EYEWITNESS: Family jewels…

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…destroyed

Reacting to Guyanese concerns about Trinidad getting the better end of the Energy MoU he was about to sign with Keith Rowley, PM of T&T, President Granger rather cavalierly remarked he wasn’t “giving away the family jewels”! Surely, he knows the term “family jewels” colloquially refers to testicles – precious gems responsible for creating all families. His flip remark led some to suggest that if he hadn’t given away the family jewels to T&T, he certainly behaved as if he lost them!!

Here it was he was throwing a lifeline to the moribund T&T economy by giving them an opportunity to pretty much run our oil industry – and as the Opposition Leader pointed out, he didn’t even have the “family jewels” to demand they end their ban on our honey exports’ safe passage through their ports!! Their trade minister said noncommittally, they’ll “look into it”! Just like when they harassed Guyanese in-transit passengers for years, all they did when our government complained was to mutter, “they’ll look into it”! But now we had leverage!!

But if he was using the term “family jewels” in its proper sense to refer to that which is responsible for the existence of all Guyanese, he could only mean the sugar industry. That’s the reason why all of our forebears – save the Indigenous Peoples – were brought here.  And this he’s already destroyed out of sheer spite. The oil that’s still being discovered under our seas, no matter how expansive, will run out one day – as T&T found out to their chagrin.

The land that was created through the blood, sweat and tears – and yes…their lives – to cultivate the sugar cane for the European rulers, on the other hand, can keep on giving forever. It’s quite possible sugar isn’t a viable product any longer…but to deal with that challenge the way Granger did, is to throw out the baby with the bathwater. While oil, and gold and even manufacturing, may come and go…humanity will always need food – and that’s what our land can deliver.

The sugar challenge wasn’t just thrown into our lap like a hand grenade…it’s been years in the making. And in every plan the assumption was the land was going to be leased to the workers to be diversified into food production that a growing world needs. But this government shuttered four estates – and counting – and put them on the block for sale – like with the slaves of yore.

There’s no insistence in the prospectus that the land must be used for food production. The buyers can do whatever they want. Even introduce new plantations and hire 21st century slaves.
But that was the plan all along, wasn’t it?

…of freedom of movement

For a country that was unfortunately founded on slavery and indentureship – when you needed a pass to be off your plantation – the restriction of the freedom of movement is not to be treated lightly. But in Guyana, the Police have taken it upon themselves to be able to stop any vehicle at any time – especially while brandishing “big guns” – with no other reason than to shake down the driver.

The Police Act gives the policeman power to arrest ‘any person whom he has good cause to suspect’ of an offence. So once your vehicle is stopped, the Police must tell you the offence you committed since he is “arresting you” if he doesn’t let you go. In the video the policeman circulated after he stopped Crawford, it’s only after challenged he came up with the “tint” rationale.

Now “reasonable cause to suspect” is a question of fact – but the fact that the Police didn’t immediately ask for the permission for the tint, strongly suggests that the stop was arbitrary.
To demand a fried rice?

…and intimidation

Crawford was slapped with FIVE charges – including riotous behaviour!! Riotous? Well maybe “characterised by boisterous or unrestrained merriment”!
But “proceeding from or of the nature of riots or rioting”?? Naaah!

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