Why poverty? Why suffering? Whose government?

-His Excellency: the Supreme Executive Authority

-A taxi-driver on Jagdeo’s `powerlust

Leaving the obvious “issues of national significance” – poised to erupt (?) this week – I seek relief to ponder upon a question which impacts on the well-being of humankind.

I suppose since modern man evolved to the stage where his ever-growing numbers and presence demanded structural – and scientific – organisation for sustained existence, man’s ability to provide adequately was continuously challenged.

Population growth demands adequate resources and sensible, fair, equitable management of those resources. From family households to community councils to regional and national governments there is always need for provision of services. But mankind has never mastered that ability to offer its members full gratification commensurate to their varied needs. I suspect that even basic human needs are products of how societies developed classes, castes, discrimination (necessary or biased), ideologies, racism and religion.

Christianity – a leading collection of beliefs and faiths – managed to fashion a powerful religion. A great portion of today’s world embraces this interesting faith. So although I am not at all your usual believer, I’m always interested in what one of the world’s leading religions advise about today’s suffering, poverty, war, social conflicts, man-made and natural disasters. Christianity seems to be a religion which – tantalisingly – offers good, rich even happy everlasting “life”, depending on certain stringent conditions. But why so much ever present suffering?


Biblical reasons – and governments

In world literature and in the pantheon of religions the Christians’ Holy Bible holds its own as a source of everything to its believers. I’ve never developed intellectually enough to accept its status as an end-all-be-all reference for life and life’s vicissitudes. From creation to sin to salvation to glory! I apologise for that personal short-coming. (Years ago, through this column, I had appealed for education on just what/who is God. Believe it or not, not many volunteers were equipped to convince.

However there is something I admire about those distinctive Christians – the Jehovah Witnesses – when they seek to explain issues that befuddle me. Like why suffering even where there is plenty? Well in the first chapter of his epistle, James a staunch follower of God and Lord, advises that God tempts no one into evil. Assuming that you accept that the Bible’s records are authentic, you/we are told that man is “drawn away/enticed” by his own lust. Lust, we are advised, brings forth sin and – eventually – sin causes suffering, death!

A recurring theme – Zechariah, Psalms, Judges, Proverbs, Chronicles, Acts – stresses the Bible’s reassurances that God did not cause mankind’s suffering and is distressed by it, even promising to end it “soon”. (Matthew 6: 9-10). Well, just when is soon? How long more before both sinners and saved are rescued from (self-inflicted?) diseases, crime, poverty, natural disasters?

And are there not earthly governments around today that can exploit, manage, even trade countries’ resources to satisfy their peoples? Are most governments seduced by power, turning to self-aggrandisement mainly? I just read that a local civil society entity here is demanding more consultation before the Coalition fashions its Sovereign Fund to invest, save and “share” that which will accrue from oil after 2020. Boy-oh-boy. If you agree with the Christian Bible, we could be doomed to suffer for still some time. Because the sins warned about are plentiful within the rooms and corridor of governments! Discuss…

Guyana’s topmost authority!

If you are religious – as our Anglican President is – you recognise that there is only one universal authority over man – God Himself.

However in the earthly affairs of man – in our own Co-operative Republic – His Excellency is Guyana’s “Supreme Executive Authority!! And since this is apparently a season of constitutional study, I merely invite you all to contemplate Article 89: “There shall be a President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, who shall be Head of State, the Supreme Executive Authority, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic.”

Powerful words conveying both spirit and letter: Supreme, Executive and Authority. We might understand easily “Head-of-State” and “Commander-in-Chief”. But spare more time over “Supreme – Authority”. Man, when I observe His Excellency, the Brigadier – the Historian naming things, re-painting State House and “walling around” his Vlissengen Road office, I see authority. Authority that does not seem to be planning to move out any time soon! Ho-ho! Not a military mind using – and enjoying using “authority”?

Pouderoyen taxi-driver on Bharrat J

Roadside taxi-Indo-gentleman was so pleased to pick me up to take me to South Ruimveldt Park. Said he was a “fan”. Of the Cook-Up TV show, yes. But he also reads this column “a lot”. The dreaded question did come: “Wat you tink ’bout de No Confidence Vote and how Granger an he people and Bharrat dem behaving?”

I’m easily tired of the obvious these days but he told me about himself – hardworking,  a concerned father from Pouderoyen; won’t vote for Irfaan Ali. In his “heart” he will be PPP; but he won’t be voting whenever “de President decide de elections will be.”

As I feel these days, the fellow feels compromised with his PPP – its Presidential Candidate and “Jagdeo craving fuh mo power”. I was naughty. I asked him: “But why do you feel Jagdeo has this lust for power, control, authority?” Taxi-driver earnestly, animatedly listed his views about Mr Jagdeo. Never heard some of them! A sampling: “Bharrat doan need a cent to live. E not a faaduh like we. All expenses every month paid. Is de Russians he promise some a de oil! An Roger Khan coming to expose E inside story! (Even some a Granger men gun get skin up!) An Jagdeo did make a promise to top businessmen who did sponsor de party. E still need dem now fuh election, but E still owe them!!”

Naturally I could offer no agreement. But another “lecture” followed when I asked taxi-man how he knew all that. Discuss…


Your right to ponder…

1. After being elected, governments often decide that it’s prudent only for their experts and inner circle to know about agreements, contracts and negotiations.

After all, voters trusted them to use their taxes wisely. No scrutiny necessary now. Leave it to the wise!?

2. Just why are some still surprised/upset at His Excellency’s GECOM Chairman/foursome positions?

3. How’s the case against Ashni and Winston proceeding?

4.Departed luminaries Ramsahoye, De Santos and Fitzpatrick all once embraced the earlier PPP. Any minds like those still reside in today’s party?

5.Hello Attorney Leslie Anthony. Just letting you know I’m aware that those with honorary doctorates shouldn’t necessarily be addressed as “doctor”. Guess why I do it.

6.Hail the mother who refused millions! The Sophia rapist has been convicted. Poor but principled!

7.Little Tobago just opened its icon museum. Calypso Rose and Shadow inducted. What about our Canary-Rebel Calypso Centre?

’Til next week!


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