August 29, 2016

In the Founder’s image…

…the PNC is reborn
Your Eyewitness has been bemoaning the absence of a declaration of an ideological orientation in the government in general and the PNC in particular, even before they became the government. An ideology, dear reader, explains the goings on in the world from a particular perspective and at the same time suggests how to act in that world to achieve one’s goals. So the government’s actions can be predicted.
Well, finally, we’ve been enlightened by no one other than the present leader of that party – Brigadier David Granger – President of Guyana. The PNC’s ideology is that the Founder-Leader of the PNC, LFS Burnham – who unfurled it between 1964 and 1985. Now the explanation for everything that the government has been doing since May 2015 is clear…it is as Burnham would’ve ordered it.
And “order” was the key of Burnham’s ideology. As far as governance is concerned he announced in his famous “Declaration of Sophia” in 1974 that the PNC was “paramount” over the government. None of this beating about the bush, he declared. Since it’s the party that forms the government then by that fact alone, the party determines the flavour and trajectory of what the government does.
None of this confusion about whether the egg or the chicken came first when it comes to government: the party gives birth to the government and ontologically they’re one and the same. So now we can understand why the government gives short shrift – actually NO shrift! – to the inputs of the Opposition. Burnham didn’t have any truck with the British insistence that the Opposition could influence government’s policies: he merely genuflected to them.
For instance, to the Constitutional stipulation that he “consult” with the Opposition Leader (Jagan in those days) on say, certain appointments, he’d merely call Jagan on the phone, ask him about the weather or some such thing – and insist he had consulted!! Reminds you of how the PPP’s being treated today? Now you know why!
This ideological insistence that the party knows best, didn’t only make an Opposition irrelevant – it also made coalition partners both irrelevant and a botheration. Forced to remove the PPP through a coalition with the UF, Burnham treated the leader of the UF, Peter D’Aguiar so shabbily that he quit before the term was up. Reminds you of what happened to the AFC – who helped to remove this PPP government – after the elections?
As insurance, Burnham both out some UF MPs. Has the same been already done to some AFC’s MPs? But don’t expect the present coalition partner leaders to quit.
Unlike D’Aguiar, they need the gravy train!

…snubbing the GPSU
Back when the first PPP government was being removed by the US – via their clients the PNC and UF – the Public Servants played a critical role. But once the PNC got into power all the explicit promises about salary increases went out the window!! Sounds familiar? The excuse offered then is the same as today – the treasury just didn’t have the money! But it found the money for the Founder Leader to be jetting off into the blue yonder at the drop of a hat. He had to burnish his Third World “progressive” image! As it was found for Ministerial 50% raises.
So we have the GPSU rejecting the PNC government’s (like the UF, the AFC are neutered, remember?) “absurd” 10% offer on wage increases. But it’s the GPSU’s leadership’s thinking that’s absurd – just like in the days of yore.
The PNC figures they’ve nowhere to go. Bet you they don’t go on strike!

…and due diligence
It was announced with great fanfare that GoInvest will be conducting serious due diligence on foreign investors. So who’ll be doing even a cursory check – much less due diligence – on the Founder Leader’s son-in-law Baby Jesus and his foray into buying and selling fuel?

