’d call him a “suck-ass” – a life form much lower than the American “brown-noser”. And thus explains to a “t” why Ruel Johnson used his group “Janus” to start a “conversation” among Guyanese.

The wannabe louche enfant terrible, who’s still scrounging for his next handout, wants to solve our “ethnopoliticisation” (have you ever heard such bureaucratese from an aspiring [expiring?] creative writer?) through “Conversations on citizenship”? Today’s “conversation” is “to love my fellow citizen”. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?? Almost invoked images from John Lennon’s “Imagine” in your humble Eyewitness! Imagine all the people/Sharing all the world….Well sharing Guyana at least!

But this is the same bounder who’s been cussing out Indian-Guyanes in the most scatological manner as living in “Canecutopia”. Think of the worst thing that could happen – rape? Incest? Not working but expecting to live high off the hog?

Well that life in Canecutopia! Socially backward?? You just have to sidle into Canecutopia – where all the girls are having babies and living with their grandmas. “Nanie”, they’re called in Canecutopia, in that strange lingo that still lingers in the hovels of that dystopia.

And the wanker wants to start a “conversation” on love!! The mind boggles about what’ll happen when the “conversation” shifts to “dislike”!! Forget “hate” – that’d be WWIII! But what’s unforgivable is that in a letter that’s filled with his usual slander against the PPP/C – (that’s his bête noir when he’s not cussing out Frank Anthony for not giving him a squeeze at the Caribbean Press), he dares to quote Camus.

Yes, the man who’s political philosophy was summarised in this statement: “Each side thus justifies its own actions by pointing to the crimes of its adversaries. This is a casuistry of blood with which intellectuals should, I think, have nothing to do, unless they are prepared to take up arms themselves.” He was implicitly criticising his fellow intellectual existentialist Sartre.

And Johnson, who craves nothing more than to be called an “intellectual”, should reflect on his hate-filled anti-PPP/C rants if he doesn’t want that word to be used as an adjective in front of “fraud” for him.


Another poseur who likes to spout sanctimonious drivel even as he wields his hatchet behind the backs of his “opponents” is Goolsarran – the fella giving Mike McCormack a run for his money (foreign NGO money) when it comes to running a one-man-show!

Quick now…you’ve heard of TIGI, no?? How could you not?? Every day – and twice on Tuesdays – the Stabber and the Muckraker quotes him – as head of TIGI. (That’s for Transparency International Guyana Inc – in case you were lost in space over the last year.)

On Tuesday they run the TIGI column – which is always by Goolsarran – then quotes him word for word in the “news section”!! So if you think your humble Eyewitness’ stretching matters a wee bit? Quick now – for one million dollars – name another member of TIGI. Sorry your hour’s up – and you couldn’t get beyond that blank that settled over your mind, could you??

But we ask you this. Which of TIGI/Goolsarran’s columns wasn’t about someone whom he wants to pull down?? That’s the mark of a two-faced bitter man.

…Army officer

How could this Army officer continue claiming R Corbin, is Robert Corbin – just because the fella signed “for PS OPM’ ?? There could’ve been several R Corbins who were the “Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister”! Did you not realise there are alternate universes??

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Speaking truth to power…

…by APNU’s PR flak

There was a letter in the Stabber by Mike Archer. “Who’s Mike Archer,” you ask, Dear Reader? Well, for years and years and years he served in the Army under Granger. Don’t impute any homoerotic implication in the use of the word “under”. Even though for ex-Captain Archer to leave a cushy life in the US to serve Granger the moment the ex-General announced he was jumping into politics, does raise the question, no?

Anyhow, after the elections Archer became the PR man for Granger –a looking out to protect the latter’s reputation and all. In the letter, Archer exclaims: “Why our intellectual class is so silent, why many find themselves aligned to political parties amazes me.” What “amazes” Archer is that our “intellectual class” doesn’t “speak truth to power”.

Now after a phrase like that, right away you know you’re dealing with a true-blue “intellectual”. “Truth to power!!!” Your Eyewitness is astounded at the intellectual rigour of the ex-captain. Not that he’s quoting Havel Vaclav or anything like that – army people are inveterate readers.

