Eyewitness: The great divide…

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…over Venezuelan recalcitrance
President Irfaan Ali has flown up to participate in this year’s 76 meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Yep…it’s been 76 years ago, at the end of WWII, that the UN was launched with the goal of ensuring that we do not repeat the carnage that had just ended. It’s estimated that about 75 MILLION persons perished!! When you’re talking about such numbers what does it matter if you’re off a million here or there? Meaning, the entire population of Guyana would be lost in the shuffle.
Anyhow, since then, even with the UN in action with its mediations and peacekeeping forces and other conflict-reducing mechanisms (UN Gen Secretary Good Officer process, anyone?), some 55 MILLION soldiers and civilians – as counted in WWII – have been killed. So, you decide whether the UN has been successful in its major mission. Anyhow at the General Assembly, world leaders would be able to get together and speak directly to each other on the pressing problems of the day that may lead to war.
For us, of course – and your Eyewitness is sure this is why President Ali has gone up there personally – the pressing issue is the barefaced attempt of some members of the UN, like Russia, Norway and Netherlands, to have the fractious Venezuelan Government and Opposition settle their differences by agreeing that they must retake our Essequibo!! That’s right! Here it is that the very UN process (see above!) that the Venezuelans agreed to back in 1966, when they signed on to the GENEVA Agreement on their border controversy, they’re now rejecting!!
The UN must be told in no uncertain terms that this outlaw behaviour will not be tolerated. Either they agree on the terms of reference of the UN, or they don’t! They can’t come there to complain about how the Americans are ganging up on them when they’re doing the same thing to tint Guyana!! Does the rule of equity, that they must come with “clean hands”, apply? This year, with the COVID pandemic, only 83 of the 193 leaders will be speaking personally – President Ali included.
Some will submit recorded messages. But President Biden will be there, and he must be reminded that his administration will not condone side deals that would place at risk peace and stability in the hemisphere – not to mention the last big oil play for Exxon. If Venezuela wants to get back on track with dealing with its domestic disaster, it cannot be allowed to bully us.
Pres Ali must also mention our close shave we had with an illegal regime here in Guyana…
Like Afghanistan and Myanmar, the PNC’s credentials would’ve been questionable.

…over COVID-19
Looming like a pall over this year’s UNGA – like it did last year – will be the COVID-19 pandemic. That was the first time the meeting was held totally virtually, and the change this year might imply that the pandemic is under control. NOT SO! What it does indicate is that, while in the beginning COVID looked like a rich country’s disease – with Americans and Europeans dying like flies – the tide has been turned for them – including China, where the pandemic started.
And it’s all because, being rich, they were able to get off the blocks the quickest by developing vaccines. China did it by using their authoritarian methods to enforce lockdowns that would’ve seen revolutions elsewhere. Maybe China is the new governmental model?! Imagine here, vaccine hesitancy is being used by the Opposition as a mobilisation tool against the Government.
The largest present danger zone from COVID-19 is Latin America and the Caribbean – right where we are.
The post-COVID world may see all gains achieved over the last few decades removed.

…on education
On another note, while the rest of the world’s integrating new pedagogical techniques, like the Finnish “lesson studies” that include “rounds” for teachers, just like the medical profession, the GTU’s teaching children to be “cuss birds”!!