In twelve days’ time – if I make it – I complete another year into my seventies. All spent in this Big, Beautiful Blighted green land- Guyana.
Ignoring entreaties, opportunities, offers and invitations – inclusive of Forbes Burnham’s valid refusal to allow me to teach for three years in Kaunda’s Zambia– I chose to spend my entire life in this land of my Birth. (Not even “bright” enough to go away for years to “study”.)
I realise now that there were/are strong mixed reasons for that decision: (i) seems obvious now that I was not ambitious enough to be motived to seek financial betterment somewhere overseas; (I watched professional friends uplift/uproot whole families to “flee” the stagnation politics here); I was lazy to study for foreign acceptance and employment; I had/still have this fierce Pride not to be a guest citizen in other folks’ homeland(s) and I’m Guyanese to the bone! Perhaps that’s one reason I’m still in debt due to personal local mismanagement. But no embassy here could fear that I’ll ever inhabit their land. For more than a few weeks – if that long.
Now, the foregoing paragraphs, I’ve decided, give me the right to be critical of the management of this Guyana and its resources over the past six decades and to describe this land I love in unflattering terms from time to time. As my caption above does today.
Narcotics Guyana Inc.
I bet it is both a source of shame and pain for those of us- especially us seniors over 50 and 60 and 70- who have stayed on here throughout the period, fifties to now, to witness the start and evolution of the narcotics “industry” in this green, once-innocent land.
Beginning during the administration of previous governments our youth now are familiar with the presence and trafficking of cannabis, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, etc. We oldsters know only of “Mannie and his shilling ganja.” Just behold today’s headlines: “$11.2B worth of drugs seized last year, Big cocaine bust in Waini River, Four acre ganja farm destroyed -over 200 lbs of dried cannabis found.” Of course in 2017 high profile cases involving coke in lumber, plywood, all sorts of cover were reported. Few high-profile convictions are being recorded however little couriers with the drugs hidden or diluted in foodstuff, hammocks and luggage are prosecuted. They are the sardines. But where are the sharks?
We have to accept that this land is now an economic trans-shipment location. Cannot the crack sleuths fashion strategies to stem the flow from the origins. No will? Conspiracy? Collusion? I am of the view that His Excellency is steadfast to reduce the tentacles of the pervasive trade. He has now CANU, Police and GRA narcotics agencies – as well as an overarching National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA).
Don’t they know who has the wherewithal – meaning resources like liquid cash, ability to hire couriers and bribe villagers; experts to build submersibles, owners of lumber, rice etc – and engage aircraft? I guess the battle has to be funded and sustained by honest, corruption-proof operatives. Enough available? Hey! What about the DEA?
The DEA – What’s up in G.T.?
The American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was established in mid-1973 by President Richard – Tricky Dicky – Nixon. Over 45 years its purpose has been expanded significantly. Like the FBI it is there to “combat drug-smuggling and use within the USA”. It is the lead agency for “enforcement of the (American) Controlled Substance Act.” But the DEA is also responsible “for co-ordinating and pursuing US drug investigations abroad.”
It seeks continuously to break … foreign sources of supply of drugs into the US. So that is why the DEA has a modest office in Georgetown. Under Doctors Jagdeo and Luncheon they had to operate out of Trinidad. Why?
Anyhow US Ambassador Holloway is himself an anti-narcotics specialist but the question is: how are the Americans helping our agencies in terms of identifying cocaine supply, repackaging and export? Are the DEA’s hands tied where they see few prosecutions and convictions of the real big local barons? Discuss…
Oil-rich? Oil-wealth? For whom?
We are less than one million living souls now residing within the borders of our green land Guyana. So with all these lucrative oil wells being discovered we could be described as “oil-rich” in a few years. Right? You feel so?
Will the oil wealth filter down to those in need the most? For scholarships as in Trinidad and Tobago? For subsidies for the old and needy? For employment programmes from new industries? To His Excellency’s credit, he proposed a Sovereign Wealth Fund very early on. The most appropriate, well-structured Wealth-Fund mechanism should ensure lasting, well invested, well-managed oil savings on our behalf. Can oil-and-minerals boss man Trotman and his retinue of experts guarantee us the benefits of our patrimony? Discuss…
The NIS – prayers and faith
Two introductory points up front: (i) it seems that – Frankly Speaking – I’ll be personally upset with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) for a long time to come; Why? Because their formula for calculating their Old Age Pensions allows me – who has paid contributions from 1969 – to receive only a minimum “small-piece”. Even as I sit with buddies receiving eighty to 90-plus thousands monthly. Poor me. And (ii) the patient soft-spoken NIS pensioner-lady did tell me the following: “Mr Fenty, whenever I need/have to come here to this NIS building, I say extra prayers before I come.”
She said it’s to secure faith and patience to understand and respond to the less-than-customer-friendly staff. Especially at Brickdam. Now I had helpful friends – senior and junior – around the NIS. So yet I understand my female fellow NIS pensioner. (You need “NIS friends”!)
You do need patience at that place. Seniors like Edgar Heyligar, Norman McLean, (even Minister Harmon’s secretary) who have served thousands for years have to become humble at Brickdam or Camp Street – throughout the Regions (?) – as they/we wait on little young ladies born yesterday. God help and bless the NIS…
1. The ranks claimed that they “negotiated to give the woman $10,000 each to have sex with them.” In the station’s rooms?
2.Would NIS workers who deal with the public and Public Servants generally improve their attitudes if they receive better pay? Or would they become even more haughty and distant?
3. Tell me not of the influence of narcotics or temporary insanity. Why would a grown man sexually assault a 5/6 year old? (Think up the best penalty for an adult so convicted.)
’Til next week!