What else do they do in all the years they serve?? We haven’t had an invasion since Ankoko in 1966, have we?? But that Archer’s challenging intellectuals to jump into the sorry situation that’s developed in the PNC following the rigging pulled off by his boss to retain the leadership of that party.

What more intellectual depth do you want? While Archer couldn’t bring himself to call a spade a spade what else could he mean when he defined “truth to power” as “sharing analyses and observations about the core reasoning, manoeuvring and strategies behind the actions of our political leaders”. What else did Granger do, but “manoeuvre” at the late lamented Congress?

So while this Eyewitness is no “intellectual” – in the army he was just a private and couldn’t get in much reading – he’ll pick up Archer’s challenge and give it a stab. His analysis is that Corbin rigged matters to favour Granger, because he just couldn’t stand Greenidge, who he felt was a stuck-up fella. Back in the day, he was Corbin’s superior and treated Corbin like an unlettered lout.

What Corbin didn’t realise was that Granger also didn’t like to truck with louts. And showed his true colours when he rigged matters to exclude Norton. In the PNC power struggle, it’s all about who like who and who’s a lout.

How about that for “speaking truth to (PNC) power”? Intellectual, eh?

…on R Corbin

The latest revelation from the Rodney CoI is that hundreds of weapons were transferred from the GDF to one R Corbin. Not being “intellectuals” most Guyanese thought that the records were referring to Robert Corbin – the same one that passed power to Granger. What dolts!! So what if weapons were also transferred to one Corporal Skeete and that Robert Corbin’s driver was a “Corporal Skeete”??

Didn’t people realise that not one dog named “Pompey”? All they had to do was check the voters’ list of the times – there were thousands and thousands of R Corbins. And don’t bring up the point that our dear old Robert Corbin was in charge of preparing voters” lists, it is immaterial!

So the odds of the Robert Corbin we all know as the once and future PNC leader with a driver named Skeete being the R Corbin who got the guns now rises from a sure thing to a million-to-one shot.

And all of this was argued by the great intellectual of the modern PNC – Basil Williams. Right, Bannuh??

…on bureaucratese

Your Eyewitness finally understood why Le Repentir Cemetery is always overgrown and looks like something from the Lost Kingdom. The contracts were just announced for the “de-bushing” of the cemetery. By not specifying the job as “weeding”, as the British used to do, the workers are confused.

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…and political “unity”

One of the saddest features of the new political “dispensation” exemplified by the APNU-AFC combine is their complete lack of historical consciousness in the promulgation of their policies. Take their recent calls for “unity”. What the heck does that mean?? Do they believe Guyanese are so daft they’ll believe that the simple act of parties “coming together” will solve our problems??

Dr Jagan had long warned against such a simplistic and dangerous notion. Dangerous because it creates unrealistic expectations that can lead to violent reactions when they go unfulfilled. He warned that “unity” must always be tied to “struggle” – with the slogan echoing the great African Revolutionary Amilcar Cabral – “no unity without struggle”.

The point is, whenever groups – and individuals – come together, they’ll bring different perspectives which have to be reconciled if progress is to be made. This is the “struggle”. Without this struggle the group’s or individuals’ inevitable subsequent infighting will always destroy the initiative.

Recently, the General Secretary of the PPP/C, Clement Rohee, announced that as far as “unity” is concerned, they’re all for it – but they feel that the vehicle to facilitate that goal is a “National Front Alliance” (NFA).

And this is where historical consciousness comes in. The PPP/C first proposed such an entity as far back as 1977 – at that time a “National Front Government”, because of the political realities on the ground.

An “NFA” is a concept with a specific meaning – most saliently that the groups/individuals involved in the “unity” must share a common perspective on political economy. In the present, Rohee called for the “formulation of a common platform on socio-economic issues”.

How could it be otherwise? If you don’t share this commonality, what’s the point of “unity”? Back in 1977, the WPA had rejected the PPP’s explication of a NFG for that time – saying that the PNC had to be excluded. And this is where the maturity of the PPP came in. Based on the nature of the society and of the politics of the previous two decades, how could anyone exclude the PNC and expect progress??

