OPINION: EYEWITNESS: Bridge…

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…ahoy!!

Once again, our claim to fame as having “the longest floating bridge in the world” has been knocked for a loop after it was out of commission by an errant barge. And that, in itself, tells a story of our retarded development. We’ve got the longest floating bridge because it’s probably the ONLY floating bridge in the world across a major river that’s over a mile wide!! Which other country would nonchalantly allow such a major artery of its transportation and commerce to be at the mercy of a bunch of foreign sailors.

And that’s what in essence caused this SNAFU. The stone-laden barge and tug were moored incorrectly upriver all the way up at Diamond and after their anchor became free, drifted down river. Seems that the sailors frantically radioed the MARAD or Harbour authorities “Mayday!! Mayday!!” or whatever the distress signal is nowadays. But because they were speaking in their foreign tongue (Spanish, being of Panamanian registration?) the latter were clueless as to exactly what emergency the babel was all about.

And nature then took its course. With the tide “washing”, the barge would’ve developed a humungous momentum with all that mass of stones, and KABOOM!! There went two of the Bridge’s posts and spans! The pandemonium of the next morning fortunately didn’t get out of control – even though as fate would have it, it was the first day of the new school year! The Police and the private boat operators did combine to move the mass of humanity across the river fairly efficiently.

But hopefully, this massive mess has reminded the folks of West Demerara what a cruel hoax MPI caretaker Minister Patterson played on them when he promised a fixed bridge before 2020. He’d admitted the old bridge had long outlived its expiration date; he’d highlighted the tremendous build-up of commuter traffic from West Dem…and noted the increased economic activity. Yet, the cynical, empty promise!

But the next administration – and trust your Eyewitness, unless there’s massive PNC rigging along the lines of the 1980 elections which was “more crooked than barbed wire”, there WILL BE a new administration – a new Demerara Harbour Bridge will have to be a top priority. The bridge affected Guyanese of all flavours and as such, there shouldn’t be any problem in crafting a bi-partisan consensus to deploy the first tranche of oil revenues to get the new DHB going.

 …to defraud Indigenous peoples

It was with great disappointment your Eyewitness read how far Indigenous Peoples’ Minister Sydney Allicock has allowed himself to be twisted to serve his masters in the PNC. We all know that there are elements in the PNC who have been chafing at the bit at the demarcation of Indigenous peoples’ lands. The grounds for that demarcation is fixed not by no ordinary agreement. As this newspaper’s Monday editorial spelled out, it is part and parcel of our Independence Agreement from Britain.

All Indigenous peoples must show to get title is they have occupied the land by hunting, living, performing sacred rites and other aspects of their culture on it from “time immemorial”. The latter is a legal term of art, and in our case law, means occupancy for a reasonable time.  Now, Allicock has introduced a new requirement: Indigenous peoples must show a “plan of usage”.

That’s ridiculous!! The land is their land and if they want to just remain as is, that’s their right.

Some folks are just plain envious and jealous!

…and schadenfreude

Schadenfreude is one of those “just right” German words meaning: to take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune.

And that’s just what folks on the East Bank are feeling with no Bridge traffic to clog them up!!