EYEWITNESS: New directions… in agriculture?

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Your Eyewitness’s antenna perked up when he saw a report that Cabinet approved the long-sought-after permission for industrial hemp to be cultivated in Guyana. If you’ve been following the news, you would’ve heard about all the hype on the benefits hemp could bring to our country. The plant, we’re assured, can be used to create over 25,000 different products from each of its parts – leaves, bark, flowers, pith, etc!! Some of these products are textiles, rope, pharmaceuticals, food, concrete, car panels, and so on and so forth.

It’s also one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and can be reaped in just under three months…or give it another month if you want to harvest the seeds also. In this way, it acts as a much more efficient carbon sink than our forests, and can earn us carbon credits plus some “good name” to offset some of that natural gas that’s being flared! The plants are cultivated so close together that their shade prevents grass from growing, and so doesn’t needs weedicide. There aren’t any pests, and so no pesticides also. It does need water, but at least 25 inches of rainfall being a minimum, that shouldn’t be a challenge for us!!

So, if industrial hemp is such a miracle plant, why was its cultivation banned? To understand this, we’ll have disentangled the hemp story from the other one that’s also making the news – the approval for the possession of small quantities of marijuana not to bring on jail time! You see, hemp and ganja look identical, even though they aren’t the same. They’re just from the same family…cousins, so to speak.

But, way back in the last century, when the US had gotten into a fit of morality and launched its war against liquor (“Prohibition”) it had broadened its ban to include “grass” and hemp in that first “war on drugs”. It was then that ganja got its “bad name”, even though it’s had been used for thousands of years in places like India. For hemp, which India had used to produce millions of tons of rope for export, it’s ban was “guilt by association”, since the active ingredient in ganja – THC – at .003% is insignificant, and the CDB of hemp has many positive pharmaceutical effects.

After WWII, the US broadened and enforced its call for hemp to be banned, and countries across the world – including Guyana – went along. China has continued cultivating industrial hemp, and is the biggest supplier nowadays.

Ironically, but predictably, now that the US has given permission for most of its farmers to grow hemp, the rest of the world’s going along.

Here’s to hemp and it’s hype!!

…in PNC politics?

It would seem that David Granger just doesn’t have an answer to all his critics in the PNC, who’re bent on knocking him off of his leadership perch. His only response to their incessant bombardment from all sides and all media platforms has been some anodyne comments on a taped programme, “Public Interest”. But he’s just reinforcing those same critics’ accusations that he’s “aloof” and “removed” from the PNC’s base.

But what else is new? After two decades in the wilderness, the PNC under Robert Corbin had decided that just adding appendages like “Reform” or “Reform 1 Guyana” to its name just wasn’t enough to throw off its thug image – which it desperately needed to widen its appeal if it was to be voted back into office. So, Corbin plucked Granger from obscurity for the same anodyne personality to launch a new “kinder and gentler” PNC under the APNU brand.

And it worked, didn’t it? As to why it didn’t last is another story.

Which Granger isn’t about to tell!!

…for the greater good?

Your Eyewitness thinks Guyana has arrived at a fortuitous spot from where – if the PNC seizes the opportunity presented – a workable democratic system can develop.

Just return to what worked for it in 2011 and 2015.