But as Jagan’s stricture warned, the unity would not be without struggle – but in an NFG, the struggle would be within a shared understanding of the internal and external environments. At that time the perspective was defined as “left”.

We salute the PPP’s GS on his articulation of his party’s historically grounded call for unity. And hope that all those who have ears will hear. What is the content of “unity”?

…and training

The Attorney General made some very commendatory remarks at the graduation of the latest batch of Apprentices from The GuySuCo Training Centre (GTC). They are more than justified. With all the criticisms of “the white man” and colonialism, the departed (through nationalisation) Bookers created one of the finest and most necessary institutions in Guyana when they launched the then Bookers Training Centre back in the fifties.

Today we are at long last – over 50 years later – following in Bookers’ path pushing Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET). Better late than never, we say. Purists may say that the Government had also launched the Government Technical Institute (GTI) but if we’re honest – the GTC was head and shoulders ahead of the GTI. One of the major reasons for this was that entrance to the latter was competitive – there was a strenuous exam that had to be aced.

The other – not inconsequential one – was there’s a guaranteed job at the end of the grind. Will the rest of industrial Guyana take note??

…and violating them

Carl Greenidge quoted Mark Twain against prolix speech: “Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.”

Then went on to write a 2600 word letter after merely laying a “ganda” egg!!! Cackling as if he laid a galaxy.

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…the angst of August

August used to be time of lassitude and lounging during the long vacations. We’re not sure of the exact connection, but ever since some politicians took to referring to the August holidays as “summer” this Eyewitness has noticed a steep rise in the angst of politicians in the Opposition.

Take this fella Nigel Hughes – who’s presumably still the Chairman of the AFC and putative Presidential candidate of that party, which claims to be the only “multiracial” one in all of Guyana.

Now Hughes is an important cog in the AFC’s wheel. Since the AFC’s “multiracial” boast rests entirely on the two top leaders being from the Indian and African Guyanese communities (thus satisfying the Mike Persaud ironclad test for multiraciality), then he has to be present and accounted for to “balance” Ramjattan.

Now you dear readers may protest that there are other “African” faces in the AFC that can perform the balancing act. But in the Mike Persaud test, you can’t have just any old African face, can you?? Who else fits the bill but the fella dubbed the “incarnation of Walter Rodney” by the most astute political scientist and historian in Guyana? The one who Bisram said dismissed the PNC as a “10 per cent party”. The leader got to pull in some votes.

And this Eyewitness also isn’t sure why some folks are saying Ramjattan will once again be the AFC’s Presidential Candidate. That worthy took a solemn pledge that he would “alternate” with his multiracial brother – and he already had his chance in 2011. If it’s one thing, Ramjattan never goes back on his word. It’s just that sometimes he forgets what the “word” is – but this is an occupational hazard for a fella who we all know is a “drinkah”. Ramjattan has been a Member of Parliament for some two decades or so…and they are all honourable men, aren’t they??

But Nigel Hughes isn’t an MP, and this is why there has been some loose talk that he’s not “honourable”. Some people think he’s dishonourable because he kept mum about being the Company Secretary of Sithe Global, which his party the AFC was fighting tooth and nail not to execute the Hydro Project. But conflict of interest doesn’t disqualify one from honourableness. Or Ramjattan, who pushed the private agenda of a client on the Specialty Hospital, would’ve been dragged before the Privileges Committee, no?

Well to burnish his presidential credentials, Hughes has taken to the African villages to burnish his African credentials, through which he got to be the AFC’s Presidential Candidate. (If that sounds “circular”, that’s how politics work.)

As a fella who every day knocks off a bottle of whatever liquor he can get his hands on, Ramjattan doesn’t have to prove his “Indianness”.

…the truthsayer

But the angst of the politicians can also raise the political temperature. Rather than taking some time off to reflect on their foibles and missteps in the preceding year, these fellas try to stir up their “constituents” hoping to deflect attention from their rascality. Maybe they’re “Guyanising” the expression “the winter of our discontent”. And we return to Nigel Hughes and his forays in the African Villages.

