Some lighter sides

The Annual, the Astor, the Authority

The murders, the rapes, the robberies, the corruption, the road fatalities, at the courts and hospitals mentally saturated, today I employ the escapist route, for relatively “lighter sides.”

So, for starters I invite young and old Guyanese poets, writers, artists, photographers, essayists, cartoonists, and oil and gas researchers/experts to get Interested now in the Guyana Annual 2018.

Students and younger Guyanese must familiarise themselves with the literary institution and tradition that is the Guyana Annual.

First named the Chronicle Christmas Annual, because that newspaper encouraged and funded the objective of encouraging and publishing the works of young writers (especially), the publication is now 101 years old. From just literary and journalistic works the magazine expanded to include photography and art work over the decades. Poets and short story-writers competed to win prizes in the then Christmas-time prestigious “Annual”.

The 2018 edition promises to be a revitalised landmark literary event. That’s because there are now 15 competitions offering more than one million dollars in prize money and the social media is now utilised both for information and accepting entries. This is a first.  Also, seven competitions will now carry the names of seven iconic stalwarts who graced their respective fields -from drama to photography. Closing date for entries is November 30.

Dr Singh, philanthropy – and oil

The annual has outlived other local literary endeavours mainly due to the creative generosity of native son Dr Tulsi Dyal Singh. A very proud Berbician from Fyrish/Palmyra, he became a prominent physician who moved to Midland, Texas USA. He knows the second George Bush who was President but he also became known for both funding and giving to charitable and creative causes in both the USA and Guyana.

But he also involved himself in the Texas Oil and Gas Sector for decades. As investor, Chairman of an Energy corporation, Director of Two Banks serving the American Oil and Gas sectors and President of a Petroleum Museum.

The 2018 Annual therefore now carries the “Tulsi Dyal Singh Oil and Gas Competition” with a first prize of $250,000!

I was appointed Editor in 1998 when Dr. Singh single-handedly-through Vic Insanally’s Guyenterprise – resuscitated the magazine. So much more next week. (Interested? Call Shamshun or Danielle at 22 69874)

The Poor Astor….

When they tore down the very, very old Astor Cinema Building on Church Street in the capital, they tore down a big bit of my childhood.

I grew up on the Church Street (Alberttown) went to all the churches and to the Astor (Pit 14 cents). As I did to Strand, Empire, Metropole and the nearby Globe of course. At the Astor I viewed scores of movies. We boys and girls of the fifties knew no TV, no Cellphone, no Computer, no Video Game, no “Social Media”. But we had Astor!

I saw 9 O’clock (a.m.) serials, “matinees”, I enjoyed Tarzan and Fu Manchu, Audie Murphy and Jeff Chandler. List endless! I saw Joe Solomon hit the wicket to create the first tied test in cricket. Pathe News showed us Balram Raghubir winning the Baton of Honour at Hendon Police College (UK) and countless short documentaries.

And oh! the international entertainers. I enjoyed Blues Busters, Sparrow, Byron Lee, Johnny Nash, Ben E. King, Habeeb Khan, Lord Canary and King Fighter. And somehow, I shook the fingers of Doris Troy. (“Just one look”) And would you believe? I got into Astor frequently by “poping”! Goodbye Astor.

By what authority?

If ever I mention that I must be in a church, a certain friend responds by saying that he will mobilise the media because that will be “a media event.”

Well I was indeed in the House of Prayer Episcopal/Anglican Church in New Jersey on a recent Sunday. One topic discussed was when the Chief Priests questioned Jesus about his “authority” to teach the people (Matthew 21: 23-32). Jesus engaged them art-fully.

Set me to thinking about our earthly “authorities”. By what and whose authority do governments govern? Elections? Half, three-quarters of the voting population? Do ministers discuss their policies and declarations with us? Is our so-called democracy inclusionary? Consultative? Discuss…

The PNC at 60 (Part 4)

I’ve decided to let the formal PNC 60th Anniversary events wind down this week-end before concluding my own personalized review next week. But how “United and Strong, 60 Years On” is the People’s National Congress today? Do you realize that our political parties  have more supporters than actual paid-up members? Who still go to group meetings?

Frankly Speaking, I remain intrigued by our political crossovers. Like when PPP ideologue Ranji Chandisingh actually became a PNC Minister and General Secretary. And PNC Ideologue Henry Jeffrey became a Cheddi Jagan PPP Senior Minister. I feel too I know when (my) PNC lost its way-beyond the rigging and when Desmond Hoyte sought manfully to salvage its fortunes. (Race politics did not offer him a chance!) Fully more next week)

Ponder well

Is our Big beautiful blighted Guyana God forsaken? What about Dominica, Saint Maarten, Barbuda, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and others hit by Natures’s Hurricanes? Does mankind “provoke” the climate? Discuss…

‘Til next week!

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