Eyewitness: Return of…

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…a man of conscience

Back in the day – waaaay back in the day! – Henry VIII wanted to get out of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon (Spain). His wandering eyes had landed on the beauteous Anne Boleyn, who he hoped would also give him an heir. Trouble was, in those days, there was someone higher than a King in these matters – the Pope, who had to give permission on the matter of divorce, which was forbidden in the Catholic Church. Henry called his Privy Council – his advisors – and demanded they write the Pope to give permission.

And this was when a man of conscience, Sir Thomas More – the King’s Lord Chancellor – stood up. He refused to do so, since it went against his beliefs and the rules of the land that guided the State. And since then More’s stance has set the standard for those who would take public office: one should not follow orders if they violate law and conscience. More would refuse to recant and was beheaded for his stance by Henry – who not so incidentally would eventually run through SIX wives!

Your Eyewitness was reminded of More’s decision when he read that Charrandas Persaud had returned to Guyana from Canada. That’s where he’d fled after he refused to change his “yes” vote on the No Confidence Motion (NCM) in Parliament on Dec 21, 2018, of course. No matter what anyone – like Persaud’s erstwhile “friends” Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan, who would’ve figuratively beheaded him – would say, your Eyewitness believed that he acted in the best tradition of Public Servants, following the footsteps of Sir Thomas More.

What was the issue? Granger, acting in the absolutist tradition of Henry VIII, without consulting anyone – in fact going against the advice of his own COI – had shuttered four sugar estates, where the workers were eking out a miserable existence. Persaud lived in one of the estates – Rose Hall – and experienced first-hand the privations of the people he’d been elected to serve. And then came the NCM – the rule in the Constitution that allowed the activities of the Rulers to be judged by ordinary Members of Parliament. In the tradition of Thomas More!!

And to his eternal credit, Charrandas Persaud voted his conscience – yes!! yes! yes – to the frantic cries (and elbows) of those who would do whatever the ruler wanted. There was no surprise when Granger and his enablers dubbed Persaud “Judas”, “betrayer”, etc. Ramjattan even vouched that he’d been bribed!!

The rest, we know, is now history. And part of that history is not just that eventually Granger and his regime were removed.

But that those in public life have to speak their conscience when tyranny rears its (ugly) head!

…standards in marking

Your Eyewitness had advised that we don’t get hysterical about the purported arbitrariness of CXC when the marks at CSEC and CAPE had been returned. Some schools cried wolf and complained bitterly that the marks hadn’t matched the “expected” results of some of their students. Because the situation was repeated in several territories, most assumed that the teachers’ (and schools’) position was valid.

But early in the day, there was information that contradicted that position: most private schools did as well as in the past. And then it was revealed there’d been two changes that could’ve explained the divergence: there were no essay questions and for the first time CXC would mark almost 100% of the SBAs. The latter are projects that the students complete but are marked by local teachers and submitted to CXC.

And this, plus COVID conditions, your Eyewitness figured, had caused the problem: some students do well on essay questions.

But more to the point, they’re given a free pass on their SBAs by local teachers.

…heart-stopping cricket

What are the odds of having TWO super-overs in a T-20 double header? Ok…it’s high…but it could happen. But THREE super overs?? Naah!!

But Mumbai and Punjab did the impossible yesterday!! The first DOUBLE super overs!