In one address, he’s reported to have declared, “Before we gave up power…we should have changed the constitution to ensure that we have protection whether we are out of power.”

By “we”, of course, he has to mean the PNC. After all, he couldn’t mean all “African Guyanese”, since Walter Rodney proved that most African Guyanese were opposed to the PNC.

…cricket tragics

The CPL has rejected the Warriors challenge to the disputed final. In doing so, PJ Paterson, the head of the Cricket Tournament Committee said nobly, “Nothing must be done to impair its (CPL) image or erode its credibility.”

And rejecting a challenge supported by almost every commentator in the Region achieves this??

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…or ganging up?

It’s said that “no man is an island”. We’re all connected and all that. But how?? After all, can you, for instance, dear reader, even tell what goes on in the minds of your “significant other”? Well, we do have language and other social structures and processes that help us have shared meanings. We match our reactions to words used by others.

If a fella suddenly screams at his grandson, “Shut yuh so-and-so mouth…”, the child has no problem understanding that his grandpa’s angry. In addition to being a low-life scum.

That’s basically what used to be called the problem of “inter-subjectivity”…and it still keeps abusive husbands up at night after their spouses have threatened to cut their willies off when they go to sleep. But as folks moved on to writing and referencing to each other’s writings, things began to get a bit easier. This was called “intertextuality”.

For instance, yesterday, the StabberNews editorial quoted a Ralph Ramkarran’s blog approvingly about the PPP/C, race and elections. Then in Ramkarran’s StabberNews column (taken from Ramkarran’s blog – which will be later used as the basis of a “news article”), he writes about the PPP/C, race, class and elections.

After this you’d have to be missing some marbles not to conclude these folks are talking about the same thing. In this case, that the declining Indian population presents a problem electorally for the PPP/C.

Thing is, they never use this kind of analysis for the PNC. Somehow, the fact that the PNC also secures an ethnic vote – in their case the African-Mixed group – is never problematised. For instance, how come the latter group’s inexorable growth in relative and absolute terms is never presented as favouring the PNC? But the related fall in Indian numbers is a “problem” for the PPP/C?

And the answer, dear reader, reading between the (intertextual) lines, is that the enemies of the PPP/C have decided that only the PPP/C must be presented as “racial”.

Everybody and their uncle’s party could be getting ethnic support – but that’s unremarked. For instance, Ramkarran says when the AFC under Trotman got African votes in 2006, those were “Middle Class” African votes – so they were reflecting a “class” rather than a “race” position.

And when Indians switched to the AFC under Ramjattan in 2011, these were “lower class” Indian voters. And as we all know, of course, a “class” position is commendable…but a “race” position is reprehensible.

As so to the ineluctable intertextual StabberNews-Ramkarran conclusion that the PPP/C is also reprehensible.

…and creating pundits

Quoting other texts, of course, implies that the opinion of the author matters. And if it matters then the people reading the opinion ought to go along with it, no? Hey! That’s why it matters! And this has been (transparent) ploy of the StabberNews in the plot to oust the PPP/C from Government once again.

It offers columns to enemies of the PPP/C – Goolsarran, Jeffrey, Ramkarran, Khemraj, turns their opinions into news articles, and then quotes these “news articles” as “facts” in later stories. If you never knew the meaning of “intertextual bootstrapping” then you now know.

Take this assertion in the Stabber’s Editorial from yesterday: “Mr Ralph Ramkarran, who is undoubtedly in a position to know, has said in his weekly Sunday column that the PPP/C is convinced it can return to a situation where it can regain control of Parliament.”

First of all, why is Ramkarrqn – who left the PPP/C in a hissy-fit over two years ago – “in a position to know”?? If, as he himself has admitted, he’s alienated from everyone in the Ex-Co, what gives him this superior insight into the mindset of the PPP/C?

Truth is, every Tom, Dick and Harrilall knows the PPP/C has consistently asserted it’ll win Parliament comes the next elections.

No one needs Ramkarran to tell them that!

