OPINION: Eyewitness


A change…

…is gonna come

As an old blues fan, your Eyewitness has always been moved by the poignancy of the lyrics melded with the soulful wail of pain in the songs that had accumulated through centuries of oppression and domination. As he listened to the speech of the PPP’s Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali at their launch on Sunday afternoon, that old gem by Sam Cooke came into his mind: “A change is gonna come.”

You young’uns out there mightn’t know of Sam, but he had just the silkiest voice God ever created. And if you never heard the song just google it, Dear Readers, and you’ll understand why your Eyewitness was so moved. “I was born by a river, oh man, in this little old tent, oh/ Just like this river, I’ve been running ever since/ It’s been a long, long time coming/ But I know, but I know, a change is gonna come/ Ooo yes it is.”

That Sam was killed not long after he recorded the song in 1963, when MLK was rallying the long downtrodden Blacks of the American South to stand up and be recognised by the “content of their character and not the colour of their skin”.  “A change is gonna come” became an anthem of what could be. It was a certainty that the barriers keeping Americans of different races apart for so long would be coming down: a change was gonna come.

Ali had been lambasted by the press for not being particularly articulate – and in fact, rather taciturn – and since this was the first time your Eyewitness was listening to the youthful candidate he was completely blown away by both the content of his speech and his delivery. Very simply, the young man stole the show and at one point seemed to be channelling MLK as he intoned with pitch-perfect delivery: “Three score and ten years ago, the PPP was founded and for one brief, glorious moment all of the peoples of our land were united as one!”

The entire theme of his speech was on the tenor of bridging the divisions that he insisted were the major reason Guyana has not lived out its true potential. He was also very candid and – rather rare for a politician – confessed that he was “not perfect” but that he was committed to transforming himself along with the rest of his “Guyanese sisters and brothers” since this was the only way Guyana would be transformed to deal with the serendipitous discovery of oil.

All your stunned Eyewitness could think was that if this young man could live out the meaning of what he spoke, a change is gonna come!!

For sure!!

 …in (army) circumstances

With the PPP’s pick of Brigadier (rtd) Mark Phillips as their Prime Ministerial Candidate, they seem to have pinned the PNC on their back foot! Even though Jagdeo taunted Granger that he was never able to make it to the top position of the Disciplined Forces – being Chief-of-Staff – unlike Brigadier Philips, all the Caretaker President could lamely come back with was “PPP has seen the error of their ways”.

He was referring to fears expressed back in 2015 when Granger insisted on placing a military person in every department of government, as advisors, as Ministers, etc, that he was militarising the government. They never said that military personnel weren’t qualified for serving in government. It was the numbers they were concerned about: as is said, they were concerned that the “quantitative” would affect the “qualitative”.

Especially, with Granger’s lot, the “qualitative” is the deformed Burnham vision of the armed forces: loyalty to their “Kabaka” before country!

And wasn’t this why Hoyte pipped him with Joe Singh?

Ain’t that a shame!!

…in bread and circuses

Unlike the PNC, the PPP ran what their MC, Edgehill dubbed a “low-budget” launch. Of course, the PNC had the State’s resources to loot and build up their war chest!!

Ever wondered about all those unaccounted-for billions??