Eyewitness: The road to…

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…utopia or dystopia?

Your Eyewitness’s attention was caught by yet another letter to the press from a bevy of seemingly well-meaning citizens. They insisted they have the silver bullet to destroy the cancer that’s been eating away at the innards of our body politic even before independence. They concede that – like in the fight against cancer – there have been many initiatives taken over time by other well-meaning folks; they accept it’s been for naught. They cite the latest upheavals as a symptom of the “underlying disorder” that’s been with us since the 1950s.

Even before getting to their silver bullet – electoral reform, which would see “civil society” (read “themselves”) playing a “pivotal role in negotiation and design” – your Eyewitness must point out the fatal flaw in their approach. Which is that they’re beating around the bush with all sorts of nice-sounding turns of phrases without ever saying as to what’s causing the “political distress” – race. How can you solve a problem if you either don’t want to talk about the cause or you really don’t have an idea as to what It is?

After talking about the present (see above), they talk about the past – Guyana’s at “the bottom rungs of the development ladder in spite of its well-recognised economic potential”. They turn to the future: “It will continue to rob citizens of their due benefits and rewards of their labours”, but just won’t talk as to what is “IT”!! Could it be someone like Voldemort whose name can’t be mentioned?? What they then do is offer their CONCLUSIVE solution out of thin air: “It is therefore imperative that Guyanese people find an electoral formula that fosters unity and cooperation…” Conceding that there might be some other non-political problems, they reiterate, however, “electoral reform is first priority for intervention”.

Really?? Where in the world has an “electoral formula” ever fostered “unity and cooperation” in a society as divided as ours?? Not to worry! They say, “local and foreign commentators, election observers and others familiar with political conditions in this country have recommended and urged constitutional and electoral reform for decades.“ Well, wasn’t it “local and foreign commentators” who changed our “electoral formula” back in 1964 that got us into this mess to begin with??

The British who introduced “PR” back then even gave us the reason why it would solve our problems that had exploded in the greatest “disorder” in our history!! Interestingly, it was identical to what our “civil society” representatives proposed: “a system characterised by inclusivity, that seeks to eliminate winner-take-all, zero-sum politics”.

We’ve come a full circle. Or is it a downward spiral?

…Suriname

The PPP’s certainly on a roll…and it’s scaring the bejesus out of the PNC!! The first President Ali’s budget brought “Father Christmas” to Guyana early – there were goodies for one and all!! All it seems the PNC can do under Granger and Harmon – as their founder/leader Burnham always did – is play the race card. They did it in Berbice…they did it with the nurses’ wildcat strike, and then with the request for Volda Lawrence to show up at Police HQ to be “confronted” on the elections fraud charge. Standard Police procedure.

Well, the plan for the Bridge across the Corentyne River to Suriname looks like it’s moving from the “talk” to the “walk”. The Ministers from the two countries actually went to the site on the Guyana side where the Bridge will land and marked it off. Can you imagine what a transformative effect this will have on Upper Berbice? Not just during the construction phase when thousands will be employed…but in the synergies from the Suriname connection.

Expect another PNC race card!

…hubris

There was some PNC scuttlebutt about a PPP Minister contracting a company associated with his son for a thousand pictures of himself. He denied the connection, but not the contract.

But what’re the pictures for?