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Big man politics…

…of the PNC

We all know we have a drug problem in Guyana. More specifically a “drug transshipment” problem. The Americans squeezed the largest producer of cocaine in the world – Colombia – and like a balloon, the drugs pop out into every country in the vicinity of Colombia. And while most Guyanese may think we’re some island floating in the Caribbean, we’re actually smack in South America with our southern, unguarded border 600 miles into the continent.

Meaning drugs gonna flow into our country on their way to the US of A. Now, you’d think that great country would’ve wised up to this reality and work with us to plug this hole, wouldn’t you? We’re not even gonna spit in the wind to suggest the US should reduce its insatiable appetite for cocaine. Part of why that country’s so great is you don’t mess around with infringing on the American right to the “pursuit of happiness”. And cocaine is the happiness drug, ain’t it?

Cynics may say their lassitude is due more to the guaranteed “right to make profits”…but we’ll let that be also. We’re going to stick to what’s going down in Guyana. After waiting more than two decades as our transshipment hub grew, the US finally decided to establish a DEA presence here. Better late than never, no? In conjunction with our CANU, we may now breathe a bit easier, you’d think?

“Absolutely not!” if you go by David Granger, the recently re-rigged leader of the PNC, even as he watched CANU burn “billions” of dollars of interdicted drugs. The only way the fight against drugs will be won here is if President Ramotar gets personally involved in the battle.

Well!!! We know that Pressie has got himself into “fighting shape” – but we thought that was for the fight on the upcoming hustings, not in the drug war!

But the comment betrays the nature of the PNC in general and David Granger in particular. The PNC has always practised “big man” politics. The leader should straddle his party and the Government like a colossus. But we know where this inevitably leads to, don’t we?? Not only does this guarantee collapse of the country like in the days of maximum-leader regime of the PNC – but it guarantees that no other leader gets the opportunity to show their leadership potential.

All Guyana must reject Granger and this type of thinking and cleave to the democratic politics of the PPP/C and Prezzie.

…and the great pretender

Just when we thought we were safe from the inanities of Laloo “Suspenders” Ram – after he was given the bum’s rush by the StabberNews, up he pops up like a fetid fart. The man keeps biting and scratching to be recognised as “somebody”. He’s now on a blog site that’s regurgitated by (who else?) the Muckraker. Birds of a feather stick together – and evidently, so do losers.

The world of bookkeeping wasn’t enough for Suspenders. In his 70s (?) he entered law school with kids young enough to be his grandchildren. Believed being a lawyer would give him respectability. Didn’t. Then tried joining the Opposition bandwagon. They wouldn’t have him since he didn’t offer much beyond his ego and his unbridled passion for publicity.

Well after being ignored by all and sundry – save the bottom-feeding Muckraker KN – Suspenders oozed out with one of his patented stinky hatchet jobs. Jumping into the Muckraker instigated “forest fire”, Ram blamed it all on Jagdeo, cussed out the Chartered Accountants body and hissed, “the parliamentary bodies are paralysed by their own mediocrity”!

Won’t somebody give this guy a ribbon, and make him disappear?


The Muckraker offered a “correction” to its headline, “Integrity Commission’s call for the declaration of assets should be ignored – Former Auditor General (Goolsarran)”. But insisted it was correct “once the article is read”.

So what’s to correct, wankers??

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The AFC mountain…

…and its mouse motion

The 2011 results were announced in the wake of David Granger and his troops marching up and down in front of the GECOM Chairman’s home. The Opposition were then gifted a great power – to throw out the Government at will. To do so in Parliamentary democracies, all the Opposition had to do to was move a successful “Motion of noconfidence”.

That’s it!! Now dear reader, you’re probably wondering if that’s all it takes to throw the incumbents out, why isn’t the “noconfidence” weapon used all the time. Well, the trick is – if you’re going to go that route, then you’d better have the votes to make good your threat. If not, since most Parliamentary democratic governments are formed when they have a majority in Parliament – the Opposition would be left up the creek without the proverbial paddle.

