Thinking, already, about the next general election

In a vibrant democracy elections should be a cause for celebration, an ever welcome occasion regularly marking the successful outcome of what in any country’s history has always been a long struggle to overcome authoritarian, and often brutal, rule.

In Guyana, sadly, elections are not a cause for celebration but instead have become occasions of fear and increased tension and incivility and foreboding. Elections are not so much a time when democracy is celebrated as it is a time when democracy is dangerously put to the test.

Already, astonishingly, nearly three years before the next general election, I find people worrying about it – concerned about what on earth the delay in appointing a Chairman of Gecom is all about, worried that the prospect of an oil bonanza will sharpen tensions further between the two ‘sides,’ suspicious in some quarters that rigging in some form is  contemplated and even now being plotted. All this is terrible for the nation which needs such fears like it needs knives in its heart…..


Beware the self-righteous

One of the worst aspects of the self-righteous is that those most guilty of it most vociferously deny that they are guilty at all.

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It is tragic to see a great nation bringing itself to its knees.

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In a long life I have on a number of occasions been asked to address various groups graduating from school or university or making the transition from one stage of life to another – for instance, new recruits in a company or first-time members of a national sports team.

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What poetry teaches

I find it difficult to convince friends – or anyone – that poetry is worth reading.

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Travelling by the book

My tutor at Cambridge, Professor Nick Hammond, authority on the history of ancient Macedonia and on the life of Alexander the Great, used to coach me on what he called “exercises of the mind.” He knew I played tennis for the university and he put it to me that just as I trained hard for the tennis so should I stretch to exhaustion the muscles of the mind.

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