A few years ago, when my friend and colleague Walter Jordan, sought to berate us out here to “come back and put our shoulders to the wheel” instead of commenting on issues from here, I responded pointing out that a small group of five of us had then ‘shouldered’ more than 250 collective years in developing and being developed in Guyana, as against less than 50 collective years ‘over here’. Last week when I read the exchange about IAST, I smiled and passed it over as two so called elephants tusking it out where ants need not be.
Yesterday, however, the exchange between Dr Beharry, as a contributor, and Ms Lawrence as Head of a Division of IAST was interesting and surprising.
As a layman and a Guyanese, I thought that contributor Beharry raised topical and concerned issues, responding to our Management team’s report that Guyana needed to outsource critical tests. As I re-read his letter I was thankful that someone was looking out for me, my family, my relatives and my friends, and with a professional eye. However the response from Ms Lawrence, unless misquoted, is of another class. Perhaps I may state here that I have no idea who either person is, and need not be labelled as a cohort, nor should my views be termed rude and obnoxious. But I feel violated and offended by Ms Lawrence categorising and lambasting us (as Walter did) as if we have no rights in Guyana because we are over here. It begs the question of the other report in Friday’s paper as to the millions (billions) we contribute as inflows home, and the previous contributions we, and our foreparents made, and benefited from in the development of the Guyanese society while we lived, went to school and worked there. Further, many of us still have homes and other ties there, many of us travel there frequently, many of us contribute to the development of our villages, our communities and individuals, and I dare say that some of us pay more taxes than some living there presently.
I (and others) have more than a passing interest and right to comment on how the economy is managed, how our money is distributed, what developments take place, and, yes, who manages our investments. My contribution includes an appropriate “return on investment” whether in the form of a pension or improved goods and services and a better life for me, my children, grandchildren and relatives.
Ms Lawrence however may have an excuse. When the Senior Political Managers of the Guyanese economy could refuse to give public information, when her Head could declare a policy and say that he will not publicly respond again to letter(s) from individual Guyanese, then in this context her emotive statements may be excused. But on the other hand, when a Public Officer is on the job, whose time is this? Is “my” time my own, or is it “of the public”? And I have not said anything of the “Civil Servant”!!
L A Camacho