Eyewitness: New nationalism…


…over COVID-19 vaccine

For two centuries we were assured that the “free market” was the way to go if we wanted to improve the well-being of all nations at the same timeframe. Didn’t Adam Smith dub his 1776 masterpiece “Wealth of Nations” – as in “nations” – plural? And after a detour in the mid-20th Century with all sorts of “socialistic” governmental interventions “to correct market imperfections”, didn’t we return to market fundamentalism on the backs of the Thatcherite and Reaganite new-liberal revolution in the 1980s?

Enough of all this “nationalistic” nonsensical notions that preach one’s country must take precedence using tariffs and barriers and other controls!! Let the “invisible hand” of the market make all decisions. Its very impersonal nature will ensure “fairness”. And so said, so done as the eponymously named “Washington Consensus” opened up our markets to goods from up north. Well, it would seem that the “free market” is all well and good – once it serves the interest of the Big Ones! We’re seeing cynical moves in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As every country reeled from the invisible viral killer, we all hunkered down in isolation inside our homes or behind our masks and sanitary ablutions waiting for the silver bullet – vaccines. But while not discounting the upcoming BRICS powerhouses India, Russia and China, all of us knew it was gonna be big pharma – located in the developed countries – that would take the lead in this area.

And so said, so done and the rest of the world breathed a sigh of relief because of the free market logic: once we had the bucks, we’d get the shots, right? Wrong! The Big countries such as the US, Canada, Britain, etc, jumped to the head of the line and ordered enough vaccines to inoculate SEVERAL TIMES THEIR POPULATIONS!! And forbid their companies to export to other countries until their orders were filled!! This has now been labelled, “COVID Nationalism”. Could you imagine the chutzpah?

What happened to the mantra of “market fundamentalism” – “greed is good” – which would put profits above any other considerations? In being replaced by “looking out for number 1” isn’t socialism returning through the back door by returning the “firm” as “number 1” with “country”? Even among the Big Ones, a cat fight broke out between the EU and Britain when the latter was accused of hogging their vaccine for its own citizens!
But what made the new COVID Nationalism most cynical was the developed countries’ promise to WHO-led COVAX initiative to allocate enough vaccines for a mere 20 per cent of the poorer countries, this was dropped like a hot potato! It’s every rich country for itself and the devil take the bottom half.
Will India and China step up to the crease?

…for Guyana

It’s a truism in politics (and sociology) that faced with an outside common enemy, even bitter warring factions will turn their ire on the outsider. Well, the PNC certainly left us with warring factions in the two years following the NCM! We don’t have to regurgitate all the dirty details – including stained bed sheets – do we?

But lo and behold – as Granger is prone to say – Maduro appeared on our western border spewing fire and brimstone. Let’s remember it wasn’t only our fishing boats that he had his Navy seize. Remember their seizure of the Teknik Perdana operated by US’s Anadarko to conduct seismic surveys in our waters back in 2013? Maduro’s an enemy who means business.

So, while your Eyewitness is pleased with the PNC’s positive reaction to the stand by the PPP Government, they have to go further. Now is not the time for political gamesmanship.
All for one (Guyana) and one for all!

…in the US

The Biden Administration has certainly made a pivot on the Immigration of his predecessor (who shall not be named!). In giving a commitment to regularise the 11 million “undocumented” immigrants, many Guyanese will now not live in fear.