Confederacy of ineptitude…

…on Cabinet decision-making
The APNU/AFC government appears confused about the difference between “in” and “out” when it comes to extricating their collective foot from their mouth in the Pharmagate” scandal. With every new “explanation” or excuse offered, they only stick their foot further into their gastro-intestinal tract. If they keep this up, pretty soon that foot will be sticking out of their nether orifice!
The latest bit of asininity on the issue came from Vice President and Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, when he inadvertently revealed how Cabinet decisions are made. God help Guyana!! He said the decision to rent the “warehouse” was made after being told the Albouystown facility was going to be $12M/monthly versus $19M monthly for NEW GPC’s. This illustrates, at best, the most potent reason why this “Cabinet no-objection” nonsense must stop. Can you imagine people in charge of this country not enquiring about square footage costs?
This Eyewitness can’t. It was already revealed by Minister Trotman that the sourcing of a new warehouse for pharmaceuticals was to “stick it to Bobby Ramroop”, after their first move to scrap the “pre-qualification criteria” for sourcing pharmaceuticals. This was never a decision about delivering better health care to Guyanese – it was always a punitive political ploy. But somebody got greedy and decided to make a killing on the side.
If storage per se was the concern, the government had their own Diamond Facility. The excuse about “congested” traffic is so ridiculous it doesn’t even deserve an answer.
Ramjattan also said Cabinet was “under the impression” that the new facility “was ready”. “Impression”? That’s what the Cabinet uses to make decisions? Maybe they’ll use a Crystal Ball next? What about looking at the terms of the contract?
Well Guyanese have finally been made privy to THAT document – sort of. And the stench increases! Why not the SIGNED copy? Well, for one it’s for “office space” not “warehouse”!! Hence the frenetic activity after exposure in Parliament! Secondly we’d have a clue as to who’re the parties initiating and consummating the deal, no? Why’d they want to hide this? If the Minister innocent, wouldn’t the information exculpate him by showing he was ignorant of the details be lied about?
Because even the portion of the contract released shows what a sweetheart deal Larry Singh got. Not only was he given a “deposit” that (purely by coincidence!!! ROTFLMAF!!) allowed him to buy the property free and clear, but the government was going to pay for all the expenses of running the warehouse!! It was a license to print money!!
It’s clear the “sweetheart deal” wasn’t one-sided. So who’s the sweetheart from within the government? And when will he get the boot?

…on education CoI
Something’s fishy with the state of our educational system. And it’s the new powers-that-be who said this – right after assuming office. So as with the Inquiries into dozens of govt agencies, a Commission of Inquiry was duly constituted to diagnose and prescribe treatment for the ailment in the sector. Concerned citizens whose kids were dropping through the education cracks like finely powdered goat dung, were wondering when the long awaited report would be submitted.
Only to now discover the CoI never even met, cause the representative of the Teachers Union had to be jettisoned because of “cost”!! Yep! You read right! After spending hundreds of millions on “audits” that led nowhere and new CoIs still springing up like “jumbie umbrellas”, we can’t afford a Teacher Rep on a CoI that’ll eventually need teachers’ buy in to be implemented??
Something’s also fishy with those in charge of the educational system!

…on the economy
So we’re being exhorted to pull ourselves out of our economic doldrums through ‘entrepreneurship”. Well, it doesn’t matter what you produce – goods or services – if you can’t find markets.
So whatever happened to that Mexican RICE Market opened up by Prime Minister Nagamootoo???


…in oil
Your Eyewitness thinks it was Eric Williams, the erudite PM of T&T – and not so incidentally an Oxford-Trained historian – who first pointed out the irony that something as “sweet as sugar” could leave such a bitter legacy. Perhaps if he were more of an orthodox Marxist, he would’ve attributed it to the inextricable unity in “pair of opposites”!!
With Guyana inching its way to becoming an oil producing country, there are fears we could see another irony unfolding: something producing so much energy as oil, could lead to lethargy and even stagnation of our economy. And these are quite valid concerns – because the stagnation could produce even darker outcomes.
When oil was being pumped from Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries in the decades after WWI and literally fuelling the spectacular development drive in the West, no one thought about the “stagnation” of the oil producing countries. Hey!! They were only Arabs and natives, right? What’d THEY need development for? The leaders should be satisfied with the pennies to the barrel they were getting for the billions of barrels of oil shipped. Living the high life in London was good enough for them.
Even after the oil producers launched OPEC in the early 1970s to belatedly initiate their “development”, not much happened. It’s only today with oil starting to run out that “diversification” of their economy’s being taken seriously. Will it be a question of being “too little too late”?? But it was after oil was discovered in the North Sea, also in the 1970s that the irony of oil flowing like water – at a solid price – could lead to a stagnation in an already developed economy. It was called “Dutch Disease” because the effects were more pronounced there.
There, the oil revenues weren’t plunked into new industries – upstream or downstream in oil or into completely new businesses – or a Sovereign Wealth Fund for investment that’d bring dividends when the oil ran out. The “easy” money was just spent as it came in, raised standards of living while the average Joe and Josephine didn’t have to do much with their businesses. The motto was “Let the hood times roll!!” So a deformed economy where the oil revenues locomotive weren’t enough to pull the entire economic train was created: Dutch Disease!
Over in Nigeria, the Disease occurred because of corruption. Billions were siphoned off into off-shore bank accounts of politicians and once again new industries weren’t funded to employ the average poor citizen of the country.
And that’s why we should be concerned not only about “local content” – but also of a lack of a strategic plan to diversify our economy.

