A comment stimulated by my recent piece on “honest businessmen”; our challenged University’s struggle to produce “relevant” educated citizens and (election) talk about our society’s “polarisation”, have all caused me to revisit these issues today.
For the past decade I have detected a very strong perception that many existing businesses, some new investments and some giant constructions in the capital have something to do with illegal funding – or financing derived from unacceptable sources. (But unacceptable to whom?)
There must be courageous, innovative, hardworking and honest business people still operating in Guyana. Alas! Even they are perceived to be movers, shakers and launderers in cocaine-related evil.
(Though during the past week, two reasonably-educated taxi-drivers both informed me that gold is fetching top prices and that cocaine or bank loans are not the only sources of investment funding. We were travelling along Sheriff Street in Georgetown.)
In the current less-than-moralistic context of our “new society”, the acquisition of wealth, of property, of even “status”, has little to do with education. Our youth go to school yes, but do they appreciate why education? Or what a proper education should do?
Years ago, I did a stint at an AEA class for drop-outs from a deprived area. I tried to show them what an education should do for them. I used myself. I am without degrees or university-level training but I transmitted to them how basic education helped me to succeed. That is when most of the class looked forward to spelling, shopping-list calculations, current affairs around us, environment study and various forms of art and music.
We together agreed that education should also prepare us to become citizens proud of country, being good parents and importantly, being able to reason out problems, before breaking the country’s laws though some form of violence. And that is what education should still mean for our youth. Literacy programmes and vocational training must also gear young citizens for jobs, to be created by adults in government and business. Or in an environment suitable for self employment.
Alas! Can we prevail over the quick-buck syndrome? The bandit and the corrupt as role models? Discuss
Our people, politics – and
I cringe silently when the politicians remind us and remind the challenged Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) that we are racially polarized within some racial divide.
This is the season when we’ll hear much of that in one form or the other. And subtly, if not openly, no effort will be spared to make us see division when there is more or no significant cleavage. But we know who benefits when even healed wounds are re-opened. I can’t deny that there are differences amongst some specific groups; that real or perceived policies and preferences by the government do exaggerate insecurity and discomfort amongst its non-supporters, but to me, Frankly Speaking, deep-seated “polarisation” based purely on race is not prevalent amongst most of our people. Whatever our innermost concerns and dislikes, we still shop, work, play, worship and eat together. Other societies, really polarized, do not enjoy that voluntary social cohesion.
But this is election time. Watch some, listen to the descriptions of polarisation and how they’ll banish it, with new forms of governance. Best of luck to you – – the “polarised” nation.
Traffic Cops’ talk?
A few friends, including taxi drivers , love to regale me with their experiences with errant, naughty traffic policemen who pull them over for violations which they sometimes did not commit.
It’s even more interesting when they did fall foul of the traffic laws. The policemen have unique, creative, but not discreet ways of advising drivers that there are ways to avoid court appearances. The language is the thing! From the old rag and towel hints, or write or lef’, these are a few of the cops’ advisories
“You’re a busy man, you have no time to waste in court”, “the ball is in your court”. “Five thousand for the offence, ten thousand for the other, postponements in court, or lawyer fees. It make all the sense to lef a five grand hay”. I help you, you help me”. “You look like you does co-operate wid de police” etc, etc. Do you know of any “Traffic Cop Talk”?
● 1) Are you persuaded by the arguments by the WPA, Rodney’s Party, for joining the PNC in APNU? Coalition Politics in a Coalition of one?
● 2) Watch the PPP supporters still around band together
● 3) The GECOM Head still gets my vote for rebuking, then advising, the would be Presidents and their campaigners.
‘Til next week!