… The vaccine There is no need to say “what vaccine”; Is there? It’s been a year since we learned about the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic that deposited it. We first died here back in March. From the outset, we knew that the key to giving the killer virus a death blow was vaccination. We have had enough experience with viruses over the last hundred years – including with polio in the 1950s – to know that we can immunize ourselves against these little killers. The challenge, of course, was to design the vaccine. Fortunately – we have been told – new techniques have been developed in the last few decades to engineer the very pubes of the virus to rapidly assemble vaccines. And the race was on. In the meantime, we were instructed to reduce the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands with soap, and keeping our distance from one another. The torpedo of economic activity as a result of trying to follow those rules added an extra impetus to the rush for a vaccine. So it was with a sigh of relief that we heard that several vaccines had been engineered – at least 4 – by the end of last year. The world rolled up his sleeves (so to speak) to take his pictures. We would soon be back to normal (new). Now, though, we’ve hit a brick wall: how to distribute the vaccines fairly. It seems most did not want to face the reality of our new liberal era. Namely, the market – which makes all the decisions – is not “fair”; the market ”responds to money and power. And we have the “advanced” countries in the foot of introducing the vaccines while we in the Third World are watching over in jealousy and hoping for the best. The World Health Organization – with representatives from all the countries of the world – is supposed to be looking out for our interest. Along with some other organizations, they have formed a consortium – COVAX – to organize the supply of vaccines. And this would be even for only 20% of our needs. However, there was the question of getting the money – which was expected – but they have hit a brick wall with the supplies. Why? Well, the developed countries, like the US! Canada, Japan etc, have already placed orders well over what they would need to vaccinate their entire populations. And even in developed Europe, nasty fighting has broken out over the union’s priority in vaccine distribution. And in the meantime, even if a country like Guyana has the money, the companies supplying the vaccines cannot be allowed to ship. We see an extension of the old nationalist phenomenon – vaccine nationalism! So don’t expect those vaccines soon!
… Political transition As we know at our cost, the saber-rattling of Venezuela is nothing new. In fact, for the past century, whenever their politicians – across the divide (s) – wanted to distract themselves from some mess, the Essequibo border debate has always been their real choice. We should never be complacent about Maduro’s domestic opponents – they all come from the same pack of cards when Essequibo is in question. Therefore, your Eyewitness is quite pleased that the PNC has set aside their small “lack of recognition” of the Government, and is cooperating on Maduro’s crass bluff-and-bluster repetition. That is exactly what the PPP did under Jagan when they were in opposition back in the seventies, and the PNC was in power under Burnham. But the PNC should be reminded that the PPP did not restrict their support to the PNC at the border, but offered “critical support” in toto! With not only Venezuela’s face, but COVID-19 and its economic straitjacket response, the PNC should do nothing less at this point. Not one spring cuirass!
… The “high” ground Your Eyewitness was surprised to learn that people are not charged for having less than 30 grams of ganja. From his relentless youth, he knows this can make about 60 spliffs. To deal?