Eyewitness: Standing up…

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…for Guyanese

Your Eyewitness is all for developing our country. Since it looks like we will be the last big oil bonanza ever (noting that we should never say “never”!) and the oil majors are winding down operations elsewhere, a whole lot of operators servicing them are heading down here. But he wants to make it very clear: WE HAVE TO SET DOWN SOME GROUND RULES.

Yes, the country has laws for doing business. We even have GO-Invest as a “one stop” outfit to explain those rules to whoever wants to get a piece of our action. We’ve discussed “local content” – requiring Guyanese to be equitably included in the bonanza. Not to digress, but you’d know that your Eyewitness had called for the Government to make it mandatory that any foreign company seeking to operate in Guyana must take on 40% Guyanese equity – and work to gradually get Guyanese trained to operate the business.

But back to the point he wants to make very firmly right now. After viewing two videos of foreigner businessmen “interacting” with Guyanese – like it may seem like overkill – he’s insisting that those ground rules MUST govern how workers are treated. In the first one, supposedly taken in a gold mining operation in our interior, one foreign owner was seen brutally pummelling a worker while other workers stood by. Now, your Eyewitness doesn’t care what infraction this worker might’ve committed – unless he threw the first punch at his boss – but beating him like an animal cannot be tolerated!! THIS CONFOUNDED NONSENSE MUST STOP!!

And what made this worse – unimaginably worse – was that the foreign employer doling out the thrashing was white!! Imagine, we’re a nation where we’re all – save for the Indigenous Peoples – descended from slaves and indentured workers who were brutalised by Europeans on the sugar plantations, and this person didn’t feel constrained to recapitulate the old plantation method of “disciplining” workers?! What next? Flogging with a cat-o-nine tail while tied to a pole?

Your Eyewitness understands that the authorities are investigating the matter, but, frankly, he really doesn’t think there is much to investigate: the video speaks for itself. This fella should be hauled before the courts and, at a minimum, charged with assault. He should be jailed, and then expelled from our country.

In the other video, after the foreign director of an illegally-installed concrete batching company had torn up a notice for the company to cease operating, THE MINISTER OF HOUSING AND THE HEAD OF THE CH&PA showed up to enforce the order, and are threatened by another foreign director!! It’s all related to how they see us “natives”.
The decision to expel the director forthwith is a start!

…for Indigenous Peoples

Talking about “natives”, if these foreigners will treat a Minister and his officials – in front of the media – so contemptuously, imagine what they’ll do to our Indigenous Peoples, whom even locals feel no compunction to dump on at the least opportunity. After all, they come from a country in which the Native Americans are now the “invisible people” in a continent they’d owned through rights of occupancy!!

It started way back, when the Brits ruled us and saw the Indigenous Peoples as just part of the landscape. There was the poem in their schoolbooks that summarised their thinking: “There was an Indian, who had known no change/Who strayed content along a sunlit beach/ Gathering shells.” They were talking about a people who’d sailed from South America thousands of miles to Bahamas and “had known no change”?
How were they different from Columbus, who claimed to have “discovered” them?? But the point, of course, is they weren’t seen as humans, and had to be “discovered” by Columbus to become so!!

The more things change…!

…for Justice
Your Eyewitness knows that we’re battling a COVID-19 pandemic; but, surely, this doesn’t mean we have to close our eyes to barbarities.
Someone has to denounce the mass killings of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.