EYEWITNESS: Local… politics

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Burnham was a fella full of ideas. He was full of a lot of other stuff – like the kind into which Rodney said things were transmuted when he touched them!! – but the ideas were there! We’ll be reminded of one – eat local – now that wheat and flour are “dear a’ shap” with the war in Ukraine!! Luckily for the PPP, the shortage of roti and bread won’t be cause for them banning flour like Burnham – but from that war, where they’ve already denounced the Russian bad guys.

But another bright idea that Burnham had was local government. It’s not that he invented the idea or anything – it was here since the days of the Brits after slavery, with Village Councils and District Commissioners to run matters for us natives. Burnham came up with this elaborate “devolution” of administration by going so far as having a team of geographers use a seven-digit numbering scheme to divvy up Guyana to the tiniest hamlet. You think he only introduced the ten regions with identifying numbers? Those numbers are just the prefix for identifying down to the aforementioned hamlets!!

Nowadays, they show up in the maps of the voting areas for each of those 2299 or so polling stations whenever elections roll around. Like the Local Government Elections due this year. But like with all his ideas, Burnham invariably threw out the baby with the bath water, and made a mess of things!! Here, dissolving the venerable Village Councils, in which the local folks had been making decisions ever since they formed the villages after emancipation.

He then arbitrarily lumped several villages together, calling them “Neighbourhood Democratic Councils”, and decreed they manage their own affairs – upwards to the Regional Democratic Councils, and then to the National Assembly, with the now discarded 10 National Democratic MPs!! On paper it sounded great, but in practice – because our villages were strung sequentially along a strip of road and were separated by canals – folks at one end of the NDC invariably had no relations or interest in folks at the other end. It wasn’t the organic “neighbourhood”, as were the villages. And that’s ONE of the reasons they’ve never worked!! Another, of course, was that Burnham never wanted anyone to govern themselves, since he had to “mould” their destinies!! What did ordinary – or even extraordinary people know!!??

But anyway, LGE is nigh upon us – as they used to say in Bible class! – and your Eyewitness sees that the PNC wants the COVID restrictions to be waived for all new registrants in the “continuous registration” phase just launched.

But a little bird informed your Eyewitness that the PNC’s coming out into the streets to demand “a new voters list, or else”!!

…content so far

Some might’ve forgotten, but we were told there was never gonna be scads and scads of jobs in the actual extraction of the oil from under the Atlantic with those FPSOs. The action for us would come from the “local content”, that could be mobilised to supply the work offshore. The PNC, of course, sat on its haunches after giving away the store in Houston, rather than conducting a survey on the state of our capacity to do the necessary work. And could’ve given us a head start in preparing our businesses and our people.

So, it’s only NOW we’re training welders and extending machining outfits like Guysons etc. Even getting auditors. So, of course, there will be some outsiders. Blame the PNC! But be as it may, we all have to do our part to get a piece of the action.

Starting with the construction boom in housing, shore bases and infrastructure etc, there will be lots of jobs. Whether manual labour or engineering! Get ready!!

…excitement

Took a holy man from India to bring Soca mega star Machel Montano onto a Hindu Shiva platform in the Caribbean. Almost a hundred years after the Hindu Indian Jamaican inspired the Rastafarian ganja sacrament!