…in “disciplining”
It can’t get richer than this – Minister of Public Health George Norton going after GHPC’s CEO Michael Khan like a bulldog to “discipline” the latter for an alleged “infraction”!! The same Norton, a senior MINISTER of the Government who repeatedly LIED to Parliament – the forum in the land where the laws are made to keep the rest of US on the straight and narrow – saddles us with an unnecessary $450 MILLION DEBT, receives a slap on the wrist from his Cabinet buddies, yet he insists on crucifying Khan for possibly misinterpreting the income tax laws of Guyana on $4M income??!!
And it’s not even within the remit of Norton to discipline Khan in the first place! Even the GHPC’s audit Norton’s using to go after Khan, specified that action on its recommendations is the responsibility of GHPC’s BOARD. And this body has pronounced that Khan should remain as CEO!!
Maybe Prezzie should now appoint a group of Khan’s colleagues to “investigate” and make recommendations? Like it was for Norton!

…of tinting
Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan inadvertently revealed the irony as to why the campaign to control “tinting” of vehicles has failed.
Permission’s at the discretion of the Minister, who wears rose coloured glasses!!

Rough love…


…from a friend

We’ve all heard about “tough love”. In case you haven’t, David Hinds recently said that’s what he showed the APNU/AFC coalition when he rapped them on the knuckles on the Rodney CoI’s report. It was “tough love” because his WPA’s a partner in the said coalition – like one of those Russian Babushka dolls that fit into each other in an infinite regression. This love is “tough” – unlike the “soft” version shown by another WPA member Rupert Roopnaraine, who pretty much said, “do wha’ yuh want wid me”!!

Anyhow, we just saw another type of love being exhibited last week when the USAID released a specially commissioned report on the Government’s first year in office. This is “ROUGH LOVE” and in normally shown by intimates who can tell you like it is in a brutal fashion! No holds barred. They can do this for the simple reason your behaviour’s threatening their interests – and you can’t do them squat when they sock it to you.

For example, in an overall assessment of what it calls the her men’s/rather worthwhile verbally expressed aspiration towards things like “good governance” and “inclusion”, it concluded it “lacks the political acumen needed to address the above-listed struggles”!! Whew!! “Lacks political acumen”!!! In other words the Government’s been quite dumb in going about its business. In fact the report even used language seldom seen in these “official reports” – it repeated the above assessment when it said the APNU/AFC Government just “talks the talk, but can’t walk the walk”!! When was the last time you heard that kind of language excepting from the Opposition benches?!

But the USAID Report didn’t confine itself to broad condemnations – it went for the jugular. For instance “the abuse of state resources for partisan ends”! Now isn’t this what the Opposition’s been screaming about for the last year? The report didn’t have to mention the billion dollar settlements that are awarded without the “partisans” even taking the govt to court! Or the doubling of Ministerial salaries – even as the Government workers got zilch, did they!

We heard the Government couldn’t “constrain the habit of inserting party loyalists within made-up positions”!! “Made up positions!!” Think about the dozens of “Presidential Advisors”. Think about the four “Prime Ministerial representatives”. Think about Ministries that no one can still figure out what the heck they’re doing! Social Cohesion, anyone?

But the most pertinent was that the Government wasn’t following “due process”. Coming from an American, this is just about the last rites on democratic governance being read in Guyana!

But they gave the Government 18 months to change matters. This is the “love” part.

…but not on integrity!!

