Once crooks, now virtue paragons
I hope many readers, apart from my weekly “regulators”, will stay long enough today to accompany me through these few paragraphs of national historical nostalgia. And regret it!
Nostalgia often refers to “witty nostalgia”, memories of good things and of the past. My nostalgia for my 1950s, sixties, seventies is heartbreaking. Regrets national inertia.
So I was filled with patience, apathy, even a slight contempt – instead of hope – when I read about Dr Ashni Singh promising to meet AmCham last Friday “a completely modern Guyana.” (Remember I welcomed Dr Ashni’s return to the PPP Cabinet last Friday because I love his mastery of English – Ho ho!)
Here again is his articulate promise: “We aim to build in the shortest time possible, a fully modern Guyana, with a world-class infrastructure that enhances connectivity and unlocks the vast potential of our economy and the Guyanese people.”
Ho-hum, I sighed, as these feelings were in Parliament, in campaign manifestos, at project launches and birthday or national events – based on my senses. For decades! Once again, Dr Ashni, who spoke well, promised “the availability of a highly skilled workforce; State organizations that encourage and facilitate … Private Sector operations; reducing bureaucracy, removing bottlenecks to do business… ”
Ho-hum’s “critics” again reminded him that not all of this was achieved during Dr Singh’s Party’s twenty-three-year tenure 1992-2015.
Since the 100-plus President took an oath on August 02, I dared hope again, that we would experience a mild buzz from a reasonable expectation of coherent national development. Also, I dare to wait another three / four months to find progress on some very prestigious development plans announced. After all, Dr Singh has encountered exhausted Treasury, a tired economy with COVID and, still, the challenges of crime and political unrest.
As I wait with fellow seventies, expected over-seventies to over-nineties, accompany me as I recount, in bullet point style, a resource-driven sori historical saga forever plagued by the politics of partition, pause- a spit!
Third world history: How failed leaders led
● So far we accept that the first people arrived here from Mongolia via the Bering Strait Crossing to the Southern Continent.
● Spain, Dutch, French, in search of territories to augment their European empires, reach and fight for Supremacy. The English were dominant.
● The horrors of their slaves attended in Africa up to 1838.
● Indian laborers were brought in; their numbers and culture soon caused Afro-Indo friction – openly / subtly promoted by the European masters. (Why have informed, educated descendants continued that “divide” long after colonial masters left? (Why have current generations even allowed European historical cleavages?)
● 1834-1838: An interesting early “Third World” era, as “apprenticeship” preceded “full freedom” (1838) and pre-movement of land-owning slaves to land ownership.
● As slave descendants turned to professions and costumes, Indo-descendants kept to the land before diversified activities and ultimately economic advantage.
● Stevedore HN Critchlow rose to prominence leading organized labor and entering the “Parliament”.
● Cheddi Jagan was to follow which later allowed British-trained attorney Forbes Burnham to chair the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of the new mass movement.
● After a aborted political / government victory in 1953, the Jagan-Burnham split continued what started the “Whiteman”. Their popular charismatic leadership was blended into racial politics for “eternity.” Their respective ethnic loyalists received their “leadership.” Or left!
Americans and Britain helped get rid of Jagan’s PPP in 1964 and Burnham – once a seer, then a corrupt autocrat who never won a stand-alone election – dominated as an “autocrat for life” – a shorter life 62- years old until 1985. I break at this point.
Quite frankly, though skeptical of Russian Communist / Socialist / Jagan Cuban ambitions, I blame Burnham and the PNC that I once embraced in Guyana’s political backs, economic standing and nature back as I watched regional resource-deficient societies surpass our beautiful, ruined Guyana. I can discuss my point of view when invited.
As I experienced the five-year political aberration of the Brigadier-President, I also wept at the current incarnation of the once-respected PNC.
Oil and gas have now joined our other resources. The world is so structured that foreigners are leading the companies that extract oil, gold, bauxite as others laugh out loud about contracts and agreements that great fools negotiated. Should I now trust Ashni Singh’s repeated promise? What do you say?
Revised bandits, “monsters-to-priests”
After Americans and Europeans discovered the lucrative – but debilitating – value of South American Coca plants, they used that innocent Amerindian cure tool to make millions around the world.
The Colombian cartel once offered the government to pay Colombia’s national debit! Thousands of Coca farmers thank the cartel owners for life-sustaining employment. Evil overcomes poverty.
In the Atlantic of Sealand the owner of the territory’s two radio stations is a former drug lord. He now runs a popular charity. The island’s Chief of Police has a son who is known for trading all kinds of narcotics. He seems free from prosecution. Even investigation. The brother of the Chief of Police is a popular Christian priest.
At one time the island’s main contractor for a number of infrastructure projects was serving prison time for sexual assault. He also runs a charity. These one-time crooks are now preaching “redemption”, “spiritual revival”, the poor listen to them joyfully as they assist the islanders during their unique control of national resources. The islanders consider them “virtue paradigms”. They say people can change!
Ponder please …
● 1) Alex Trebek – master of many languages. His shows are waiting as he RIP
● 2) Coming next week: Kwayana and Granger- most helpful
‘Till next week.