I grew up in Guyana hearing that our capital was labelled ‘The Garden City of the Caribbean’, but it was something that never engaged me.
Someone approached me out of the blue this week outside a store on Sheriff Street to ask for advice on the music business; he was not a musician, but interested in recording and was wondering how to proceed.
One of the things that emerged with renewed vigour during the run-up to the recent elections, and continuing since, is the argument that Guyana must address the dilemma of the ethnic divide that is hanging like a millstone around the country’s collective neck.
Recent returnees to the homeland may not know this, but longtime dwellers who have endured through successive Guyanese governments will tell you that finding the person responsible for a particular aspect in the various departments set up to serve us is an almost impossible task.
Guyanese under 30 years of age will likely have no knowledge of it, but there was a time in our country when there was a ritual, common in many of the middle class homes, that involved the process of bringing wood floors to a shine by buffing them by hand using wax.
It was talked about frequently during the years I lived in the Cayman Islands, but it hasn’t happened yet.
A reader asked me in a recent blog (actually, he asked me twice) why I continue to live in Guyana despite the problems.
In recent years, in an effort to diversify its economic base, Guyana has been putting increasing emphasis on improving and expanding its tourism industry, a push to which the private sector has responded and from which some results are already apparent – sport fishing in the Rupununi; various bird-watching tours around the country; foreign yachts in the Essequibo, etc.
Our Caribbean cricket woes continue to make headlines with a variety of explanations and theories ranging from lack of systems, insularity, inefficient West Indies Cricket Board, aborted tours, etc.
Among the many interesting aspects of my time in Tradewinds going back to 1968 was becoming familiar with some of the popular performers of the day, many from Trinidad.
Two people in a chance encounter recently asked me what were my favourite songs – whether something I wrote or from another song-writer – and I was in a hurry and promised to write them a reply, but I lost their email (I hate being late, and I was truly in a hurry), and in my embarrassment I’m hoping to redeem myself today by answering them now via this column My favourite from my own work is usually the song I’ve just finished writing.
From a boy of 10 or so, growing up on West Dem, it was there in front of me – the difference between Indians and Blacks, what we refer to today as the ethnic divide; I never heard the term back then.
A very wise woman, who also happened to be my mother, once told me: “If you know something good or hear something good about somebody, you should pass it on.” Today I’m doing as instructed by telling you about a few gems I stumbled on recently.
Over time, numerous experts in a range of fields have come to Guyana and contributed expertise, training and sometimes equipment to various sectors of our economy.
At the outset, I’m not a big techno guy. As the new gadgets come out, I’m often one of the last ones to get on board.
Following recent musical explorations in the country, including Dr Vibert Cambridge’s excellent book, Musical Life in Guyana, the current depressed state of our music industry is once again a topic of discussion.
I have known Vibert Cambridge for more than 40 years, going back to 1970 in the We Place nightclub home of the Tradewinds in Toronto.
Following the election, the press has understandably seen numerous suggestions from citizens concerning things in the government that are in need of urgent attention.
Coincidences can be an intriguing part of life. For the past two weeks, for example, I had been in a back-and-forth with a publisher, Desmond Roberts, of the Guyana Diaspora Times magazine, produced electronically in New York.
I have come to the conclusion that it will never stop – persons telling you angrily that today’s music is “garbage”.
From I was a youth, as my Jamaican friends would phrase it, I have always been one of those “let me see for myself” guys.
We’re getting a good dose of negative Guyana news of late and justifiably so – whatever the process requires we have to work through these things; I will spare you the list.
It often happens when I get engaged with Tradewinds fans that I end up relating little episodes from my life with the band.
Among the many items on the varied ‘to do’ list for Guyana’s new government, the problem of falling standards in our society is being raised frequently by social commentators, and in the very early days following the election President Granger has raised this matter, both specifically and by alluding to it, in several of his speeches.
Here are two incidents with a common thread. The first came in a recent interview on the Charlie Rose television programme in the USA.