… Against COVID Your Eyewitness does not want to suggest that the fight against COVID-19 is easy. Some have said that our lock-down policies have been too flexible. They compare it to Trinidad’s tougher one that has seen their borders remain tightly sealed. Even locking up hundreds of their own citizens and raising local Trinis. At first glance, their policy seems to have worked, because, with twice our population, they had only 145 deaths compared to our 243 – as of yesterday. But that really compares apples with oranges because Trinidad is an island – which allows them to control their borders much more effectively. We know to our cost that our border in Brazil is very porous – think of all those Haitians disappearing without a trace and multiply that by ten as most of those coming in the opposite direction could for our country to be relatives or inhabitants of the Rupununi. Although less populated, it is no more difficult to cross the Venezuelan border. And finally, our government has been monitoring flights into the country and there have been no reports of infections from that quarter. Meanwhile, the vaccination program has been launched – 40,000 has been picked so far – and is ramping up this week. One limitation may be the vaccine supply chain. But we have to be honest and admit that the weak link in the fight is “us, the people”. With all the information spying in every medium imaginable, no Guyanese can say that they are unaware of the protocols to be followed to prevent infection. Too many of us have refused to wear masks and observe social distance in public. And in this your Eyewitness believes that we do not really have a health problem … but a related social and economic problem. Did you see the crowds that gathered for Holi? And if you did, you probably didn’t see the masks that the merrymakers were supposed to wear, as they tossed each other with abeer and colored powder. Your Eyewitness is waiting for the reports of the Easter kite flying but from the announced kite sales, it seems the crowds are out in force. We have to change our cultural-cultural behavior – at least until this pandemic passes. Look at the difference in death rates between those countries with disciplined populations – China and the Far East, for example and the more “liberal” West that includes Guyana. In our refusal to accept that individuals do not necessarily act in the best interests of their group, we ignore the need for stricter enforcement of the rules. The Government has started cracking down on bars and restaurants. They now have to harden as they did against kite flying!
… Against gas It’s been nauseating to see those staying at the onshore gas project jumping on their soap boxes to deny VP Jagdeo. Not the Government, remember, but Jagdeo. He’s always been in the cross hair of that lot. Remember they dumped it after it persuaded Norway to fork over US $ 250M just to maintain our deforestation rate? How dare we save our forests !? AMAILA Falls hydro teased them too! Now, they are worried about the same global warming as they were fighting then – and want to keep our oil and gas under the sea! After leaving the station, they are now trying to prevent the gas being brought ashore to the anticipated Industrial Complex in Wales. All sorts of arguments about the costs of the gas pipeline and so on. They insist on looking only at power generation – ignoring the production of urea, methanol, etc. Who are these people? The new Luddites to keep us barefoot (and pregnant)? It’s gas!
… Against the oppression of distance Did you ever stop to think that a major reason why our native sisters and brothers have remained the poorest of the poor has been because of their remoteness? The Government’s new infrastructure drive will remove both.