If my regular readers discover that these comments are recycled from 2013 and last February (2017), they are absolutely accurate. But it is not an example of my occasional journalistic laziness. The fact is that these thoughts are always relevant to our Republic anniversary celebration in this month of February.
First of all, our youth must be educated about the fact that the 1763 Berbice year-long rebellion led by house slave Kofi against the Dutch colonisers and slave masters in the colony of Berbice preceded the successful Haitian slave uprising and the American War of Independence which was won in 1776.
Isn’t that something of significance? To be proud about? That it is in our portion of the Americas and the Caribbean that the struggle for liberty and human dignity was initiated? I again respectfully submit that it was the same thirst, the same Spirit which drove both our Kofi and America’s Thomas Jefferson to pursue freedom from bondage, imposed (curiously) by Europeans – the Dutch and the British.
It was Jefferson – who allegedly favoured coloured girls – who headed the American congressional rebellion against British’s King George III and the English colonisers. Jefferson and his American patriots wrote about British tyranny and “the right of a people to alter and abolish destructive governments – a justification for revolution!” Jefferson is usually regarded as the author of the Independence Declaration.
Noteworthy it took independent America 78 years to free its African/American slaves. Abraham Lincoln was President then and led the way by freeing his own slaves
Kofi, the rebel statesman
Both Chedd Jagan and Forbes Burnham embraced the sentiments of the 1763 revolution. Both leaders named their ideological schools after 1763 Rebel leaders. Significantly, our students should know that freedom fighter Kofi who led fellows like Atta, Accabreh, Akara, Goussarl sought to negotiate a Donald- Trump-like “deal” with this adversary the Dutch Governor Van Hoogenheim. Kofi wanted less bloodshed so he wrote the wily Governor.
“I have learned from your honour that (you) the Lord Governor is not the cause of this war, but this we know… planters and directors are the cause of this war as they have severely mistreated the people and have treated them to floggings and whippings beyond tolerable limits. We could not bear that any longer as we do know that God is God who rewards good and punishes evil…”
Just consider the tone and morality of that correspondence amidst pitched battles. Later letters to Van Hoogenheim suggested peaceful partition whereby the slaves would occupy upriver locations as independents.
So, once again I suggest that along with the costumes, music and dance, history lessons should feature in this anniversary month.
Venezuelan Guyanese, American jobs
The fellows at my Recreational Table really waxed warm the other evening. On issues of Venezuelan consequences and American accommodation. So just to provoke your own views, these snippets.
Consequent upon the current raging socio-economic and political crises in Venezuela our western continental neighbour, hundreds of persons of Guyanese parentage but born in those border communities of Venezuela will want to relocate back into Guyana. They are both Venezuelan and Guyanese citizens. The parents are nationals. How should the children be treated? Teach them our culture and loyalty? Discuss…
As I was backing President Trump’s policy of merit-based immigration and bans on refugees because I see an influx taking away jobs from American minorities, my East Orange, New Jersey friend cautioned and lectured me.
He said that there will always be certain levels of employment available for (even) unskilled immigrants. Why? Because there are hundreds of thousands of minorities in jails across America and there are certain low-level jobs that both white and Afro Americans will never do. So, let the immigrants in, my friend argued (?). Discuss…
Our GPL: Has the world failed it?
For much more than twenty years I’ve been privileged to assist Guyenterprise Advertising Agency with certain Public Relations projects. Oh, I’ve learnt so much! On the job, so to speak. From Solid Waste Management to Beal Aerospace to Barama Manufacturing to the issuance of Machine Readable Passports or new Traffic Lights, I benefited.
So, it was a thrill in (around) August 1999 to study and publicise the privatisation of the Guyana Electricity Corporation (GEC) into the brand-new Guyana Power and Light (GPL Inc.)
Power players then included P.M. Sam Hinds, Privatisation Unit Head Brassington and of course, Mr Jagdeo. I did an extensive supplement titled “Let there be light!”
I keep wondering these days whether one national curse determines that we – less than a million souls – will never enjoy daily sustained electrical power. Even in this 21st century?
I have implored all the presidents since Hoyte to let their legacy include light!
The English CDC, the Irish ESBI, the Scandinavian Wartsila, Canadians, South Koreans, now a Jamaican. Even the world will give up on GPL?
- Are we a failed state? No! Not yet. But coming close to failing? Can’t negotiate a suitable contract? If there is no vision, no new GPL CEO, no new Mayor or Police Commissioner, no new Minister of Tourism will succeed.
- There will be some strong, fit singing contestants at this weekend’s Mashramani eliminations. A few are competing at Lethem, Linden and Bartica. The art forms! The prize money!
- Is the word “Africa” an African word?
‘Til next week?