Why I never turned into a thief

Grandmother, God-and “licks”

Dr Jagdeo’s LCDS, the Brigadier’s GSDS

Perhaps I do bore some of my regulars by pledging that “this will be my most brief yet.” (See, I wasted one whole sentence above.)

But because this social issue easily attracts many pages I shall try hard to be succinct. And, quickly, readers will see how I have personalised the issue to – hopefully – make my point. Even though my perspective and conclusions are from generations past.

Simply put, I am supporting an Annie Baliram who was moved to write a letter responding to Dr Mark Devonish, a British Guyanese who has obviously decided to join appropriate debates engendered locally. Baliram advised Dr Devonish that “the majority of Guyanese never fell into crime even though Guyana is poverty-stricken.” I think “poverty-stricken” is a little harsh, but I write to endorse her sentiments about old-time morality in the midst of familial and community need.

She really dwelt at length with the ability of the mind to try to overcome poverty without resorting to thievery, other crime and corruption. She also wrote about moralistic approaches and dysfunctional families of today. All that was to make the point to the UK-based Guyanese – who himself claims to have lifted himself out of Guyana’s poverty years ago – that just “giving ghetto youths a ladder” to empower themselves will not prevent them from committing crime. She was hinting at the “get-rich-quick” syndrome wherein our current dot.com generation sees crime being enacted at the highest levels.

She noted tellingly that government politicians (especially) do not speak out against crime these days.

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“Granmuddah,” God and me

I don’t normally reveal my own youth of need growing up in Alberttown/Bourda. And I won’t start now. Except to tease with the unfortunate fact that in the fifties, my old red grandmother used to drag me along as she did washing-and-ironing jobs supplemented by begging. Yes, begging! In the vicinity of Georgetown’s Cenotaph and further afield.

But never did that salted-fish-and-rice poverty motivate any thoughts of stealing in me. I suppose one major reason is that I and my neighbourhood “gang” had very modest dreams and ambitions. My gang “stole” only genips, dunks and mangoes in alley “raids.” Then again, none of my friends – the Armstrongs, the Browns, the Williams, the Ramdyhans, the Sancharras etc – ever turned to thievery in our youth.

Of course, okay, we had no television, computers, Facebook, etc., to influence our needs and wants.

Grandmother held up God as one who sees and knows even if we stole a penny; bad consequences would befall us. That convinced me. Added to the fact that I attended religious spaces galore – Anglican, Roman Catholic, Assemblies of God, Seventh Day Adventists, the big Church Street mosque, Ethiopian Orthodox et al.

Add to all the above that fact that there was no debate about corporal punishment – in school or community. Certain boyhood transgressions attracted “licks like peas”. The lashes burnt so many fellows never became petty recidivists. To this day my four daughters and I never contemplate thievery to satisfy needs. What a bygone era!

The LCDS, the GSDS

I know so well that our striking teachers, other working class folks and many students care not about any LCDS or GSDS.

But give Dr Bharrat his (rare) due: he catapulted Guyana onto the world’s climate change stage with his LCDS – Low Carbon Development Strategy. The Norwegians were enthusiastic with support as Guyana committed to preserving forests and lessening carbon footprints. But the LCDS still managed to exhibit flaws even as the United Nations recognized Dr Jagdeo. Opposition groups, Amerindian reps and the Norwegians themselves identified short-comings to be addressed.

Then came His Excellency’s GSDS – Green State Development Strategy. His Excellency has established state structural support to promote and implement this strategy. Three (3) main pillars recommended this developmental plan – social, economic and environmental. There will be significant shifts to generating cheap electric power for example. A former Rear-Admiral is spearheading this thrust. It must be taught in schools. And you don’t have to wear green or paint your house in that colour.

Ponder well…

I’m doing okay – Volda won and now the Food and Drugs folks will get modernistic upgrades.

What’s taking so long? Chairman Paul to recommend Unbribable Paul?

Now that Dr Comrade Van West-Charles has moved back to his PNC when will Comrade Raphael follow?

This 2018 “Summuh” saw lots of friends holidaying in the US displaying the visits on Facebook.

So Summuh!

Is today the final day in the long and distinguished journalistic career of Godfrey Wray?

One quotable quote: “If members want to eat food, they can go across by the Stabroek Market where there are some tasty cook-shops inside the market. If they want to consume alcohol there is a well-stocked bar across the road from Parliament.”

’Til next week

(allanafenty@yahoo.com)

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