Unless, of course, they’re able to persuade some Government MPs to “cross the floor”. But that’s rare. The “noconfidence” vote’s more common with those governments formed through coalitions. If the major party throws its weight around, the juniors would be more likely to pull the rug from under their feet through the noconfidence route. This was quite common in several European countries, like Italy where Governments were changed more often than underwear.

What made our situation unique was Burnham’s innovation that “the party securing the largest share of the vote secures the Presidency and the Executive”. He felt while he mightn’t be able to rig himself in office forever, with the exodus of Indians, he’d at least be able to secure a plurality. And so we arrived at the past where the PPP/C in 2011 – under smart-fly Burnham’s manoeuvre – got the plurality and the Executive. But the PNC/APNU/AFC combined snagged the majority in Parliament.

So from day one, the wankers could’ve brought down the Government rather than huffing and puffing about the PPP/C’s “excesses”, blah, blah, blah. But they didn’t because they just didn’t have the guts or the testicular fortitude. Finally, three months ago, Nagamootoo, blurted out that the AFC was “contemplating the no-confidence motion”. Then they were going to “draft it”. Then they were going to share it with the APNU to study. More months.

Now we see the motion is a single sentence: “Be it resolved that this National Assembly has no confidence in the Government.” And this took the wankers in the AFC months to “craft”. And APNU further months to study??

The mountain strained and produced a mouse.

…can run but it can’t hide

But the AFC got caught with their pants down with their “no-confidence motion”. They thought President Ramotar and his party would’ve been shaking in their boots at the thought of new elections. When Prezzie immediately replied, “C’mon…bring it on!!” you could see the panic in the camp of the Opposition. They were like deer caught in the glare of incoming headlights.

They couldn’t very well pretend to be “studying” a one-sentence motion for three months, could they? We know the Opposition aren’t exactly chock-full of bright bulbs – but still!! The APNU waited until Parliament was about to slide into recess and then announced they’d be supporting the motion.

Nagamootoo then dropped it off to the Clerk. They thought they were safe for another three months – until October when Parliament reconvenes. The wankers nearly had a heart attack when the Clerk promptly informed them they could convene an “extraordinary” sitting if they wanted their motion debated. But the mover Nagamootoo would have to so request.

Had to say, “No thanks”!!! They can run, but they can’t hide. Retribution is coming!!

…of hypocrisy

Back in the day, Nagamootoo and Ramjattan fought the PNC to deliver a clean voters’ list. Now they’re in bed with the PNC, they’ve rejected the PPP/C’s request to extend GECOM’s sanitising exercise by seven days. Rigging is contagious!

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…and student loans

This Eyewitness notes the political mileage being made by the Opposition over the issue of student loans to assist students to attend UG. Those same folks screaming about the fees being “raised”’ – which actually acknowledges that it’s tied to the value of the US dollar – are the same ones screaming that the students aren’t repaying their loans. And that 85 per cent of them emigrate to “greener pastures”.

So you’d think they suggest the logical thing – which is, to put some measure in place to ensure that those who owe the Government money can’t just decamp like that. We won’t even mention the moral obligation of at least returning something to our still poor country that gave them their education. We know it’s the politically correct thing to go on about the Government providing every man, woman and child the opportunity to get an education.

But the “government” is actually in a position to do all of that because of our tax dollars. These folks that acquire their education, don’t they also have a reciprocal obligation to give back something to their country? What was it JFK said?? Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country? Doesn’t this resonate with anyone, anymore?

But on these student loans, there are some more mundane, but just as significant issues. Right up there is the one about whether the Government must fund an “education” that’s completely out of whack with what the country needs.

Can we really afford to pay for all those folks going after degrees in, say, sociology?? Shouldn’t we maybe only give loans for subjects like “agronomy” or “power engineering” or some such subjects?? In today’s editorial, for instance, what about all those Technical Education subjects that our business community’s just dying for??

And finally there’s the reality that even the great US of A is having to confront right now: when all these students that take all this money to fund their education don’t repay – whether because they’ve gone AWOL or because they’re just deadbeats – the sh*t’s going to hit the financial fan sooner or later. When it’s later, it may cause as much damage to our economy as their NINJA (“No Income; No Jobs, Assets) housing loans did to theirs.

