The motivation for these remarks comes from the stimulation I frequently get from the analyses and even advisories in some Sunday Stabroek editorials. (This Sunday’s “Street renaming” refers.)
But I’ve also done my own ponderings on the current preparations for the grand golden 2016 celebration of our country’s fiftieth anniversary of its political/constitutional/governmental “independence.” (Have you ever given serious thought to that concept of “independence”? “Independence” in an inter-dependent global society where the powerful and mighty still reign supreme over the economically dependent and divided poor?) On September 18 last I pondered on just what is there to celebrate for our half-century of so-called “independence”. Amongst the numerous examples, the symbols of developmental stagnation, marking-time, even backwardness, I would usually stress that “potable water still doesn’t reach up to my top flat.” After being independent for 50 years! Or 49!
But, as a patriotic 70-plus citizen who saw the new Golden Arrowhead pulled up at the National Park, I am/was objective enough to repeat a few positive developments I experienced since May 1966. Even though they hardly impacted in any powerfully significant manner on this country’s sustained quality of life, even as little resource–challenged islands and states by-passed us in nearly every facet of living. (I listed republicanism (1970)), import substitution, the GNS, founding Caricom and Carifesta, improved national infrastructure and press freedom amongst a few other, positives”. Should we “celebrate” the foregoing in the face of almost mass migration of our Guyanese bodies and brains to other lands where more reside than we few do here?
PNC 26, PPP 23, Granger, one!
Again I remind and teach – the young and the indifferent and uninitiated: From May 1966 to October 1992 we endured twenty-six (26) years of PNC Burnham/Hoyte administrations; then twenty-three (23) years of PPP Jagan/Jagdeo/Ramotar rule. Forty-nine years of shared PNC/PPP “success” and misery! With the PPP outdoing itself to characterise our big, beautiful, blighted land as one of governmental ineptitude, drugs – transhipment and corruption. Now enter one year of David Granger’s PNC-led APNU-AFC coalition government. Somehow, I think “PNC” when I think “APNU”. The other components are, to me, amorphous – like would- be representatives. The AFC partner “serves its purpose”.
My considered take on the Brigadier’s one-year and the impending Golden Grand Slam 50th Independence celebration next May, is this” Granger wants to celebrate both his one year of achievement and the 50th anniversary with his government’s brand being solidified on Guyana’s political and developmental landscape. Frankly Speaking, if the next six months are characterised by national achievement in the interest of the advancement of all our people, I’ll welcome the Granger independence brand.
If the Granger/AFC lot does not accelerate accomplishment by May next year, we may be in for a return to the mischief, racism, under-development and evil they inherited this past May! Good Lord, who amongst us deserve that?
Fifty this, that? Be decisive!
In my September 18 piece, I made bold to suggest the economic projects that should be the hallmark of the golden anniversary celebrations. (I usually, cynically, would suggest, “observance” over “celebration.”) But even if there is to be the celebratory partying there must be national substance to that national 50-year landmark.
It is time – after 6 months- for Ministers Roopnaraine and Henry – and their blue collar Committee – to reveal even a partial list of anniversary activities confirmed so far. Yes Diaspora Guyanese are planning to be here. But for what!?
All I, and the nation are subjected to so far, are piece-meal, ad hoc announcements from multiple sources about 50-of-this and 50-of–that.” Nonsense! Hamilton Green seems to want to impose a Swan-Song renaming of 50 places and streets. I agree with the sentiments of the Sunday Stabroek Editorial: You do not tamper with history like that! Even the sordid African exit points for the holocaust that was African enslavement were not “re-named”. Names of negatives can be instructive abut historical realities too.
Forbes Burnham was not wrong to rename Murray Street, Quamina. (Incidentally, that was the very last big public thing he ever did!) But there are many new places, communities and events that can be blessed with the names of the now-favoured chosen. Leave our history alone.
The Bank of Guyana is speaking of Fifty Dollar Notes; there are to be new stamps (?); regional totem poles and flags seem to be on the May 2016 cards. But please, weave and tell us, the enthusiasts, officially what is the fabric really planned as a fomal collective. Okay?
A “brown” America? Scared?
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York welcomed America’s immigrants for decades. I forget the whole poem at the base of the statue which still welcomes the world’s poor and suffering “masses.”
In 2015 the USA is bursting with those non-white/European immigrants. Many Europeans did take the opportunity when Russia’s Iron Curtain was lifted. However, America has since accommodated hundreds of thousands of Asians (those Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Laotians etc.); Latin Americans and Mexicans, Africans; You name them.
The Nation of Immigrants ensures that the newcomers when settled utilise the freedom rights, laws and opportunities not available in their native lands to contribute to America’s continued economic security and supremacy – sharing that “American dream.”
In a decade or two America will be majority brown, if thousands of Eastern Europeans and Australians do not seek American citizenship. Latin Americans, Africans and Asians- as “new Americans”, will render “whites” and Afro-Americans “minorities”. What then? Will that new Brown America survive?
The election campaign (2015/16) and global terrorism now attract extreme views on President Obama’s intention to allow in thousands of Syrian, Iraqi, Arab refugees. “Traditional” Americans are worried. Should Afro-Americans care? For example? Will the refugee Americans “spawn” more terrorists to sabotage the homeland? Very valid considerations.
Discuss, until I return to this issue.
Great expectations for May 2016:
Increased pay and non-salary benefits and conditions for public servants – the private sector will be “impressed”; the grand Georgetown upgrade; prosecution of those who pilfered the public purse; UG transformation takes hold; more employment from multiple investments etc.
Think about this….
Those two buildings! Old Co-op, Bank, Cornhill Street and Old GBC, Princes, High streets! Use them!
No contention, please Christians! Christmas Eve seems to be the Muslim Youman Nabi too. God bless Forbes Burnham.
Who will be Guyana’s new representatives to India, China, Brazil?
Does it not seem that former presidential hopeful and Speaker Ramkarran is showing the government how to prosecute its public relations – if not defence?
`Til next week