It is a well established view that that politics is, among other things, about the use of state power to achieve the objectives of those who govern society. Entertainment with its innocuous appearance politically, but with its capacity to significantly impact on the society in general and the youth in particular, is a prime candidate for use by the politicians who control the state apparatus. In Guyana it is clear that the Jagdeo regime is using entertainment and sport to distract the youth from the real problems confronting them.
While no one will doubt that there is a role for the state as a facilitator of entertainment in society, one has to worry when taxpayers’ money is channelled into entertainment that is clearly in contradiction with the values and ethos that promote the need to be responsible, disciplined and to develop quality citizens. It is more cause for concern when there is increasing illiteracy in our society. The use of the Mavado type artistes even though it is evident that they impact negatively on the youth can only be considered a promotion of lawlessness among the youth and a distraction from the real issues of development and from the real problems they face such as unemployment.
The Jagdeo regime seems to be transforming the youth of Guyana into a group of people that are in a perennial fete/party mode looking forward to the next foreign artiste, even as they cannot afford a daily meal. Mind you, nothing is wrong with a fete/party. However, if the fete/party is regular, foreign artistes who promote lawlessness, and contribute to the development of a carefree, abusive, anti-education and criminal culture in which illegal drugs are acceptable, then something is definitely wrong. If it is aimed at leading the youth and the Guyanese populace in the direction of focusing on entertainment as a means of distracting them from the real issues of development and ensuring rounded self development while the mass of Guyanese youth continue to wallow in poverty, then it takes on a political dimension that is ominous.
It is worthy of note that the dancehall Jamaican artiste Mavado, who was banned by the Jagdeo regime from performing in Guyana, but with no change in his lewd lyrics, his call to violence and other forms of lawlessness was allowed to perform here, and is coming again to perform and influence the youth of Guyana. Is it not interesting that while some schools have poor sanitary conditions, and the regime cannot pay public servants a living wage it could have used the over burned taxpayers money to facilitate Ne-yo’s performance as part of Jamzone 2010?
As it relates to the Ne-yo show, the organisers were in perfect order to bring him to Guyana. However, it must be a pure private sector venture. It is ridiculous to ask the small man to pay VAT but grant exemption to selective entertainment organisers. If we are promoting shows as part of our tourism drive, then there should be clear rules and regulations that govern all who are involved in the entertainment sector.
No group must get special attention at the expense of others. This is equally true for the promotion of sport. To do it selectively opens the door to political partisanship and the control of the organisers of these activities by the regime. Little wonder therefore that other promoters contend that when certain government supported promoters have activities, permission is refused to other promoters who want to have activities at the same time. It is for this reason that an intelligent UG graduate who cannot find a job asked me, “Is Jamzone a PPP front organisation?”
It should be noted that shows could be used as a means of money-laundering. This is more so if the artiste chosen is part of the criminal culture, and if so then the danger posed by this type of entertainment is real.
What is evident is that entertainment is being used as a means of political control. Our youth is fed a virtual bi-monthly diet of foreign artistes who promote entertainment characterised by an advocacy of violence both domestic and other forms, lawlessness, drug use, social deviance, a get-rich-quick culture and other social values that are inimical to the development of Guyana and things Guyanese. It is sad that we seem, most times, to import the worst of Caribbean and North American cultures and eschew the positive aspects and artistes of those cultures. Is it not striking that when most DJs go on radio or television they becomes Jamaican when playing reggae music and Yankee when playing North American music? Note as well, that the state controlled NCN promotes a modest version of the said culture. Before I forget to mention the idiocy that transcends the norm on our airwaves, let me invite you to listen as we teach our children and youth that Guyana, which does not have four seasons, is at present in summer.
Clearly this type of entertainment serves a backward political function. It is aimed at promoting a youth that is focused on poor quality entertainment, lacks political consciousness and is apolitical. Such a youth the regime perceives is easy to control. In their minds such a youth will not seek to struggle to ensure that the regime reduces unemployment. Such a youth vision is restricted to wine and dine while in Guyana, without focusing on his or her personal development, the development of their family and preparing for a future in Guyana. May I point out as well, that this type of entertainment goes a far way in ensuring our youth is focused on North America and the Caribbean and when we train them they will go there for better wages and the real entertainment.
Entertainment must be part of our development. It must promote proper values. The Guyanese youth must recognise that the Jagdeo regime is leading them down a path that is not in the interest of their own development. Our youth must say no to a Gaza culture of violence and abuse and recognise that this approach will ensure that they die in the Gully of poverty, crime, indiscipline, lawlessness and violence, and at minimum take them to the point of no return.
Aubrey C Norton