All before the oil-and-gas jubilee elections

One million for little Sunil’s life?

Sexual misconduct: America and the Third World

This humble column hereby lays claim to directing national attention – some two years ago – to the fact that the 2020 General Elections will attract some robust characteristics.

Like this grassroots columnist, even the more sophisticated commentators and analysts could have anticipated context and quite imminent characterisations.

 Because the year 2020 has been earmarked for what is described as “First Oil” – when Exxon’s wells actually produce quantities of our top-quality crude-oil, measured in “barrels.” 2020, as I long reminded, will be the 50th Anniversary of our becoming a Republic. In other words another Golden Jubilee! As in 2016. Won’t His Excellency want to generate another celebratory “good-feelings” splurge in February of that year? Perhaps with inputs from ExxonMobil and other Oil Companies? Man! I’m hoping to be around. To see how the electorate will vote. Can’t you all imagine the “national sweeteners” that could be made available to the populace? Especially the electorate? But what’s happening in the Republic right now? Fifteen months before 2020? Let’s check.


Right now, before 2020

Our qualified analysts will dissect and pronounce on the political landscape. That’s welcome. Especially when the analyses are imbued with commonsense, reality and a few insights gleaned from their “political science”.

But here’s my man-in-the-street, layman’s take: His Excellency’s GECOM Chairman will command a spotlight. Whether he likes it or not. Because between him and Honourable Bulkan, Minister of His Excellency’s “communities”, issues related to November’s Local Elections will attract attention continuously. Justifiably, the major opposition, as well as other groups competing in November, will steer national attention to related issues – even as the law courts will be involved.

Important as November’s elections will be I anticipated that His Excellency’s Coalition will have to demonstrate maximum productive dexterity to make the economy satisfy its citizens. I mean quality-of-life realities and industrial relations must be addressed. I can see His Excellency engaging the business community directly. Ways will also be found to “fast-forward” international assistance. Note now: the South Africans want to build a refinery; the Chinese top Foreign Minister is with us this week and Trinidad was never so close. The oil-and-gas magnet will attract the world ceaselessly. How will that attention benefit all of us? Including the teachers, sugar workers, unemployed?

Politically, Dr Jagdeo will be hyper with his divide-and-prevail tactics. Frankly Speaking he has been scoring points all around the wicket recently. So do not be too surprised if His Excellency uncharacteristically reshuffles his cabinet. Some Ministers could be “redeployed” to make way for fresh faces with new ideas. Despite the fact that His Excellency loves to flaunt stability within his Administration right now.

Finally for now, I see the issue of land allocation for certain categories of the dispossessed emerging. Even as SOCU and SARA-related prosecution yield minimal – though sensational results. How do you see the next fifteen months? Will Georgetown attract any make-over?


A million for Sunil’s life…

Seven-year-old Sunil Sukhnandan was struck down dead by a female driver two Thursdays ago. The driver was released on $75,000.00 station bail whilst the police investigate(d) further. They want to ascertain who was at fault. Sunil’s sister was critically injured too. Eyewitnesses suggested that the driver was speeding excessively. Amidst the tragedy for the poor family who occupies a shack, the Sunday Stabroek reported that the family was offered one million dollars to settle the matter out of any court. Traffic Chief still said that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a determination.

Now if it is accurate that compensation was offered to the poor parents immediately, that suggests an admission of guilt. Or is the driver being altruistic even though Sunil might have erred?

For years I wished to state this: even after accused persons offer or actually pay compensation, they should be charged, tried and penalised appropriately if found guilty. Rape by prominent persons will never cease if poor victims accept compensation only. Who determined that Sunil’s little life was worth one million? Any life?

Defence attorney will no doubt argue that once compensation is accepted the defendant shouldn’t be punished twice. No wonder I don’t understand, can’t accept some judicial “remedies”.


Sexual misconduct in various societies

About two decades ago – or more – sexual harassment allegations were made against an African-American judge nominated for America’s powerful Supreme Court.  Those televised hearings of that time made us – the fellows at the GPSU New Garden Street Club – realise that West Indian and Guyanese men could be prosecuted every day for the loose cavalier enthusiasms we dole out to our females – especially at the work-place. Quite innocently! Touching, hugging, ribald language did not go down well with American ladies since then. It was an Afro-lady who accused the Afro-judge.

Today a “White” professional lady is accusing White Supreme Court-nominee, Judge Kavanaugh, of worse than sexual harassment. Allegedly, the judge, when a teenager, attacked a teenage girl in a bedroom. He has now denied that. But America is once again awash with the sexual-misconduct-by-the-mighty debate.

My question is: could not the judge have changed profoundly over his last 40-plus years? Even if he was guilty, as alleged? Did not President Clinton leave a booming economy after being guilty of sexual mischief in the White House?

Frankly Speaking, America seems to be relegating ability and accomplishment to nothing whenever the accomplished is found to be morally reprehensible. What mountainously-high standards!

In truth those standards are great for a just society, but can humankind measure up? Even the judges, the House, the Senate, the Parties who pass judgement?

In relatively naughty Third World societies – African, Asia, Latin American – where corruption holds sway, who is to judge? Especially on sexual misconduct? Laws are available but in these hick towns thousands “get off”. For a myriad of reasons.

By the way, how would His Excellency respond to sexual harassment by a Cabinet member here?


Ponder …

1) Many, many did not like the seawall site for the 1823 Monument. Many, many do not like the Palmyra site for the Indian Arrival Monument.

2)  This Monday’s Kaieteur News carried a naughty letter with serious allegations against my batchmate Minister Scott. Naughty! Why so public?

3)  Then there was this government critic who called to tell me that a young government minister is building a “Jagdeo-like” house in Eccles? So?

’Til next week!

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