EYEWITNESS: Guyana’s…

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…Domesday Book

Back in 1086, William the Conqueror, who’d conquered that country 20 years before to become its King – hence “William the Conqueror” – decided to have a “Great Survey” made of his kingdom. As was recorded at the time: “Then, at the midwinter [1085], was the King in Gloucester with his council … (and had) a large meeting, and very deep consultation with his council, about this land; how it was occupied, and by what sort of men. Then sent he his men over all England into each shire; commissioning them to find out “How many hundreds of hides were in the shire, what land the king himself had, and what stock upon the land; or, what dues he ought to have by the year from the shire.”

William’s main purpose was to make sure he knew what was under his dominion so he could squeeze as much taxes as he could from his new Saxon subjects. After his assessors scoured the land, they recorded their assessments in a book that became known as the “Domesday Book”. That’s how they spelt “Doomsday” back then!! Eventually, “there was no single virgate of land, nor indeed one ox nor one cow nor one pig which there was left out”!
It earned its name because the finality of the assessment was just like that which is exacted on the “Day of Judgement”, which no man, woman or child can escape!! It was described thusly by a contemporary: “for as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any skilful subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to … its sentence cannot be quashed or set aside with impunity. That is why we have called the book ‘the Book of Judgement’ … because its decisions, like those of the Last Judgement, are unalterable.”

Well, it now appears Guyana will be getting its own “Domesday Book”…but since we’re not in the Medieval age, let’s call it like it is – the Guyana Doomsday Book!! Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan, as part of the PNC-led Government that from their highhandedness and unilateralism obviously see themselves as “conquerors” of Guyana in 2015, has just announced he hired a Canadian firm for $335 million  to “value” all properties in Guyana for the purpose of taxation!!

Now imagine this Government having the temerity to launch this potentially totalitarian enumeration of its potential loot, and has hired the Canadian consultant by sole sourcing!! In both the substance of the deed, and its execution there was absolutely no consultation with stakeholders. But then, this is par for the course with the PNC, isn’t it?

The Domesday Book culminated the Norman Conquest of England. Will it be the same for the PNC and Guyana?

…ignorance of Gandhi

Yesterday was Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday…and as usual, there was a small function at the Promenade Gardens near the statue of the great man was erected. That’s a pity! For a country like Guyana with all its divisions and conflicts always simmering beneath the surface, it would do a world of good for Gandhi’s life and teachings to be more widely circulated here.

Take his famous statement that if we follow the principle “an eye for an eye” then pretty soon we’ll all be blind. Doesn’t this rather pithily describe why we’re still “blind” and at the bottom of any world ranking you want to pick? Now, the problems might be that too many politicians see Gandhi as a saint. But really, Gandhi was a politician!! And a very effective one at that, since it was largely due to his efforts India became the first country in the British Empire to become independent!

So will our politicians read Gandhi and stop sticking each other in the eye?? Not likely!

…and sugar production

The Government says GuySuCo’s production is “on target”. Uitvlugt met its target ONCE in six weeks; Blairmont TWICE in eight; Albion five out of seven and they’re on target??!!
The sum is greater than the parts??

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