St. Matthew and taxes as Easter week ends

Developing Georgetown’s D’Urban Park

A sufficiently–prominent Guyanese personality provoked my poor-man senses when he claimed that there is now some new tax on dray-carts, meaning dray-cart drivers/owners.

So is that accurate by any stretch of the imagination? Or just one salvo in the syndrome of fake-news rumour or mischief whereby fiction is created amongst fact?

Today’s offering might be my most brief ever. Because numerous knowledgeable commentators and analysts have already published criticisms and conversation on the issue of Minister Jordan’s taxes. So I use these brief paragraphs to invite attention to how the APNU+AFC spokespersons represent the case(s) for their wide ranging taxation now assaulting the wallets of the populace.

But wait! Today’s caption mentions the Biblical St. Matthew. What does Mr Matthew have to do with Mr Jordan? Surely I’m stretching it a bit – or very much.

But while it’s partly to grab attention it has to do with the hope that even disliked tax – collectors could be redeemed. Even Minister Jordan and his tax chief Mr Statia!

From Matthew to our Minister

Since we are into the end of Easter Week 2017, I return to the role of Gospel Recorder Matthew. It was Saint Matt who quoted Jesus to predict what type of world we would create – or inherit – before universal cleansing and salvation.

In Matthew 24 – he was once called Levi – you read of wars, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, earthquake in strange and diverse places. Jesus, reportedly, via St Matt even revealed that this chaos would be wickedly created in his name.

Now, St Matthew was once a tax collector for a Roman Governor. He spoke and wrote in both Aramaic – Jesus language – and Greek. That alone might have qualified him to write one of the Gospels long after he had – reportedly – actually witnessed Jesus’ resurrection/ascension. It is also recorded that when some folks rebuked Jesus for befriending tax man Matthew, Jesus in turn reprimanded them reminding that “I come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Christians should let the Easter lessons of redemption and forgiveness prevail in their everyday lives. Even as they consider the consequences of Ministers’ policies and utterances.

What I, as affected citizen, do realise is that Minister Jordan, Minister Harmon, even Minister Bulkan should never be left (alone) to explain certain government actions.

After they speak – and mis-speak – the president often, too often, has to play “back-up”, Explainer – or Apologist-in-Chief. Do the Public Relations /Education gurus sit with the Ministers before “explanations” are attempted about the wide-ranging taxes now being imposed? Jordan could be brash and dismissive now that he has thrown off his Jagdeo collar. Even Minister Trotman, though persuasive, can be haughty in delivery. Remember my comfortable, high-salaried friends, poor people are listening.

Georgetown’s Jubilee D’Urban Park

It was tempting to write “Granger’s Jubilee Park” but never will I be disrespectful of the President I voted for. But I briefly peek at both sides of the coin.

On the Friday before the Monday General Elections in May 2015, I listened in agreement and acceptance, as Candidate Granger responded to a voter’s plea that he – the Candidate – get rid of the unsightly, unsafe “jungle” that was D’Urban Park, a historic green space in an unsightly capital city.

The caller-citizen had called into the Candidate on Granger’s final campaign TV programme on Sharma’s Channel 6. Mr Granger explained that the PPP/C government cared little about Georgetown or its youth then promised to restore D’Urban Park and to provide new or upgraded organised Green Spaces in the city.

I’ve since hoped to locate the caller who interacted with the now President. Look how the jungle was transformed! I’m not too fond of those wooden bleachers and I still appreciate the National Park but I’m also glad that the D’Urban Park is still that and not Jubilee and that the Opposition insistence on knowing where all the funding was sourced from did not overwhelm what was achieved after decades of willful neglect.

My current regret is that that project could not attract the additional interest or priority which had been promised. Plans originally announced, replete with a graphic billboard, outlined the further construction of jogging/exercise tracks, play areas for children, recreational space for seniors, among other facilities reaching up to the farthest eastern end accessible.

What has become of those plans? A victim of priorities? Or of Opposition pressure in terms of the first phase financing? I say mobilise to complete the park!

Consider…

1)  Name twelve (12) taxes introduced since May 2015

2) What’s the latest on the GT parking meters “introduction”? On Public Servants’ Salary increases?

3) Away with Bharrat’s LCDS- Low Carbon Development Strategy – Hail up David’s and the Rear-Admiral’s brand new GSDS! The Guyana Green State Development Strategy.

’Til next week!

(allanafenty@yahoo.com)

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