And they haven’t been able to get out of their financial mess even now.

…for democracy

Like Trinidad, Guyana’s now a nation of minorities. Even though we don’t have the official ethnic breakdown of the 2012 census, an educated guess is that we’re most likely at about 34 per cent African Guyanese; 33 per cent Indian Guyanese; 19 per cent Mixed; 10 per cent Amerindian Guyanese and four per cent “Other”. Can’t get more spread out of that, can we?? So what’s all this talk about “racial voting”. Seems to this Eyewitness that Kamla has a point.

With no one group even approaching 50 per cent of the population, in their constituency based system, making sure that any winning candidate receive at least 50 per cent of the vote – by having “run offs” – makes eminent sense.

The top two candidates (not reaching 50 per cent) would face each other in the “runoff” and the winner by definition would have to be capable of getting “crossover” votes to get that 50 per cent hurdle. Meaning, of course, that he would have to be seen as acceptable to folks not part of his/her “traditional constituency”, no?

So maybe with our push for increased “constituencies” here, to give us “geographical representation” – we’re up to 25 right now from the “pure” Proportional Representation (PR) that Burnham and the British introduced back in 1964 – maybe we ought to also have “run offs”. What do you think??

…for conservation

the while, the Norwegian agency channelling its Government funding for our forest conservation couldn’t say anything because their monitoring and verification mechanism showed we were within limits. Nothing’s changed. But because of the Opposition vendetta suddenly noises are heard. What’s new??

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…vs governance

Presidential Advisor on Governance (PAG) Gail Teixeira raised the important distinction between “Shared Governance” and “Unity Government”. Folks should apprise themselves of what the good lady said and when the Opposition-sharks enter their calm waters to roil them up – should ask them a question or two. “Governance”, the PAG pointed out, refers to the complete set of processes that it takes to run a country.

And this is what the massive and extensive constitutional changes in 2000 – augmented after the PNC had rioted in the streets and forced a sitting President (Janet Jagan) to demit office – were meant to do. The PNC’s biggest gripe then was that as “Opposition”, it wasn’t able to scrutinise the work of the Government in “real time”. And so lots of things were fait accomplished by the time they reached the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which, by convention, the Opposition always controlled.

And so was introduced a governance mechanism, the likes of which exist in no other Caricom Parliamentary Democracy – four Parliamentary Sectoral Committees. Covering every area of governmental activity – Economic Services, Natural Resources, Social Services and Foreign Relations – the Committees can summon any Government official or public servant to demand explanations for their work – in real time.

Right now, these Committees have a majority of Opposition members and their Chairs are rotated annually between the Government and the Opposition. A Parliamentary Management Committee – the name says it all – was also formed and today this is also controlled by the Opposition. Added to the traditional functions of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – to scrutinise governmental finances – and the traditional Parliamentary Committees such as that on privileges, the Opposition was in a position to ensure “good governance” in Guyana.

Take the present brouhaha over the “raping” of the forests. The Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources could’ve summoned the subject Minister any time of the day after 2011 to demand an explanation for the practices followed. Ditto for the sugar industry or any other facet of governmental activity. But they didn’t. Why?? They’re too god damn lazy for one, and they’re not interested in “governance” for two.

So not long after the Constitutional changes of 2000, they demanded “unity government”. What they always wanted was to get into the Executive as Ministers.

And we bet if they get that – after some “condign” riots and mayhem – they’ll immediately demand the Presidency! Point is – all they’re interested in is power – not the welfare of the people.

…by rigging

The PNC has come a full circle. In 1968, it rigged its first elections through its control of the Elections Commission. Its Chairman Harold Bollers was called a “toothless” poodle and its rules were changed to accommodate all kinds of hanky-panky. These ranged from padded Voters’ Lists both domestically and overseas, to permitting multiple “proxy voting”. Even the PNC’s coalition partner, the UF, quit the partnership in disgust.

