Could not more protests be dedicated to quality of life issues?

Dear Editor,

Protests are increasingly becoming the preferred ritual of the day.  It is good to see these manifestations of citizen rights and an associated vigour that was so distinctly lacking during the go-go days and years of taints and unspeakable tawdriness.  Now I delve a bit further.

I disagree with the parking meter people, yet I urge them to stand ground.  The key is durability.  I learn of parents protesting VAT on private education, and beseech them to get involved in the qualitative, as in what and how the children are doing during their school career.  I think of the protesting Wales sugar workers, and I urge them (and their leaders) to be sensible, as well as practical.  These three examples have been singled out for reference purposes only.

It is my position that protests are, when legitimate, a constitutionally sanctioned course of action, no matter how anathematic it might be to friends, neighbours and countrymen.  At the very least, much needed attention is drawn to perceived, and sometimes real, issues and injustices.  But as I write this, there is the concern that protests (and protesters) are slowly gaining the tinge, and attracting the curse of a professional apparatus.  As I watch some instances of these public exercises, I wonder why there are so few genuinely poor people in the midst; a grassroots origin appears to be palpably absent.

On too many occasions, the media coverage is about people focused on matters that have roots in money: that is, spending, or not receiving.  Now that is a sacred right best not curtailed or squeezed in any way.  Still, it would be gratifying to observe more protests dedicated to quality of life issues and holding each other’s feet to the flame.

Examples that come to mind include 1) protesting before City Hall – undesired roads and undesired leadership, for starters; 2) protesting before the Ministry of Public Security –lower/increase that curfew to midnight, I like 10 o’clock better; 3) protesting before the Ministry of Finance (and the GRA) –shout and cry over the deluge of tax charges levied all at once; 4) protesting before admired media houses – stop manufacturing or manipulating facts and opinions; 5) protesting before the Traffic Department – eliminate rank and file lethargy and disconnection from the lawlessness on the roads; and 6) protesting before Freedom House – ask the man not to run again, inestimably bad for the country.

Since there are no dollars involved, these could be hard sells to a populace beginning to suffer from protest fatigue.  But come to think of it, the last example, that one about not running for another term is, indeed, money oriented.

Last, the protesting class (it is that, and it is rarely of the working kind) must be careful that it is not dismissed as the antics of the idle, the white-gloved, and those in love and yearning for the extravagances of yesteryear.  This would attract that terrible label: ‘Protests R Us!’  Or have time, will travel.  Any one of these will defeat any good cause and intention.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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