EYEWITNESS: Cribbed and crabbed…


…minds at MPI

This fellow Patterson – the Minister of Public Infrastructure – has been a real disappointment. He just doesn’t understand he’s been given responsibility for an area of national life that needs a VISION of where Guyana’s supposed to be heading – if it’s ever to deliver the “good life” for its citizens. Our country’s development has stagnated over the past half-a-century and nothing brings this home more than our decrepit, dilapidated and backward infrastructure.

Think of a country – any country – that you think is “developed”, dear reader, and what will pop into your mind, is its infrastructure! We don’t even have to go all the way back to Peter the Great – who earned his appellation because he pulled 17th century Russia out of backwardness by overhauling its infrastructure in trying to reach “European” parity. Think of Albert Speer – who rebuilt Berlin for Hitler after the devastation of WWI. Doesn’t Patterson want to do the same for Burnham after his devastation of Guyana?

Imagine he provoked the Chinese Ambassador into admitting he or his country would never be associated with the new Demerara Harbour Bridge to replace the floating wonder from 1978. The Ambassador implied Patterson was locked into some kind of medieval time warp, since the design included lifting up a section to allow tall ships to go upriver.

This was the feature of the Old London Bridge – built in 1209 – before it was scrapped and rebuilt. Our floating bridge, of course, had its retracting span since it was never intended to be a permanent bridge and was in fact a donation of portable sections that the British army threw across rivers to get their tanks across, during wars!!

Anyhow, the PPP had mooted the construction of a permanent high span Bridge to replace the floating wonder, but after taking over, Patterson fixed the bids to have a single-sourced designer come up with a THREE lane structure that had a section that LIFTED UP rather than RETRACTED to allow ships to pass. This was supposed to be an improvement of the 1209 drawbridge on the London Bridge!! Thus the most objectionable feature of the present structure – Bridge Closings that wasted hundreds of thousands of man-hours and create serpentine massings of vehicles on both sides of the river!!

Now, it’s just been announced that rather than THREE lanes, there will now be FOUR and that the approach to Versailles won’t be so “cumbersome”!! What the heck does that mean? They’ve removed the curved section that created the “Ming Swing” – just to land the bridge on the PNC’s financier land?

Where there is no vision, the people perish…

…understanding of a constitution

There’s a stubborn insistence by sections of the media not to acknowledge that while the Constitution of a country, will of course affect individuals, ultimately it’s concerned with fundamental principles by which the institutions of the state are to be governed while respecting the rights of the citizens. This is brought out clearly by the reporting on the High Courts and Appellate decision on the Richardson Case, which the PNC government appealed to the CCJ. The latter’s ruling is due by month’s end.

What Richardson claimed – and the Guyanese courts affirmed – is that under our Constitution, sovereignty does not lie in the Legislature as it does in England, but with the people. Here, Richardson argued, there are some decisions that Parliament on its own cannot make – they have to be ratified by a referendum of the people.

Those decisions are ones affecting what is called the “Basic Structure” of the Constitution, such as the locus of sovereignty.

So while Richardson affects four classes of individuals to run for the Presidency, it goes far beyond that.

…oil blocks awards

Seems ex-Presidential oil advisor Mangal wants to have all PPP oil blocs awards reviewed. But wouldn’t this also include the Exxon Award?

Or is he now straining to throw equal-opportunity brickbats? Ouch!!



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