Your Eyewitness has been carrying on like a voice in the wilderness on this long promised “Code of Conduct” by this government. Promised to be launched in “three months”, it’s looking more and more like one of those old “Cecil D DeMills” production like the Ten Commandments that were always “years in the making”. But hey!! THAT was trying to convey the teachings of the Divine via celluloid. All we’re talking about here is for some simple rules to keep members on the straight and narrow. Not a new Ten Commandments!!

And it’s not like they don’t know where to draw some lines – they’ve been criticising the PPP’s “lapses” forever. And if they “forgot” they can now refer to the USAID Report. But after crafting a “draft code” that took months, then taking “comments” (more months) , the PM decided to fuse it with the Integrity Commission (more months) he now wants to give the latter “investigative and prosecutorial powers”.

You think they’re stalling?

…on vigilante justice

Prezzie recently announced, “We can’t tolerate vigilantism, especially when it results in the injury or death of anybody; it can get out of hand”.

Was he perchance talking about SOCU and its rogue Wild West fatal chase?



…and words and lands
This must be the season for making “demands” on the Government. After Prezzie accepted there was nothing untoward about groups hollering for attention when they consider themselves neglected, some in the African Forum audience renewed their claim that if Amerindians had “gotten” lands, why shouldn’t Africans? If the Amerindian “grants” were on account they’d arrived before everybody else, the claimants argued, then what about that 10,000 year-old fossil of “Luzia” in Brazil that has negroid features?
Now the moment these claims were made, you just knew this was just the beginning of a whole new wave of claims and counterclaims for the national patrimony. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s always about that: in this case those who “came first” should get the inside track on whatever is being doled out – and in this case, land.
So before you can say “boo!”, we had the first riposte from an Amerindian group – the Guyana Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP). In the run-up to the national gathering of the Toshaos Council on the coast, they’ve just demanded that certain “misnomers” in the Amerindian Act be changed. The first one went straight to the heart of the contention made by the African group and their claim for land.
That in the Act, the phrase “grant of land title” should now read “the return of land”… And the second change demanded pretty much explains why – that the word “Amerindian” should be replaced by “Indigenous People”. To make the point pellucid, the Title of the Act should now be changed to “1st Guyanese Act”. Now your humble Eyewitness can just hear the outraged screams of protest from the “other side”!
Because if these changes are made, the whole argument for the African indignation at Amerindians getting lands, fails. Official confirmation would be granted to the latter – and with that, their claim to the land. The demanded change even undermines a more nuanced objection the African claimants had made – that some Amerindian tribes had arrived in Guyana AFTER African slaves. This view assumes the nine tribes of Amerindians in our territory make the Amerindians different “peoples”.
Most Amerindians had gone along with this view – until it was used to undermine their claim to the land. So now the demand is for “Amerindian” to be changed to “Indigenous People” –- not “Peoples”. So if all the Amerindians are “one people”, it really doesn’t matter. That even one of them was in the territory of modern Guyana when Columbus sailed past on his third voyage means they had the first dibs on ALL the land.
And the rest of us should be lucky they don’t want to drive the rest of us back into the sea!

…on slave rebellion monument
The 1823 Slave Rebellion took place on the East Coast of Demerara and hastened the move from “amelioration” of slavery to full “emancipation” by 1838. Hundreds of African slaves were killed before and after the rebellion, including dozens who were impaled at the Parade Ground as a “lesson” to those who were also impatient for emancipation.
We should also remember the above Rebellion because of the fight between the PPP’s Ministry of Culture and several African cultural groups as to where a monument commemorating the event should be located. The PPP Government consulted some groups and chose the beginning of the East Coast Highway where the rebellion had occurred, while a larger number of organisations felt it should be at Parade Ground – the site of the public executions.
In a judgement worthy of Solomon, Prezzie attended this year’s commemoration at the “Government’s” site – and promised a new Monument at Parade Ground!

…of Pharma bottom house
The Ministry of Public Health’s been mandated to “renegotiate” the rental of the Pharma bottom house. But the Albouystown facility doesn’t even have a loading dock – much less one to unload the usual consignment of four or five containers.
The drugs will be parachuted in?

