-Miss Chantoba Bright: Sport as National Development
From early to mid-December, 2018, the Coalition was supremely confident in their numbers to easily scuttle Mr Jagdeo’s (No) Confidence Motion.
General Secretary Amna challenged Jagdeo to “bring it on”. And First Vice-President Nagamootoo sternly rebuked the mover: “No postponement to January 2019!” After the now-historic vote count was taken the Honourable Esteemed Speaker and his Assembly’s Clerk declared that the Opposition’s 33 votes had defeated the Coalition’s 32 and the Motion stood as carried. Shortly thereafter both His Excellency and His First Vice-President Comrade Moses accepted defeat and committed to the consequences.
Hours after, to me Frankly Speaking, the Charrandass consequences really sunk in. And minds changed equally swiftly. Charrandass’ vote then ushered in – to Guyana – constitutional and judicial mathematics. (To this day I ponder what would have happened had “the other two” voted along with the AFC’s Charrandass!)
The following paragraphs recount, in my usual simplified style, all that Charrandass caused.
Charrandass’ consequences,unsettled dust
The most obvious result of the AFC/Attorney’s “conscience” vote was/in the dual citizen issue. Smiles and perhaps understandings must attend those who are reluctant to abandon their “other” citizenships. Alternative residences, earnings and foreign opportunities are at stake. Especially if local politics delivers electoral losses. See how Mr Charrandass caused shuffling of positions of power?
But guess what? I am in sympathy with Minister Gaskin. Dominic the gentleman was born in Britain. Not at all his fault! And he chose to live and work here in the land of his parents. I’m therefore pleased to know that, at least, he has a well-positioned father-in-law.
The Charrandass vote now has many Caribbean governments, parliaments and judiciaries waiting to see whether the Caribbean Court will decide that 34 is indeed the absolute majority even though Guyana’s Constitution does not state “absolute” when it simply could have. Professor Errol Miller seems to be reminding the Court that if it rules “34” our Parliament should therefore boast 66 or 67 members!
Mr Persaud’s vital vote evoked the sustained venom of folks within his party – now itself fighting for relevance and survival as its principals still enjoy status and opportunity – and from expected PNC sources. From whatever perspective he may be judged, he has precipitated early election campaigning as many in power seek to “solidify” their “opportunities.”
And, in fact, Charrandass caused two judges to favour 33 (the CJ and Justice Rishi) and two to favour 34: Justices Barnes and Cummings.
Now you tell me three other consequences Charrandass facilitated. And by the way, if you or your aunty just received a long, long awaited houselot from the government’s current “outreaches” – thank Charrandass!
Economic crimes – here, elsewhere
First, a light-hearted anecdote of basic fact. During the earliest days of Forbes Burnham’s Guyana National Service (GNS), a well-known, good-natured captain of a GNS boat caused it to be seriously damaged on a trip from Kimbia along the Berbice River.
Usually reliable rumour has it that either Director Joe Singh or Desmond Roberts told the Captain, “Anchor” Benn: “Captain, the GNS will surcharge you for this damage.” That fine would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars but “Anchor” Benn was much loved and valued in the old GNS.
I am told that in China there is no room for humour when any level of worker is found guilty of somehow causing the state expenses or losses financially. Economic crimes there attract harsh, sometimes life-long penalties. I imagine workers there are now extra responsible and professional.
The foregoing was evoked when I heard the colossal cost-overruns and evident malpractices surrounding the new blighted CJ Airport project. (Something similar happened under Panday in Trinidad.) Now we are saddled with the Skeldon sugar facility, numerous State buildings, roads and other national infrastructure poorly done over the years. Just add up those billions lost with little or no hope of recompense.
So my simple but provocative question to those better-positioned to explain, is: besides contractual agreements with relevant clauses, do we have laws to guarantee early pay-back, immediate compensation with contractors and companies who waste our millions?
And isn’t your patience and expectations with respect to SOCU and SARA at rock-bottom?
After the Games, Chantoba’s future
Many columns ago, I recorded admiration for a modernistic track-and-field facility which a mere high school in Jamaica had declared open.
Finance is the key, I know. But Frankly Speaking, to me, the Jamaicans know how to mobilise both government and private sources to fund sports development. And both government and sporting authorities see what sport – through successful sports persons – is doing for their country’s image. And economy. What sets Jamaicans apart from us Guyanese? You tell me.
Last year I appreciated the athletic exploits of two young ladies whose first names are “different” – Chantoba Bright and Claudrice McKoy. They delivered again this year at the CARIFTA Games. After her victory (golden), Chantoba, who is making the most of an athletic scholarship in El Paso, Texas USA, seemed troubled! She seemed to want to expose negativity in the camp even though Guyana improved, medal-wise, this year. What’s troubling the articulate Chantoba – about her sport?
Last column I mentioned the draft of a national cultural policy fashioned by Dr James Rose. I was also privy to a national sports policy in the making under Minister Anthony. How are things “progressing” these days?
It’s heartening – even “great” – to hear that we will be hosting certain international/regional sports events. It’s encouraging too to know that facilities will be introduced or upgraded throughout all Regions here to facilitate sport. Way to go. Apart from the economy gaining from hosting sporting tournaments, name five other ways sport can promote national development.
1. I bet that America’s still-new, likeable, indefatigable Ambassador to Georgetown will understand why our Parliament just honoured a past PNC Parliamentarian convicted of terrorism and who died in an American prison. She seems to be an “understanding” diplomat!
2. Gold medal athlete Claudrice McKoy must not be bothered by blackouts when studying
3. Such expertise! To manufacture dozens of cocaine pellets.
4. What about campaign financing/donors for FED-UP, LJP and ANUG?
5. I nominate Attorney Nigel Hughes to our local Appeal Court and Jamaican Errol Miller to the CCJ.
’Til next week!