Dear Editor,

A letter by Jennifer Bulkan, ‘It is the moral duty of the gov’t to ban styrofoam’ (SN, June 3), got my full attention, more particularly the last paragraph when she asked the question, “Can the President please tell us exactly what is the salary of the Chairman of GuySuCo?”  She further stated that there are too many secrets in this government … as citizens, we are entitled to know what these people in high places are paid and compare their salaries to probably the most important workers in our country – the koker attendants, the men who keep the Atlantic from drowning us all.”

“The koker attendants, the men who keep the Atlantic from drowning us all” ‒ Editor this is a basic and forthright statement of fact highlighting the indispensable contribution of the ordinary worker, whose daily duty it is to keep us protected from the forever threatening and bellicose Atlantic and who deserves much better than some of the higher-ups smug in their sinecures.

Having said that, and bordering on the point Ms Bulkan made to Mr Haralsingh about government’s dereliction of duty, it seems to me that there are activists who are set up to propagate what seems to be a government line, claiming whatever goes wrong it is not because of the ruling party or government but rather we ourselves, the people.  If your salary is inadequate, it is not the government’s fault, you should have gotten a higher paying job; if the hospital is short on prescription drugs or doctors or you have to spend the entire day there before you are attended to, then prevent yourself from getting ill, so that you wouldn’t have to go; if people are underemployed or unemployed, they are downright lazy; if roads are deplorable, that’s because we are using them carelessly and recklessly; if production for whatever reason falls way below the projected target, it’s because workers are not pulling their weight.

When it rains heavily as it is doing now and the Atlantic rushes in to flood the city, that’s because the gods are angry.  When people take to the streets in protest, there is no valid reason, they are politically motivated by “wanna be” politicians with hidden agendas. Violence in schools; the alarming drop-out rate; street urchins; the indignities endured by a large section of our elderly; the ripping off of billions of state funds under the guise of contracts to contractors; the rising cost of everything; and the gradual but constant social and moral decadence amidst the material wealth of the filthy-rich are nothing to be alarmed about.

How can you blame the government, they are not God? Whatever is out of sync, twisted, upside-down, crazy and driving you nuts, blame it on the rain, the stars, the moon, but do not soil the good record of the government’s performance by pointing a finger at them. And oh! By the way, just remember that every time you point an accusing finger, observe there are three more pointing back at you.  The response to almost every complaint is met with disdain and disgust, and dismissed as simply being critical and ungrateful.

And so you have the government mouthpieces, lurking around the communities pushing the theory that we need to stop bashing the government and accept responsibility for all our woes, and whatever our damning state of affairs.

The in-thing now for some of them is to spout that famous overused and threadworn quotation of late USA President John Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” following which they feel a sense of brilliance and triumph over their opponent(s) – never mind that they are off the mark by applying it superficially and loosely, and failing to frame it within its proper perspective against a backdrop in which it becomes valid. So there you have it.
But then again, looking at the other side of the coin, I may want to agree with these propagandists since we often behave like punks as if nothing is wrong – so we just let them be.  Look! You walk into one of these disgusting and clumsily run government institutions to conduct your affairs, and stand up in opposition to something that is grotesquely wrong and watch every one else remain transfixed, without a word in support. They just observe you as if you are a new invention; you insist and stand your ground, until someone, some pompous and haughty supervisor, summons security to have you removed for disorderly behaviour. They get rid of you but keep the problem.

Also, we have entered the self-mode, looking out for none other than self. How often do we hear such remarks as, “Look after yuh self, wha yuh bothering with other people fuh?”  So the crooked system takes you into a corner and fixes you up; no doubt you are happy about getting your business done, but it compromises your judgement of right and wrong, of fairness and principle, and you blind your eyes to whatever.  I saw a remark by Joey Jagan in response to the Caribbean Press issue which I think is not too off target in describing our situation:  “Icing on a cake spoiling inside.”“As an aside: At the crossroads of increased electricity, I smell the drums of Waterloo. Definitely the cost of electricity is way beyond the reach of the ordinary worker.

Yours faithfully,
Frank Fyffe