Dreaming of constructive co-existence in 2018

… As we stop fooling ourselves

How criminal enterprise pays

Some may recall that I did a somewhat provocative piece a few months ago challenging the usage – and aspirations – found in our national motto. You know the words, the declaration, the hype and the hope about “One People, One Nation, One Destiny”?

If you are an honest matured citizen you will agree with me that constitutions and national mottos are largely aspirational. Most times, as in Guyana’s case and reality, they constitute ideals longed for but hardly ever achieved.

I still argue that whilst we Guyanese can constitute a nation by being born here, that “nationality” is also woefully missing the “unity”, “oneness” or cohesion that genuine nations actually possess. And frequently exhibit. I continue to submit that we must stop fooling ourselves about being “one people”. Nonsense! Even our iconic Dave Martins agreed with elements of my (not-so-popular) thesis months ago. Recognize and accept our justified diversity and differences. Then concoct situations and relationships to make deviations and unlike-forces actually cohere. People at the “bottom” – perhaps guided by the Constitution and/or governmental policies – can bring about collective, constructive co-existence by themselves. Even as our Cohesion Ministry attempts events and programmes to showcase some elusive “oneness”. Existence in peace. “Love” later.

Ironically, I still hold the view that, Frankly Speaking, we are not as polarised a people as our politicians make us out to be. (Some of them actually promote social/political polarisation.) Our varied groups attend schools, hospitals, churches, eat, play, watch sports and go to concerts together. Hardly probable in real “polarised” societies like Iraq, Ireland, Kashmir, Northern Nigeria, even Venezuela. Politics and divisive leaders aside, Guyanese who are now suffering together can co-exist and produce for the common good. Even for Minister Jordan’s “Good Life”.


Productive “cohesion” in 2018?

Now would you believe that all the foregoing was merely context for my own wishes and hopes as outlined below?

Can’t Guyana fashion a powerful, influential Civil Society Movement to coerce political leaders to collaborate more? Our Civil Society players here are themselves either compromised, co-opted or outrightly political or mere “fronts”. (Two/three years ago a Dr Phillip Mozart Thomas attempted a grand programme to co-ordinate a unified Civil Society movement before he himself flattered to deceive. Really deceive!)

Some may argue that an organization like the Private Sector Commission is comprised by many businessmen that Dr Jagdeo “assisted” considerably. So their impartiality might be suspect. Our Trades Union Congress and its rival FITUG do not command a-political citizens’ respect. Our churches are fanciful at best. Burgeoning Civil Society groupings must lay bare the agendas for the people this year.

I dream of two or three beverage manufacturers taking over one or two sugar estates to retain the devastated workers. I dream that Oppositionists like Dr Anthony, Czarina, Gail, Jenny Westford and Les Ramsammy would offer to contribute to some specific initiatives by government. (What? That latter will remain a dream?)

For the sake of our sporting youth, can’t some respected broker bring together the rival representatives in cricket and football? Couldn’t there be some role for the parliamentary opposition in overcoming flaws in the oil – and – gas agreements?  After all, is it not this sovereign wealth intended to redound to the benefit of all our people? However they voted?

Finally for now, I hope that His Excellency will guide himself and his assistants away from extra-constitutional activities and will walk the extra mile to try for more consensus with his numerous appointments in the coming months. What’s your list of hopes? And dreams?


How criminal enterprise pays

So who says that “crime does not pay” these days? That might have been so in my youth. But just reflect upon a news item appearing in the Kaieteur News just a few days ago. Captioned “It pays to steal from your employer…” the piece emphasized that even the fines magistrates are obliged to impose on certain convicted fraudsters are way below what they were found guilty of stealing.

Another editorial–type input into the news item about repeated losses through thefts endured by one company, reads thus: “with the recent moves to reduce prison overcrowding, first-time offenders are getting away scot-free thanks to ancient laws and (current) reforms at the prison-system level”. Frankly Speak-ing, to me that observation is accurately profound.

We also have a well-intentioned President. His Excellency wants to see certain thieves “in school” and not penalised in prison. My-oh-my. Victims also “give up” because of prolonged court time. Even soldiers and policemen found to be culpable of serious wrong-doing are merely dismissed – with no criminal prosecution.

Added to all the above is the skills and techniques of top-flight attorneys who successfully defend (guilty) offenders who cause fatal traffic accidents or who rape even minors. Legal technicalities afford “justice” for perpetrators while victims endure perhaps life-long despair. Incidentally, just how should such victims or their survivors access justice? Outside the courts of law? Discuss…


Ponder this year…

1) The leading WPA think-tank spokesman Dr D. Hinds got it all accurately in his assessment of the politics and consequences of the two party behemoths in 2017.

1B) Who can recall the late President LFS Burnham in his very, very, green GNS uniform? Bet His Excellency does!

2) “Christmas” in Kopinang (Region 8) saw local chicken going at $800.00 a pound and sugar at $300.00. What “Christmas”? Floods in the Canals too. Let’s remember our less fortunate citizens at this time.

2B) Did the respected Dr Clive Thomas play any role in the oil-and-gas agreement?

3) Does Christmas 2017 end today or tomorrow?

Til next week!


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