Hey, it’s African History Month, remember?

What The PPP wants – and will do

-Are Banks allowed to be naughty?

I spared myself a day or two before finally deciding that I would dare offer a reminder–comment to the populace, generally, and to African-descended Guyanese specifically that February is usually deemed African History Month. With origins in the USA. I believe it began as Negro History Week then evolved into Black Heritage month or other related descriptions.

The objective, of course, was/is to highlight the origins, development and historical contributions of Africans and African-descended folks to humanity. (In passing, I also remind that the United Nations Organisation – the UN – is not shy in terms of designating years and decades “African” – something or the other, with similar objectives.)

For my part, African-oriented as I can be, I fell into the habit, in this column of upbraiding local African communities, Afro-centric organisations, those ethnic-specific groups in the Diaspora and certain “Black” leaders in business and industry here, for not doing lasting things to empower African-descended Guyanese economically. Every year at this time I would express that lament. That’s why I balked this year but have hereby relented.

Frankly Speaking I’ve long decided that the (local) African Spirit for survival has been vanquished. The combination of personal and collective loss of pride and status; lack of opportunity, consistent poverty, governmental and commercial discrimination; as well as a former President’s seemingly effective marginalisation of Afro-Guyanese, has made African-descended citizens of Guyana into mere consumers, lookers-on and driven to exile via migration.

And when representation by occasional “Black” representatives, broke and deprived themselves, does not inspire or produce African entrepreneurial success, ownership or lasting clout, the younger Afro-Guyanese are tempted to turn to unconventional, sometimes illegal methods to survive amidst the new rich they see emerging on “the other side”.

 Hidden Colours, open struggle…

A young Afro-vendor approached me in Bartica three weeks ago urging me to purchase his now – popular “Hidden Colours” DVDs. He even explained that they were documentaries about “the Moors”. I began a brief conversation with him and was suitably impressed.

Those tapes contain African history from the perspective of African-American Historians and other scholars. As usual I ask my question every February: After you’ve instilled the pride of African discoveries, contributions globally and taught about European exploitation of African beginnings, what do you do about economic empowerment here? I mean ownership of manufacturing; of importation; of banking and agriculture; of, of…

Will a new government inspire and promote that empowerment? Lord, I really, really, really hope so!

(Incidentally, I’ve only now been educated: Even the word (“Africa” is not African!)

 The PPP at this time

Poor me. I struggle to find ways, even issues, that allow me to dive into the plethora of columns, commentaries, editorials, opinions, analyses, letters, relevant to the Elections and campaigns. (See that partial list in the last sentence?) I know I’ll tire whilst the editorial campaigners write thousands and thousands for their cause and choices.

I agree with the People’s Progressive Party! Ha! About what?

(1) There must be “public vetting” of GECOM’s Elections Day staff. Who are these dudes?

(2) And that there must be no intrusion into the Independence of GECOM.

(3) I agree with the PPP too, that the photographs and particulars of crucial electoral staff should be published.

(4) I agree that the number of Registration centres must be adequate.

(5) I also urge GECOM to locate claims –and – objections offices in non-discriminatory, accessible places.

(6)   I support PPP’s Rohee when he asks for his Party’s agents to be allowed to monitor pre-election-day activities such as “the packing and sealing of ballot boxes”. (Let all monitor and scrutinize).

(7) Activities related to District Returning Officers declaring early results and to Alpha-split lists at Polling Stations and use of proxies should please the PPP!

When this Party is satisfied, there can be nothing to complain about on Polling Night!

Five things the PPP will begin right now:

Showcase governmental achievements and ask for electoral continuity; preach the “treachery” of the AFC for reneging on Ramjattan’s concrete pledge of never joining the PNC/APNU; attempt to sabotage Opposition campaign funding; continue to suggest ”threats” from Granger’s “ militarists” who, of course, will dominate the AFC reps, ultimately and take full control of the State media for subtle and open campaigning.

Well, the Commonwealth Observer Team to Sri Lanka’s recent elections, led by our own young Dr Jagdeo, sounded off on the latter. Whether he runs for Prime Minister or not, he should comment on the use of NCN and Chronicle – owned by “the people”.

I just loved the Monday Stabroek’s editorial question: Consequent upon the APNU-AFC Coalition, does “the Indo-Guyanese segment of the population still see the PNC as unreconstructed and as the bogeyman that the PPP/C continues to present it as?”

I also ask: what can be done to teach all young Guyanese – 18 to 30 – to consider issues and vital programmes, instead of just persons?

 Big naughty banks…

I know I’ll have to return to this question as a full-length piece. Because a friend who should know declared to me that “Banks are the first criminals!” I was perplexed. He explained that all registered/recognized Banking Institutions are covered by national laws. They are covered legally to enact transactions and other shady financial dealings which the ordinary person is forbidden to engage in.

Right after that news broke about the colossal mischief perpetrated by Europe’s biggest bank, Britain’s HSBC, as it apologized for its own Swiss bank helping wealthy customers with tax evasion. Stay tuned!


*1)   Observe the defence in the Neesa Gopaul murder trial now on.

*2)   What are some top retired military brass – Joseph G. Singh, Atherly, Best, McLean etc etc – doing these days?

*3)   Should I re-consider years of abstaining – and actually vote this time?

*4)   Farewell to Brother Leslie Melville. “The Employed Poor”, the powerless workers have lost a stalwart!


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