DG, a new suit and the campaigns are off

DG was on top. “Our young people demand jobs, not jails and drop-in centres…our women and children demand safe homes not safe-houses,” DG – David Granger, not Director General– insisted.

Moses wasn’t going to let him hog the spotlight. “As we prepare to take office, we note how utterly depraved this government has become by shamelessly misusing public funds. One area will suffice, our children, like little Red Riding Hood, are given a modern-day glimpse of the big bad wolves with new, brighter but bigger teeth,” he said, in a snarky reference to the millions in aid from the State for government ministers’ teeth.

DG co-opted his wife. “Today, I close by wishing you, particularly our Chinese citizens including Sandra…a prosperous Year of the Sheep. Happy Year of the Sheep, Sandra,” he said to his smiling wife. Say it together: Awwwww

It is not often that one gets to Awwww at anything DG says. In certain circles, he is known as a stiff politician who does not particularly connect. At the official launch of the APNU-AFC alliance yesterday, DG had not become a politician’s politician overnight, but he seemed to connect more. Way to go speechwriter!

Or maybe it was the new suit. The dapper black suit worn by Granger yesterday did give him a ‘presidential’ aura and there was no sign of his trademark, not-exactly-flavour-of-anytime green shirt.

But the lack of green seemed also to remove his environment protection instincts, his comments about renewable energy notwithstanding. “I see children,” DG said. “Children embarking on a bus in Crabwood Creek on the Corentyne River but being able to drive on our highways all the way to Sand Creek on the Rupununi River.

“I see children getting close enough to observe the world’s greatest anteater, I see children observing the world’s largest eagle, the world’s largest freshwater fish, the world’s largest river otter, the world’s largest rodent, the world’s largest river turtle; South America’s largest cat, largest snake, right here in Guyana, this is our inheritance, this is our legacy, our children must benefit.”

At this point, Sydney Allicock should have stood up and shouted “Not in my backyard DG” but he didn’t. Because we are not, of course, and nor are the arapaima, anteater, harpy eagle, otter, capybara, jaguar and others, particularly sold on the idea of hundreds of coastal kids (and their parents and others) traipsing to the yet pristine lands of parts of Region Nine, ooohing and ahhhing and littering.

Oppose Bai Shan Lin, Oppose Kids!

DG and Nagamootoo essentially promised a new dawn for Guyana. And there she was, a woman hitherto mostly unheard, making her debut in the national political spotlight. After an initial stumble, Dawn Hastings – DH for short – grooved into her role as chairperson, winning hearts (and applause) by speaking in her native Akawaio at one point.

A woman, speaking?!!! In Akawaio too!!! Take note other (outgoing) DG.

But political wives aside, mostly men filled the front row.

It is to be suspected that Imran Khan played a role in organizing the event which was way better managed than most. It started not too late, there were seats aplenty if you arrived early, African and Indian drummers, steelpan, the Yoruba Singers (who are awesome), Circle of Love, screens showing the proceedings, excellent speakers. It didn’t last too long either. But a front row (the section where all the important people are) filled with only (mostly old) men? Nope, nope, nope.

The AFC also took a brave step by placing the issue of sexual orientation on a political platform. “We believe that regardless of where you stand on the political space, regardless of the texture of your hair, regardless of your religious persuasion, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, that we are One People, One Nation with One destiny,” said Allan Fernandes, reading a message from the party. Progressive no?

All in all, as launches go, there were no dramatic announcements. There was a dramatic entrance though (from my point of view) of a lady with a white dog in a carrying case. The dog snuggled, slept, looked interested, looked bored and seemed pretty much at home at a political gathering. As Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ played, the dog even seemed to shake it a little bit. And for the second time: Awwwww.

Teeth and suit, DH and DG (the other one), sheep and dog. The campaigns are just getting started.

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