Plugging leaks…

…in health
Hot on the heels of the scandal in the renting of a “bottom house” warehouse to store Guyana’s pharmaceuticals – which is supposed to secure our health as a nation! – comes news that the Government has scrapped the idea of a Specialty Hospital. What’s going on with the mavens in charge of our health sector?
On the Pharma storage front, it’s not just the evident graft and venality that most folks are holding their nose about, that’s bothering your Eyewitness today. It’s the blatant disregard for our health. Pharmaceuticals aren’t like gravel and stones you bring down on barges from quarries and just dump into any old space. They’re carefully and rigorously manufactured and packaged items that must be stored so as to ensure their active ingredients aren’t “denatured”. It’s not just the “spoilt drugs” mightn’t do their job…they could actually harm us!
And we’re gonna see the culprits walk away without even a slap on the wrist! With the main culprit being a doctor who took the Hippocratic oath – which exhorts him to “first do no harm”! Then imagine Norton took time to point out that he would be “apologising to the Speaker” for “misleading” the House. That is, he’s thumbing his nose to the Opposition folks to whom he LIED – he’s not apologising to THEM!
And we come to the Specialty Hospital. So the facility was good for Guyana up and until Fedders Lloyd was the contractor for the US$18 million structure? Meaning until Minister and Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan was still being their agent – all for no fee, of course. But what does it say about Ramjattan’s noble sacrifice for this country to deny a fee just for us to have a higher level of medical care?
Have those who cancelled the project no respect for Ramjattan’s acumen on the project. Do they know what a sacrifice it is for a lawyer to forego a fee? Try pulling a bloody torso from the jaws of a shark, and you’ll get an idea! Surely the project wasn’t cancelled because Fedders Lloyd was disqualified by the World Bank for “improper practices” in Africa? They bribed people? Gasp!
But the loss of the Specialty Hospital goes to the nub of why our economy’s foundering under this Administration. The Specialty Hospital was not just for raising the bar in medical practice here – it was suppose to be the beginning of a whole new industry – medical tourism. The externalities – as the economists dub them – from the hospital would’ve percolated into the entire economy. Including hotel rooms for the individuals who typically accompany the patients.
But what do these philistinism know?

…confidential SOCU leaks?
Now that the Govt has finally accepted the clear line of authority over SOCU – the Special Organised Crime Unit – flowing through the Commissioner of Police, we know then that the buck ultimately stops with the Public Security Minister. So why’s he not doing what he has to do about that great tragedy that was perpetuated when the wife of a young Army officer was killed as he took orders from the GDF?
From the very beginning, SOCU was supposed to be under the Police Commissioner – for the simple reason that its head was made into a Deputy Police Commissioner! But there was all sorts of buck-passing when that operation turned sour. Now this is a very dangerous situation when you’re talking about military types, who need to know precisely what’s their chain of command.
And while he’s at it, can he follow the trail as to who leaked the confidential info on the bank accounts of the Phone Card PS?

…in legal tuition
Could someone please tell this Eyewitness what exactly are the criteria for “assisting” Law Graduates to the Hugh Wooding programme?? And why?
Now Guyana has a lot of unfulfilled needs. But creating more lawyers at the taxpayers’ expense?
Isn’t that like creating the pit bull that’ll maul you in the end?



…back into the party

Your Eyewitness had wondered as to what happened to that stalwart of the PNC – ROH Corbin after he handed off the baton to David Granger as leader of the PNC before the 2011 elections. The man’d spent his entire life – literally – doing whatever he was asked to do for the Party, as far back as the Wismar “troubles” of the 1960’s. It was common knowledge that he’d earned a graduate degree in “electoral diddling” – which not do incidentally – ensured the PNC remain in power by “garnering” as much as 97% at elections!

As the consummate political operator, no one believed he’d go so quietly out to pasture. But then after taking over from Desmond’s Hoyte and leader of the PNC in 2002 and suffering an embarrassing electoral defeat in 2006, maybe he’d concluded there was no way the PNC would sidle back into govt? Can’t rig from outside, can you? So it gotta be something else. Either he was struck with a sudden attack of “statesmanship” and decided to hang up his boots “for the good of the party” or he worked out a pro quid quo with Granger.

