We the ‘Vultures and Carrion Crows’ of Guyana are essential for a healthy environment. President B. Jagdeo has recently described the local independent media of Guyana as “vultures and carrion crows.” Every child in Guyana knows that vultures (called ‘carrion crows,’ or the words are often used interchangeably) feed on dead animals, discarded offal, rotting flesh and sometimes garbage. In tougher times they alight close to the sick and dying animals awaiting their chance to feed. They are drawn by the smell or stench of ‘decay and/or death.’ These birds play an essential role in maintaining the good health of our ecosystems. It is obvious that our proclaimed “Champion of the Earth” is unaware of this fact. We do not understand why the President and his admirers such as Dr. R. Luncheon and Mr. Sam Hinds should malign the birds which maintain a clean and healthy environment.
If vultures and carrion crows are denigrated, then who will be spared? As children, whenever we saw these birds (vultures called ‘carrion crows’) circling over the bushes we would go to investigate – looking for dead snakes, caimans, sheep, cows etc. This was how we found lost and dead domesticated animals. Police officers likewise when searching for any person declared missing or possibly killed in the bushes look for where ‘carrion crows’ are circling and then move into the area. This was our version of bio-aerial reconnaissance or satellite technology. We were using futuristic aerial navigational tools a long time ago! Vultures do not circle or bother healthy animals.
When disturbed or chased away from their roost (or night time perches) or decaying potential food they simply circle overhead and return again and again – often from different angles. Who knows maybe the vultures, like the Guyana media, are also drawn to rotten and earthy language spewed from our Champion of the Earth, President Jagdeo, in his numerous public ‘cuss downs.’ However, the President has a point. Unwittingly or subconsciously he has revealed a profound truth about his Govt. He (like others) realizes that his government is indeed rotting with: corruption, greed, perversity, intimidation etc.
President Jagdeo and his ruling elite should know that the role of a free press in a democratic society includes ‘sniffing’ out misdeeds and bringing it to the public attention. The independent media like the ‘vultures and carrion crows’ are doing what is essential for a healthy democratic society. These men and women employed in the media are essential to our own health and welfare. According to this President’s skewed definition, the late Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, and Nobel Laureates Mr. Nelson Mandela and Mr. Desmond Tutu are all ‘vultures and carrion crows.’ I can name many others who will meet the disapproval of President Jagdeo, such as 2011’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman, 2010’s Liu Xiaobo and 1991’s Aung San Suu Kyi. During a previous dictatorship in Guyana, high-profile persons such as:
Dr. Joshua Ramsammy and Dr. Omawale (Ratoon), `Dr. Walter Rodney and Mr. Eusi Kwayana (Dayclean), `Father Morrison and Fr. Darke (Catholic Standard), `Dr. Roy Nehaul (Caribbean Contact) and Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Ms. Janet Jagan (the President’s mentors), all spoke out against and challenged the excesses of the late President Mr. L.F.S. Burnham’s regime in their various respective publications. Were all these principled persons and their associates who wrote in their respective publications ‘vultures and carrion crows?’
Who would not want to associate with such outstanding people?
Where are the voices of staunch PPP members who once stood for something, such as Mr. Moses Nagamootoo? Where is my friend Mr. Navin Chandarpal, often putting himself at great personal risk, who spoke out against the President Burnham’s regime on UG’s campus?
We (UG students, youths and all concerned Guyanese) should each wear a T-shirt with a picture of our local vulture (carrion crow) on the front which says: ‘We too are Vultures and Carrion Crows,” or something similar. Or, we can simply wear a black shirt like a vulture. We declare Friday October 28th 2011 ‘National Vulture and Carrion Crow Day.’ In this way we show our solidarity with the media personnel of Kaieteur News, Stabroek News, Demerara Waves.com., CNS TV6, and especially UG’s faculty member, Mr. Freddie Kissoon for boldly speaking and reporting the truths.
Seelochan Beharry Ph.D.