Eyewitness Column: Mean Spirited

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Mean Spirited…

…to Father of the Nation

March 22, 2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Dr Cheddi Jagan. As part of the month-long series of activities commemorating the event, the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) had arranged with the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) to issue a commemorative stamp in the great man’s honour. Now, commemorative stamps are routinely issued by all countries to mark special events.

In fact, right here in Guyana, the Post Office had issued the first one with a Guyanese face in 1970, when they featured PM Forbes Burnham.  In 1976, it struck one for the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. Under the PPP, in 1993 it issued one to honour Adrian Thompson, the Guyanese mountaineer. The GPOC – now an autonomous agency – issued a stamp in 2003 to commemorate Guyana-Brazil relations. And in 2010, four stamps were issued to recognise the gold and diamond industry. The new PNC-led government saw the GPOC initiating a flurry of stamp-issuing: in 2015 on the Jubilee Independence, and in 2016 on villages etc.

No one said anything when, in Feb., the Minister of Telecommunications, Ms Cathy Hughes, announced the stamp on Jagan would be issued in March. So it came as a shock to the CJRC when, with no stamp forthcoming on the day before Jagan’s birthday, they were told by Minister Hughes to check with the Ministry of the Presidency (MotP)!! But it didn’t surprise your Eyewitness.

This PNC-led government has made clear by every one of its actions that it’s determined to rewrite the history of Guyana to erase all other contributions than those of the PNC. Especially those of the PPP, which refused to disappear between 1964 and 1992, and remains as a standing indictment of its pretentions. The MotP, in the voice of the President, issued a pathetic excuse that while it recognises Cheddi Jagan as one of the “founders of the Guyanese nation”, they’ll issue the stamp along with one for President Arthur Chung!! The stamp is a “national symbol”, and there must be “equity” in its issuance!!

Now, we all know this is a piece of crock!! If the GPOC’s autonomous, how can the President unilaterally rescind its decision? His claim about the stamp being a “national symbol” is just insulting the intelligence of the Guyanese people. What’s different about the other commemorative stamps? Then President Chung wasn’t an EXECUTIVE President, like Jagan (and Burnham), but was merely a titular figure, acting on advice of the Prime Minister (Burnham). The offices were substantively DIFFERENT!

The bottom line is: if and when a stamp is issued, the commemorative events on Jagan’s centenary would have passed, along with his birthday.

This is just being petty and mean!

…to Justice Kennard

In another of its studied petty and mean-spirited actions, the President had also removed former Chancellor Kennard as head of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), saying he was “too old”. Even as he traduced the Constitution to appoint a just-as-old (Chief?) Justice Patterson as GECOM’s Chair!! So the headless PCA’s been unable to investigate the tsunami of transgressions committed by the GPF, bemoaned even by the President and his Security Minister!

The latest Police action drawing demands for an investigation was their killing of three men at the Georgetown seawall, after being accused of trailing a bank “withdrawer” to rob him. The silence of President Granger and his Security Minister is in stark contrast to a similar killing of a trio in 2013 at South Road.

Then, with the PPP in office, Granger had reminded them that the DFC had recommended that PCA be given its own investigators to look into the Police killing persons from “depressed communities”. He said ultimately, the killings emanated from the “incompetence” of the Ministry!

What says he now about Ramjattan?

…to medical personnel

The new GHPC CEO complains that medical personnel at the GHPC don’t get any respect from patients and their relatives.

Don’t the latter realise that, especially here, payback can be a b*tch??!!

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