Now after being quieter that the proverbial mouse for three years, his name’s suddenly popped up as a candidate for the Chairmanship of the PNC! He’s going up against the incumbent Basil Williams, who’s been taking some heat just now for not paying attention to his substantive portfolio of Attorney General. But hey!! That’s not PNC’s business is it? Don’t rush to nod your head in agreement, now, dear reader!

As a matter of fact, Williams himself confessed there’s a “very thin line” between party business and government business. He illustrated his point by going right to the top and revealed when President Granger’s ostensibly out doing government business, he also doing party business! So now we return to the billion dollar question…maybe Williams WAS doing party business when he allowed several mega settlements against the government to go through uncontested?

Be as it may, if Corbin does run against Williams, your Eyewitness thinks the dapper, moustachioed one’s a goner. Yes…he did defend the “honour” of the PNC at the Rodney’s hearings…but with the PNC’s membership jumping from 5000 to “over 10,000”, since they took office, the average PNC member will demand Corbin. After all, he’s the last of the old guards who know where the bodies are buried. Hamilton Green don’t count!

Another reason in his favour is they’ll be keeping an eye on 2020 when Corbin will still be younger that Granger.

And he knows all there is to know about winning elections, doesn’t he?


Your Eyewitness must confess he’s flummoxed by this sudden desire of the government to take over the building that presently houses the Walter Roth Museum. Anyone who might’ve been curious about our ethnography would know that institution’s the Smithsonian of our Indigenous Peoples. Why change a good thing?

And for what? To create some government offices? So we place bureaucratic comfort ahead of our national heritage? If we’re going to be so crass about our history, why not have the Ministry of Public Infrastructure throw up a new building in a couple weeks like he did with Jubilee Stadium?

Where? Why on Parade Ground, which is just across from the President’s office!! So what if this site is sacred to African Guyanese because of the 1823 Rebellion? And then we now know it’s ain’t so easy to move all those delicate and intricate stuff that’s been around for thousands and thousands of years.

It’ll be like going up the Itaname Rapids. And Itaname gon hu’t dem belly!


After months of ambiguity – and one fatal high-powered car chase – SOCU’s finally been told they report to the Police Commissioner.

So could the latter gentleman now look into who’s been leaking confidentially gathered info to the Muckraker?


High flyers…

…in high school
It’s that time of the year again: our front pages are chock full of pictures of our high flyers from 5th and Sixth Forms of our secondary schools – generally kids from 16 to 18. And they deserve the accolades – imagine the effort to get 19 Grade Ones at CSEC or 6 Grade Ones at CAPE. Amazing!
But your Eyewitness has to also point out to the rest of us a couple of implications from our celebrations. That if 50 years after Independence we’re still stuck at High School achievements doesn’t say much for our educational system, does it? This attention to High School grades came about when High Schools were the best we could aim for – they were so few of them.
A decade after the abolition of slavery, the government launched Queen’s College to give the scions of the upper class – generally kids of officialdom and the local professional (mostly Coloured) class, a British High School education. Only from that perch some could go on to University in Britain. Burnham was the top performer in 1942 at A-Levels (our CAPE today) and won a scholarship to London University to study for Law as a “Guyana Scholar”.
Because he was “African” and not Coloured or White, his feat generated a tremendous wave of pride among ordinary Africans – more than a hundred years after “Emancipation”. And gave him the platform he was to ride to success in politics. Your Eyewitness is concerned that a further 70-odd years down the road from Mr Burnham’s achievement, we’re still stuck at the same spot. Maybe even retrogressive, since success at “O” Levels, the equivalent to CSEC, didn’t earn anyone any national kudos then.
Your humble Eyewitness thinks we have to raise our sights, don’t you agree, dear readers? And so we arrive at our tertiary educational institution we created to make us independent – the University of Guyana. How come we don’t hear about their graduates? It was established in 1963 – before independence. So where is it 53 years later? All we hear about is how decrepit and rundown it is – and that’s just the physical infrastructure! We also hear that 85 per cent of its graduates move on to greener pastures in the “developed” world.
We can only retain them if we make our local pastures a bit greener for University Graduates. Well, maybe better days are around the corner – the oil corner that’ll need all kinds of trained personnel with University training.
We just have to make sure the revenues that’ll start flowing five years from now doesn’t flow into some politicians’ pockets!