If what the PPP/C revealed last week about the Preliminary Voters’ List (PLV) is true – and we’ll wait for the Elections Commission to respond – then we’re in for what many people always feared. The PNC’s so adept at rigging it can even rig from the “outside”. And now we know the reason for the PNC’s witch-hunt against Gocool Boodhoo, the old GECOM CEO.

In ethnically divided societies, unfortunately “neutrality” is often strained – and for this reason most experts call for “balance” in state institutions where that quality might be crucial. While GECOM was always stacked with PNC supporters, Boodhoo was a strong corrective. Right now the question is Quis Custodiet ipsos custodes – “who will guard the guardians?”

The PLV is only the tip of the garbage heap.

…and snap elections

The Opposition’s s*itting bricks over the thought of Prezzie calling snap elections – before their ranks are broken over the AFC’s “no-confidence” motion. Caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea – they’ll be smelling sulphur soon!!

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…over FDIs

The Muckraker’s created a feeding frenzy created over Chinese investment in our forest sector – and the question’s been asked to serve whose interests?? Most observers have dismissed the thought that it could be just more “sensationalism” to sell a few more papers. This is someone else’s axe the Muckraker’s been grinding. Or more likely some COUNTRY’s axe.One that’s threatened by Chinese ascendancy??

And has been the pattern, Joseph Harmon is the Opposition’s go-to guy for the Muckraker whenever it wants to “legitimise” its vendettas. Want to go after the Marriott?? Get a quote from Harmon. Stab the Finance Minister in the back? Harmon’s the guy. The supply of pharmaceuticals?? Why!! Who else but Harmon to put in his two cents??

(And his opinions aren’t worth a penny more than that!!) Of course, for a bit of variety, the Muckraker sometimes plays the tag-team game and writes up a quote for Ramjattan– as they do for Harmon when they’re in a hurry.

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand. But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? What exactly IS the subject? Is it the Chinese people in general? The Muckraker and the Opposition over the years have gone after Chinese with a vengeance – their stores in the city, their restaurants, theirefforts to prevent pilferage. Their “Dem Boys Seh” column routinely refers to them as “Chinee” – the “N” word equivalent.

Is it Chinese investment?? We don’t see the Muckraker going after other Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) – few and far between as that might be?? Is the colour of their money different?? How’s Barama been doing? They were brought in by the PNC. Are they any different from Bai Shan Lin?? Why aren’t they under the gun? So do we keep our “potential” under wraps?? For whom to ravish?? The Americans aren’t exactly beating an investment path to our door.

Now don’t get your Eyewitness wrong. We hold no brief for the Chinese investors. Like any other investor, from any part of the world – including our home grown ones – they’re going to try to get the most for the least. We have to try to get the best deal for our people and our country. And that’s where the Forestry Commission comes in – that’s their mandate. (See more below). Developments like making an omelette – a few shells will have to be broken – especially at the beginning of the process.

At our stage of development, it doesn’t matter which area we look to exploit – be it gold, bauxite, agriculture (where’s the investment from TT?) – we’re going to be competing against other countries for the FDIs. We have to give incentives.

Let’s not have the Muckraker drive them away.

…in the forest

In the wake of the aforementioned feeding frenzy, comes news that Commissioner of Forests James Singh, taken aback by the disinformation, innuendos, out of context pictures and outright lies published by the MuckrakerKN – with the StabberNews as usual following in its slimy trail – challenged leader of the Opposition, Brigadier General David Granger’s Aide-de-camp Joseph Harmon to a showdown. No, it’s not going to be with axes drawn at 20 paces.

Harmon has accepted – but with a list of conditions that’s so long and so full of caveats, it looks the addendum to Israel “acceptance” to a ceasefire in Gaza! One of the conditions is that the debate should be held where the trees are being cut. In our book, that’s in the forest – and not in Linden as Harmon specifies. Is Harmon saying that Linden is “jungle”?

Or is this just because they have a “thing” with Vanessa Kissoon, or what??

…on no-confidence motion

The Parliamentary recess gave APNU a way out from telling the AFC they’re in no shape to go along with snap elections. But sooner rather than later, the sh*t’s going to hit the fan. It ain’tgonna be pretty.

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