-the PNC at 60 (Pt 2)
I assumed two positions and approaches to this piece today. Firstly I admitted just a bit of personal journalistic laziness. Secondly I fancied myself a complete stranger to Guyana of September 2017. (As if I’m a first-time visitor from Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or Sweden.)
Various countries situated in very diverse locations on our planet confront – most likely – similar socio-human, economic and political realties as humans who dwell everywhere. Basic challenges are global and all around – if even in localised versions.
But as senior citizen Allan Fenty of our Republic last weekend, I saw so much of my country’s burdens- “numerous unnecessary”- mirrored in last weekend’s dailies (Saturday/Sunday editions.) Here is a peek into mainly bad negative news with brief comment. The encounters of a new visitor.
Crime – and the economy
Any UG student of Communications might know how to “weigh” the proportion of certain categories of news and news items in our daily newspapers.
Since I’m given to the simple and the elementary, I suggest just block out the stories of crime, court “round ups” and all types of police reports and check what readers are left with. With respect for and apologies to our police, I advise that editors can explain why all murders, high-profile thefts and fatal accidents capture the front pages daily.
Last weekend I marveled at the latest delay in the court trial of the “brand name” biker and others accused of the massive $550m cocaine lumber bust. How do you think that will play out eventually? Then those papers informed us of suspected collusion between Rupununi cops and aeroplane escapees Guyanese in Guyana – with overseas connections – seeking Minister Jordan’s Good Life in an illegal hurry!
As far as the challenged economy, national development and the promised “good life” go the weekend news did not offer immediate “good news”. On that front realities are aspirational and futuristic. Business Minister Gaskin, opening a new Kitty enterprise, was his usual positive self. (Why shouldn’t he be?)
AFC government Minister Patterson was fulsome rebutting claims by Dr Jagdeo relevant to the proposed Demerara River Bridge and allocations of oil blocks for mining. As it is alleged he did with our forestry concessions and airwaves, Jagdeo is being accused of parceling out these resources to favoured persons. Should not Jagdeo be confronted with the proof to demonstrate what damage he did to our national economic patrimony?
Corruption – and Race
As with crime and political developments our major news outlets cannot help but feature the now national phenomenon of corruption. At very varied levels. This past weekend one newspaper reminded us of alleged financial irregularities at the Elections Commission itself. Some amount of credibility is claimed as the State’s Audit Office has revealed that its investigation is about to be concluded. Another headline blared that there is allegedly, a multi-million “school feeding fraud uncovered in Region Eight”.
I often tell myself that if only one–quarter of that paper’s exposes or scoops is accurate, executive lawlessness is now a cancer in this nation’s character. And soul.
I know that I’ve always been racially conscious. Especially from my teenaged years as a pupil teacher on the West Demerara, I’ve been exposed to “racial” incidents, encounters and experiences of both evil and humorous nature. I am racially aware but hardly racist.
Analytical youthful minds – Mosa Telford and Ruel Johnson explored elements of race relations, historically and currently, in the wake of the young lady’s usages with regard to her Office-of-the-President’s colleagues. My fulsome contribution will come before year end. I’ll include the responses to remarks I make – in jest – to Afro young ladies. And that I loved the late Rev. Dale Bisnauth’s declaration: “Not everyone who calls me `Coolie’ is a racist…”
The foregoing partial peek into the socio-economic snapshot of Guyana from this past weekend’s press has omitted the politics of the leading parties; the incidents of inefficiency and incompetence at executive levels – Brickdam lockup design poor; Charity Hospital roof caving in; original parking meter contract, etc; etc – but perhaps you have now a glimpse of the Bigger Picture. What of our future?
The principals of “free” education
They are of this dot.com generation. Being produced by professionals slightly older (forty-plus, near 60?). They are females in the majority. After CPCE graduation they need to continue the search for further qualifications at UG or elsewhere to position themselves for promotions. Even though they realise they can’t complete tuition of pupils and students in the normal five hours of the day, given the subjects offered by the curriculum which, in turn, is developed by the educators and examiners. Extra lessons seem a must, therefore.
So my friends, these young teachers of these days could hardly recapture the dedication, the vocation and the status of long-time Headmasters and dignified Headmistresses.
Yet, amidst all the technological assistance available in this era, I still pay tribute to those who turn to teaching. Problems are not the fault of these young teachers only. Name four authorities who must share the challenges. Discuss…
The PNC at 60 (Part 2)
I’ll postpone this topic ‘til next Friday but consider the following: when Forbes Burnham merged with the United Force (UF) to form the 1964 to 1966 to 1968 government he was appointed Premier in December 1964.
He also appointed himself Minister of Development and Planning – and Attorney-General! Eugene Correia was PNC and Minister of Communication and UF Leader D’ Aguiar, Minister of Finance.
Burnham’s PNC continued the system of proportional representation in the December 1968 elections. PNC moved from 22 seats to 30 and formed the 1969 to 1973 government alone! Electoral malpractices were alleged – or were real. (More next week)
Til next week!