…in oil and water
Some folks have their undies all in a knot because Van West Charles, head of GWI, just got a licence to import and export oil from Guyana. Why the fuss? They don’t believe oil and water can mix??!! Well just try an emulsifier and they’ll mix just fine, thank you. In this specific case money was obviously used as the emulsifying agent!
A couple of years ago, a Chinese company had its comparable license yanked and ex-PM Sam Hinds had to plead their case in the press. To no effect of course – all sorts of prerequisites weren’t in place – storage tanks, etc etc. Now, never mind Van West doesn’t even have the experience much less the equipment. He’s Guyanese, nuh?
That he’s also Burnham’s son-in-law has nothing to do with it. And his position as head of GWI has no relevance. Any Guyanese could’ve applied – and received the license even though there’s no bond.
But he can always rent one from Larry Singh, nuh?

…in beauty
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Miss Universe Jamaica was just stripped – of her crown, that is. Seems she was naive enough to believe she’d receive all the prizes the promoters advertised and sued when she was stiffed.
What’d they teach them in Jamaican schools?


…the Amerindian past
They say the rich keeps getting richer, while the poor will inherit the earth in the hereafter. What they didn’t say was in the meantime, while they’re still around on planet earth, the poor will keep getting dumped on. In Guyana, while the various ethnic groups on the coastland will always be arguing as to who’s poorer (NEVER who’s richer!) they have to concede that on that particular metric – the Indigenous peoples have them beat hands down.
They were spared from the genocide that wiped out their cohorts in the Caribbean Islands because the Amerindians retreated into the hinterlands and remained cut off from the rest of the country. So while the coast “developed” to give Guyana the dubious distinction of being the country in the Western Hemisphere that’s just above Haiti by every measure, used to measure development and human welfare, the Indigenous Peoples are waaaay below Haiti by those same measures.
At the Independence conference of 1965, the British inserted in the agreement with the PNC/UF government that Amerindian land rights be given effect through demarcation and titling of their “traditional lands”. While the PNC agreed and in 1976 amended the Amerindian Act of 1951, not even half of the land had been demarcated by 1991. Post 1992 the PPP sped up the process after they amended the 1976 Act in 2006. But the titling is still incomplete.
What the whole exercise proved, however, is that land – which some are now muttering is “too much” for Amerindians – without funding and implementation, changes nothing. The PPP tried to factor this in their LCDS but conditions in the Indigenous People’s communities are still dire and they are still the poorest of the poor in Guyana. And will become more so since the APNU/AFC government has pulled the plug on the LCDS.
And that’s why it was so disheartening to hear about the government now deciding to transfer the contents of the Walter Roth Anthropological Museum to make way for additional “presidential office space”. Have we developed the arrogance the Europeans had to “discover” Guyana by assuming the people living here aren’t humans? So, in addition to begrudging them their land, we are now going to move their museum without even consulting them?
When a memorial was going to be built to HONOUR the folks involved 1823 rebellion there was a great protest – which is still extant – as to the lack of “consultation”, which this government supports. But yet it’s OK for them to destroy the precious birthright of the Indigenous Peoples through a unilateral proclamation?
How much more must these most “poor and powerless” Guyanese be dumped on?

…on the rule of law
All that stands between civilisation and the jungle is the “rule of law” which basically boils down into “every man – from King to commoner – must be treated equally before the law”. There can’t be one law for a transgression by a “big one” and another one on the same transgression made by a “small fish”. And we come now to the release of confidential banking records of the former Office of the Presidency PS, Omar Sharief.
Now the rule of law says confidential information obtained by those in charge of upholding the law – such as SOCU – has to remain confidential until the accused is placed on trial. To let out such info into the public realm is to conduct the trial of a person – who is only under SUSPICION – right now by the press. Worse when the info is directly leaked to the press.
This development is a fatal indictment of SOCU. The leak must be investigated and the leaker punished.

