New reasons for the season

The Tax-Payer Electorate: No Right To know?

Greetings! Let’s see whether I can make this the most  brief in weeks.  (One reason is that, in our current culture and national circumstances,  it is challenging not to be negative in one’s commentaries.)

Dave Martins must be a relatively comfortable observer – psychologically and materially.  I envy his ability to accentuate the positive.  Like the late Sam Cooke.

So let’s see how I cope, in the following paragraphs.  Having lived in this Land only, for all my own decades, I have concluded that the Christian Christmas Festival is the most pervasive, all-embracing national celebration we Guyanese make our “own”.  “National” and “own” because every group of the population makes Christmas almost secular as they find new ways to embrace it and the (dubious) traditional manner to celebrate it, being genuine Christians or not.

Perhaps the religious tinge – replete with the beautiful myths and foreign figures; the hope invested in the Virgin Birth and the numerous related Biblical tales, or truths, the corner-stone of the Christian Faith; all that makes Christmas still more acceptable to all groups.  Some still view Mashramani with uncertainty, suspicion, rejection, constitutional and political as its origin.

So do I have “old-age” grouses with the Guyanese/Universal Season of Goodwill and Peace Unto Men?  Whilst not grumpy or mean as scrooge, I do.

My Christmas-time “Grumpiness”

Using other media – my radio and television productions – I’ve regaled many with my wonderment at the big lie. Lie? Yes, we accept the European-imposed December 25  “Christmas” Date when the best Christian Scholars and Historians have long concluded that the Virgin Birth, the Christ Child did not happen in December in that part of the world.

Acceptance was partly because it is taught that the real, actual date is not as important as the event itself. Huh? And partly, Frankly Speaking, because of the European mastery over colonial minds.  I won’t preach on, but simply repeat my generational belief: that so masterly successful were/are “White” folks, that many Guyanese, Caribbean, Latin American people would not feel “Christmas” without irrelevant images of snow, sleighs, reindeer, chestnuts, firesides, snowmen, holly, ivy and “Winter-wonderlands”.  Even today’s “colonial young” are hooked.  And I’ll die disappointed now that I’m liberated from that version of December’s Christmas.  Discuss…

The Reasons…

After last year November’s Elections here, the APNU-spawned Youth Group did a very useful thing.  They advised their aggrieved political followers not to splurge on unnecessary material things for the Season. They were sore losers with the right  attitude, Frankly.  (They even engineered boycotts of Jagdeo-friendly concerts and football matches.)

I applauded silently.  For the group was demonstrating against one of the new/old reasons for the season – rampant commercialism and squandermania, which the Christ Child’s coming has no room for.  (I’m all for Christmas cheer, giving, hope, harmony, but with restraint.)

So I say celebrate what you believe.  But in moderation.  Be sure you can afford it.  Look for the new reasons: Massive Seasonal promotions giving away cars and millions to make you shop and take loans; staging of Super Concerts; false talk about tourism being promoted by Big “Limes”; politicians’ phony goodwill and cosmetic charities.

Retain your honest, innocent, even religious (working-class) appreciation of Christmas.  The Baby, the Boy, the Massiah Man was humble on his Divine Power.

Forget Who Voted!

Accountability my eye!  That seems to be the attitude of our top decision-makers.  Put in authority – “Power” – by you-all who vote (D).

Those elected by you hardly tell you – as taxpayers and recent “electorate” – anything you need to know.  “We know what’s good enough for you”. “We know when and how much you should know.” Those are the arrogant mantras.  (Not even “thank you” for your vote and all my privileges and perks of Parliament and Ministry.)

Confidential clauses. Security.  Need- to-know.  All invoked to ignore and by-pass you.  Economic Projects.  Results of Inquiries and Investigations.  Budget Plans.  Salary/Working Conditions.

Not your business ‘til election time.

And y’all want me to “vote?” A warm December?

*1)  Careful Doc!  The Minister of Health defending after the stabbed North-West young lady died: “We do not shake pilots off of trees… you might have a doctor working  throughout the night … to next morning in harsh conditions … which means that not just one doctor (at the GPHC) was discommoded …” Doctors “discommoded”? Emergencies don’t attract extra?

*2)  Preparing for the largest lime, they tell of record tourism arrivals.  And all types of tourism – Eco, heritage, gospel, marine, sports, Yuletide,  Mashramani.

Tourism for so! Even when a Guyanese returns from three days in Trinidad. Or comes for a funeral or his NIS pension, he’s a tourist!

*2b)  How much will President Ramotar “offer” his own government employees, on his first Christmas outing?  Who advises him? Bound to take (their) advice?

*3)  Goodness Gracious!  Mega-stars are supposed to earn big bucks.  But who could justify a Chris Brown earning thirty million or more from such an economy as ours?  K N’s Adam Harris assures me that is the figure offered. Perhaps more! Vulgarity!

I care not who  the super-singer is.  The Tourism Ministry’s money is Guyanese!  Pay the Public Servants more! And the Pensioners!!

*4)  Catch A.A. Fenty’s creole Christmas on VOG radio from 8.30am Monday.

‘Til next week!

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Corruption: A global evil of the rich

Quite often, when guilty, immoral or indifferent persons are confronted with deeds or thoughts which are negative to good order, to righteousness, even national development, they slink and hide behind one mantra: “It happen everywhere, not only in Guyana.” Not choosing to come out publicly, even privately, to denounce wrong-doing, they – usually normal folks – choose not to be courageous.

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Justice and Guyana’s Courts

A brief visit to two of Georgetown’s Magistrates Courts was enough to re-trigger my years-long consideration of local administrators of legal justice in our homeland.

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Security: Personal precautions, private companies

I am aware of the United Nations’ definition of human security. It now embraces wide-ranging sub-concepts – from refugee security to gender security, economic, environmental, food, health, community, cultural,  political and , of course, personal security.

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Bad police, good police

-The Anniversary Broth: Too many (new) cooks?Some years ago my column containing some of the following sentiments was titled, in part-creole, `Aftuh Gawd, is Police!’ The expression meant that no matter how the working-class society disparage the police service, whenever there was imminent or present criminal danger, after soliciting divine assistance from their heavenly creator (God) folks swiftly sought recourse to police expertise and personnel.

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My own Independence regrets – and identity problems

In terms of “Independence Regrets”, I’m repeating sentiments I’ve had published elsewhere in this newspaper. That’s because in case they were missed, I feel they merit repetition for the “regulars” of this Friday feature.

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One-year report card: Revelations and inaction

You all know that it’s almost a personal “policy” not to join roaring debates on current national issues, as I prefer to defer to those with superior qualifications and experience.

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Slowly understanding their Indianness

-‘It was always illegal’ Two small up-front points: I’m glad I actually purchased a Guyana Times this past Sunday (I’m not too much a regular); secondly, what follows is as much a testimony to my fascination with other people’s Indianness in Guyana, as it is a brief nano-summary of my continually-delayed enlightenment on the issue, the phenomenon, the complex matrix of (a) people’s origins, history, culture, religion, ethnicity and generational lifelong bond.

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Arrival, ‘cohesion’, Douglahs

The American “Solidarity Forever” trade union battle song was meant to say it all: in unity there is working-class strength; strength to negotiate workers’ rights even though there should be no need to have to “bargain” for just rewards.


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