Emancipation – the president as historian and enabler

-just what should I eat?

Yes I concede. I have again succumbed to the people’s Emancipation Month to intrude with my comments.

This very slight contribution is occasioned by our President’s intervention and inputs into the month and his people’s observances.

Two years ago, after he had assumed the highest office, I recalled his status as a qualified publisher–historian. Because of its relevance I do so again today.

Even as I consider comparison between the Retired Brigadier–President and all of his predecessors it is easy to detect, still, his inherent characteristics as thinker, strategist and patriot. Sure, he is a long way from being a transformational leader given to creative innovation and to breaking away from traditional, bureaucratic governance. (Lord, he seems addicted to being guided by costly Commissions of Inquiry!)

Aside from his sterling military career, even as a young officer in the Defence Force he edited and produced an ideological publication to introduce a certain orientation to Forbes Burnham’s troops.

Publisher, historian’s context

At the anniversaries of churches in the villages; the arrival of the Chinese; Amerindian Month or launching a renewed or new monument Granger will delve into history to contextualise the present and, frequently, to suggest his future for the event or some beneficiaries.

I have heard him explain to low-level GDF ranks how the British built their “Empire” on the backs of their early slaves and trade – even how some of his soldiers had names like “Bristol” and “English”. That was at the Public Buildings around 1981-82.

Granger’s colleagues, in terms of historians, include Winston McGowan, James Rose, Hazel Woolford, Alvin Thompson, Brian Moore, Kimani Nehusi, among others. Indeed, he, McGowan and Rose edited the 1998 Themes in African-Guyanese history which should be listed high among our Guyanese History texts. The Publisher, or course, was Granger’s own Free Press.

Granger’s own Guyana Review and Emancipation were magazines to be looked forward to during most of the PPP’s 23-year-old sojourn in government. The monthly Review was both a literary standard and a watchdog assessing governmental excesses and incompetence whilst offering hope and inspiration to an affected portion of the population and readership.

I suspect he would not want to be deemed “Pan-Africanist”. Especially now (?). But he is competent with African history and the Afro-Guyanese condition. I’ve misplaced his published commentary on The Marginalisation of African Guyanese” but this is how he concludes his “Time of Trial: African Slavery in Guyana. “It was the liberation of the Africans in 1838, more than any other single act, which led to the demographic, economic, political and cultural changes which laid the foundation of modern Guyana”.

Enabling the marginalised?

The reasons are numerous regarding just why Afro-Guyanese turned away from the land; from commerce, manufacturing, industry. “Others” won’t want to buy the reasoning that so much was stacked against them. From the post-slavery era to both the colonial and PPP-dominated periods. (Incidentally, how did Afro-Guyanese fare under Forbes’ and Desmond’s PNC 28 years?)

So today, before the 2018 national budget, and after Eric’s ABC (African Business Council) and roundtable, a government seems finally disposed to empowering African-Guyanese with serious structured strategies and intention to strive for reachable economic objectives. It seems to be the glorious, if delayed, opportunity Dr David Hinds has been clamouring for.

Over this past week-end President Granger urged Africans born here not to “agonise but to mobilise and organise”. He outlined just what “the State” could assist with – urgently.

Perhaps not wanting to appear too Afro-centric the Historian-Leader contextualised actual (imminent) support within the framework of the United Nations (Declaration of) International Decade of People of African Descent.

There is even a Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) which has formulated a Report to give birth to a Plan for “re-positioning” Afro-Guyanese for sustained economic development.

I now strive hard to believe that with their President prescribing organisation, education – and implementation, this strategy will attract success this time around. How Africans born here – even those in the Diaspora – will embrace and use Granger’s support is another matter. To be continued. This could be the best Emancipation month yet.

Just what’s good to eat?

Simple! A tiny tot has to use foods suitable for growing. As should teenagers and young adults.

As ailments and health challenges attend, the forties to sixties must listen to doctors and nutritionists. Then those folks past seventy and eighty have to know what’s great for nourishment and renewal. Just what the digestive organs can accommodate, until they give up!

The fellows were discussing what various “studies” would reveal about eggs, coconut oil or pears – and how one study a decade ago would be contradicted by another done last year. Just what works for our sustained good health here? For diabetics and/or vegetarians? For infants and seniors? Let’s pay more attention to what local foods are good – and affordable.

(One man says he will continue with his red meat! Because chickens, cows, sheep, goats eat grass! Pigs don’t Discuss…)

Imagine, ponder…

1) If mankind – whether by creation or evolution originated in Africa, we are all of African-descent, right?

2)  Would Mr Jagdeo do for his home – place Unity (ECD) what Mr Granger will do for Bartica?

3)  Monday’s total eclipse of the sun across a swath of the USA really made you reflect upon how small and vulnerable we are. Earth could only watch upon the Moon and the Sun. This Universe is not ours!

4) What? Did  I see right? My friend Lennox Canterbury – formerly of our local Department of Culture – at Carifesta representing Antigua?

5)  How is Minister Dr Roopnaraine getting along these days?

’Til next week!



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