Eyewitness: The day after…


…the love fest

Your Eyewitness was accused of being a misogynist (if not a misanthrope) for ignoring “Valentine’s Day” in yesterday’s column. The first, Dear Reader, hates women while the latter is churlish towards our entire species! Nothing could be further from the truth! It’s just that since the Budget was announced (and he’s old enough to appreciate calypsonian advice “no money, no love”), he felt constrained to set his priorities straight!!

So, now on to showering love and affection on our female of the species in general, and our better halves in particular! Let it be stated for the record that your Eyewitness did his bit with the flowers and chocolates. After all, he didn’t want winter to descend in to his humble abode with the cold shoulder and even colder cutting looks from the object of his affections! But if the truth be told, he really isn’t into these occasions that started out as well-meaning attempts for us to live better lives with each other, but have now become so commercialised that all the human feeling has been sucked from them. Not only Valentine’s Day but Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.

They’ve all become totally mechanical processes where you walk into a store, plunk down your cash, and you’re given some pieces of merchandise that’s supposed to signal your “love” for wife, mother, father and so on. It just sucks all the spontaneity from expressing what’s supposed to be the sentiment that is ultimately responsible for keeping us going as a species. Love – it really does make the world go round.

But where did this Valentine’s Day come from? Like Christmas and Easter – and so many of our observances in the (westernised) modern world – it all began in the practices of the Roman Empire. In the case of Valentine’s Day, this came out of the “Feast of Lupercalia” – which was “a bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration awash with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility”. More specifically, male youths would run naked through the streets where willing females would bare their skin to be whipped with thongs of leather and “couple” with each other as suited their fancy!

After Rome fell to Christianity, the revelries were (sadly?) banned. But unlike Burnham who banned certain foods in Guyana, the Christian Romans realised bans aren’t effective unless substitutes are provided. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day, and gradually the “Pagan” practices were sublimated into signalling “love” for females in less direct ways. Such as sending love letters and such like.
In our modern times, we were convinced that flowers and chocolate would do the trick!
Ah…for the good old days!!

…the vaccination

Even though the number of deaths from COVID-19 keeps rising inexorably worldwide, most Guyanese are still sceptical of taking the vaccine – now starting to be unrolled. In this reaction, they’re in sync with folks in the rest of the world. Surprisingly high percentages of folks in the developed countries – who you’d think are au fait with the science of vaccines – like DOCTORS! – fall into the sceptical and dubious category!

So, your Eyewitness is suggesting that all 1500 persons – health workers and Caricom employees – who got the initial shots of AstraZeneca (hat tip again to Barbados) should be monitored for their reactions. He’s pretty certain that the Ministry of Health – which is headed by a Medical Doctor (Dr Frank Anthony) – would’ve implemented a system for such a feedback. All that needs to be done is to make the details public. And the same after the second shot is given in May.
This would go a far way to alleviate (high) anxiety!

…the Local Content consultations

Compliments to President Ali for keeping his word to host nationwide consultations on Local Content regulations for the O&G industry.
Your Eyewitness’s proposal is that all foreign companies must allocate at least 10 per cent shares to a Guyanese partner.