…on Ramayya
The REO of Region 6, Ramayya, has had a chequered career in politics. But your Eyewitness wouldn’t wish what happened to him on his worst enemy. Nominated by the AFC, he didn’t expect PPP support. But to be abandoned by the AFC and APNU? Jeez…that’s cold!
So “cornered from three sides”, he was forced to exit from the fourth.

Taking care…

…of the boys
Your Eyewitness is worried about the implications of all those military types being parachuted into top policymaking positions in this Administration – headed by an ex-Brigadier. The PPP sounded an early warning in the elections campaign when several military big wigs suddenly shed their epaulets and hopped onto the political platforms of APNU/AFC. “A militarised government” was what they worried about.
After the elections the warnings were intensified when the floodgates opened even wider for the “army boys” in all kinds of official positions. President Granger brushed off their criticisms. Aren’t Army veterans not Guyanese? Don’t they have skills that can be utilised? And more to the point, didn’t the PPP also employ some of veterans?
Well, while Prezzie’s points are well taken, your Eyewitness humbly suggests he missed the point of the concerns expressed. While the PPP did hire a few veterans, Prezzie doesn’t have to be a statistician to appreciate that “the quantitative can alter the qualitative”. You start out with a green solution but you keep on adding red dye to it…what happens after a while? Go to the head of the class, dear reader…that’s right!! The green solution becomes red.
And that’s what lots of folks fear. Sure ex-military people are Guyanese. But they’re Guyanese of a special type – they’ve each spent more than 20 years of indoctrination into a “military way of thinking. So when we hear they can “manage” organisations”…they’ll manage them the way they were trained by the MILITARY to do so. And now the majority of the President’s inner core of advisors are all ex-military types, one begins to appreciate the PPP’s worry about what kind of democracy we may have when all these fellas were used to only hearing “Yes Sir!!!” when they gave ORDERS.
Or worry about of advice they’ll give to distribute the scarce resources of the State. Look at this scenario. All sorts of people have worked for the State and drawn their salaries and after retirement, collect their old age pensions like the rest of the country when that time arrived. This is what public servants get. This is what nurses get. This is what firemen get. But if the Commission of Inquiry the President just commissioned has its way…it won’t be what ex-soldiers, ex-national service and ex-Peoples Militia will get.
The CoI will be recommending “legislation to provide for the welfare of veterans and their dept’s” and 20 other line items – including counselling for PTSD! Now in some countries, military types gets special benefits because of their “battle experience”.
But in Guyana, haven’t Policemen faced more battles?

…of procurement
Even some of those who saw through the venality in the ongoing “Pharma-ware-housegate” misunderstood the difference between “sole sourcing” and the “pre-qualification” procedure previously used to bid for the bulk of our pharmaceutical supplies and other medical essentials. The latter was recommended by the World Health Organisation and World Bank (WHO/WB). No government in the world can place individual orders on a piecemeal, day to day basis. There’s a need for consolidation, reliability of supply and quality that must be considered. So companies that can handle the supply so chain requirements WHICH INCLUDE APPROPRIATE WAREHOUSING, are “pre-qualified.
It’s absolutely not “sole sourcing” where you just give a particular company the order. Cause even after pre-selection of the vendor, the MoH compares the prices of the pharmaceuticals against those of the INTERNATIONALLY vetted AND AUTOMATICALLY qualified suppliers such as PAHO, IPA etc. Guyanese are now learning why the pre-qualification criteria insisted on including “warehousing”.
Now that the APNU /AFC Government threw it out – their Minister felt he had to “facilitate” a ware “house”!!

…of broadcasting
The Prime Minister says he reposes confidence in the Chairman of Guyana National Broadcasting Agency’s Board but the latter has “problems”.
No. It has Tony Vieira!!