Daily Eyewitness Column – Poetry



…And prose

Even though March 21 was officially, “World Poetry Day”, the Social Cohesion Ministry commemorated it last Friday night at the Umana Yana. Your Eyewitness wondered whether it was an effort to correct an oversight or an afterthought. Since the evening was hosted by Minister Norton and was dedicated to the late Guyanese writer and poet Wilson Harris, under the theme “Heart of the Forest”, maybe it was a matter of seeking roots??

But your Eyewitness was disappointed that even though (according to the Chronic) “The event was hosted by the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Department of Culture, Youth and Sport, and produced by the National School of Theatre Arts and Drama and the National Drama Company” there wasn’t more than two dozen bodies present – including the folks roped in from the embassies to give an “international” flavour.

What does this say about us Guyanese? That we’re just a bunch of Philistines or yahoos, who have no time for the deeper things of life? Or is it by picking someone like Wilson Harris – who made being ‘arcane” into his special oeuvre and is from another century, to boot –  to exemplify “poetry” the organisers just made the evening irrelevant? How about if they’d brought someone to expose us to, say,  Dub Poetry, which came out of the gullies of Jamaica after the revolution spawned by the expulsion of our own Dr Walter Rodney? He’d scratched the scabs off the sores of colonialism kept alive by our “own” politicians??

But then again, here in Guyana those who’ve claimed the legacy of Walter Rodney have sold their souls to those who have sworn to uphold the legacy of his assassinator!! One would’ve hoped someone would have put into poetry that ultimate act of betrayal of the poor and the powerless. Surely, we’ve moved past the time when Martin Carter’s poems of resistance were dismissed in as too “political”. What’s poetry if it doesn’t speak truth to power??

And that’s why poetry is irrelevant to most of the Guyanese people! We enter our “institutions of earning” and still have to “cram” poetry that have absolutely nothing to do with our lives. Poetry is supposed to offer a path for us to directly apprehend – not comprehend, which is the task of prose – truths that can offer us liberation out of the miasma in which we’re trapped. But then most governments – and especially THIS Government – wouldn’t want the scales to drop from our eyes, would they? Revolution time!!

Burnham once gave Martin Carter ‘wuk” as “Minister of Information”. He soon quit and composed his even more relevant:

“The mouth is muzzled by the hands that feed it”. It still is!

…And parking 

And talking about “deeper truths”, your Eyewitness hopes poetry isn’t necessary to apprehend what’s going on between the central government and City Hall on the parking metre abomination. You did hear the former say they don’t want to “interfere” with the lower level of government, didn’t you?? Didn’t bother them when they stopped that RDC flag-raising ceremony over in Corriverton, though…did it?

It’s all about protecting their “own”. Patricia Chase Green and Royston King are family who’re tasked with keeping the capital faithful in the PNC corral. They knows while the excesses of the two and the big ones on the City Council may seem outrageous and egregious to outsiders, real PNCites makes no apologies for their leaders living “high off the hog”. They live vicariously in their offal!!

Big money had to’ve passed under the table for Smart City to get that sweetheart contract. That the Government’s accepting it’s illegal signing – which makes it “void ab initio” – shows they’re in the deal.

One for all and all for one!!

…and Police harassment

What’s an AFC MP to do to get some respect from the Police. Charandass Persaud  complained he was harassed because, being Indian, the Cops assumed he was PPP.

Would it have helped if, like Nagamootoo, he’d said he wasn’t Indian?




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