This country needs some shaking up

Dear Editor,

I observe the local muckraking circus, and it becomes very clear that it cannot be accurately described as a fringe any more, be it lunatic or otherwise.  As things go, this is a growth industry with aggressive startups joining the seasoned players in an otherwise stagnant cerebral environment.  Even though there are nuggets of the probing and basis in a few representations, it is really startling for such a small society to house so many unbalanced characters strutting unconcernedly in the midst.

A chief minister of the government falls seriously ill, and a newspaper finds it fit and proper (and normal and civilized) to mock his sickness.  That is more than yellow coverage and beyond a blue film; it is the depths of insanity of a most pathetic kind.  It is not just conduct unbecoming, but also embarrassing.  How low is low?  And as if that was not low enough, some decided to pour vinegar by questioning the welcoming.  Clearly, more and more in this land are losing senses and surrendering to baser impulses.  I think Guyanese can do better. In the future, it is best advised to send a get-well card (not Hall-mark) and a publicly operated minibus.  Cost savings are sure to be recorded, and especially if roadside passengers are picked-up along the way back to George-town.  In summary: every day marbles are lost in this country, and it is not children losing them.

Next, there was the incredible through the hilarity of the head cop approving and issuing his own licensing.  I thought that something was wrong with my head, but when I read of such developments I am reduced to shaking my noggin; it is not up and down.  When I learn of the justification that it was based on the many precedents from before, there is the conclusion that too many head cases are around; I cannot recall when the enduring practice of a palpable wrong converts it into a solid (maybe constitutional) right.  This is some country!

In this same country, the media functions as its window to the world.  At times, it can be a murky screeching one, all wood and nails and little brightness. On this score, Stabroek News (Guyana’s most trusted newspaper; more to come later on that one) is better geared to be in the fashion designing and exterior decoration callings.  Look away for a moment and the colour scheme has changed for the online edition; I must check the paper version to see if that occurs.  Turn a page, and the powers in the house had gone and dabbled into structural reform through rearranging.  I humbly recommend sticking to the usual sober journalism, while leaving frills and presentation to the others; the newspaper business is not a food court, with shiny menus required. In the next instance, I have to hand it the other legitimate (barely so) outfit: it is one yearlong carnival of the raucous and indecorous; the self-serving and self-anointed; and the usual axe-grinders and incendiary device inventors.  It is a teeming colony, where those boys will be boys (in the media hood, no doubt) and say the unsayable.  It is a daily brawl (and in a foreign language too).  This has to be the media version of parliament.  Then again, it could be: have pharmaceuticals, will write.  Talk about the rite stuff.  As if to confirm gender bias and misogynistic credentials there are the daily incarnations of self-declared male journalistic voyeurism.  This is more than media titillation; it is pulp masochism.  The other fellows are agreeable, but only if one has the constitution for rabidity.

Moving along from newspaper fetishes to fish lore, some people in government lost their head and fell overboard with that catfish ban. This emphasizes an oft-repeated contention: the lunatics manage the asylum named Guyana.  To share how far things have progressed in marine matters, I know someone hauling prawns on an outgoing northbound flight, who was questioned at CBJ International as to where they were going with that.  I cannot remember anyone (even the institutionalized) failing to differentiate between a shrimp and gillbacker.  This is combining lunacy with imbecility and ending up with stupidity of the worst sort.  When does this madness stop!  Best wishes to the tourism department.

Editor, it is time for sugar: nowadays everyone cries for sugar workers.  I don’t care what National Geographic says: crocodiles are not an endangered species here, and certainly not the political ones.  Still, I have this gem of a suggestion to table (yes, self-congratulatory): over a century ago, Motilal Nehru gave up his ducal digs to serve as a facility for those less blessed. Breast-beating political bigshots here can follow suit by putting their half-a-billion palatial premises on the block and donating the proceeds to suffering sugar workers. That would be an unmatchable sign of one dedicated to identifying with and aiding his people.  That is what real leaders do, instead of endlessly slinging mud. This might be speaking to a wall: for there are schools of thought that associate hair loss with brain deficits.

For those about to give up hope, all is not lost in the search for sanity in this roasted sward of contested territory.  Guyanese can now proudly preen that they have progressed from the regional slur of ‘mudheads’ to a vibrant society of oilheads. Talking heads, that is.  There are supertankers overloaded with them floating around. They are volatile; they are inflammatory; and they possess very high AKIs (anti-knock indexes).  Just ask the government.  They are literary and literally viscous; the government will readily agree. Jesus walked on water; the hometown prophets float on fossil. For those thinking Dead Sea, think again: it is more like dead cells, as in brain cells.  It is time to reinforce doors and bring out the straitjackets.  Some sodium pentothal (truth serum) should help. And when all else fails, there is always that wonder drug: rubber truncheons. This country needs some shaking up along its descent to the dogs.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

Around the Web