What Guyanese want

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL & WORLD NEWS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, Amidst the del­uge of con­tentions, ex­pert opin­ions, gov­ern­ment po­si­tions, and op­po­si­tion ob­jec­tions, I must ask whether any­one has paused to con­sider what mat­ters to John and Mary Pub­lic? What re­ally mat­ters to them and hurts their heads? What are their vi­tal pri­or­i­ties, what makes hearts race or heavy? Here is what I think.

The or­di­nary cit­i­zen - young or old, ed­u­cated or not, work­ing or not, loaded or not - could care less about con­cepts and cal­cu­la­tions and pro­jec­tions; the swarm of pos­tures and dis­agree­ments means noth­ing other than echoes of sound and fury best ig­nored. Ab­strac­tions all, they are to th­ese folks. De­spite all they heard of oil, it is still in the fu­ture and noth­ing in the pocket right now. Re­call that por­tions of the pop­u­lace were thor­oughly dis­gusted with the way of life pre-2015. Too sickly, too nasty, too ugly. Cit­i­zens still voted as usual came May 2015, and for some in­de­fin­able rea­son there was hope in the air. Things will be dif­fer­ent, and on the up and up. In a few iso­lated re­spects, they have. A leader to re­gard well; al­beit un­usual and un­fath­omable; some in­ter­est in clean­li­ness in gov­er­nance; and a lim­ited drive to ef­fect change. This was wel­comed with­out full ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the per­sonal im­pli­ca­tions. Be care­ful what is asked for; it can up­turn the cash reg­is­ter and com­pass. For at the tan­gled murky cross­roads of the phys­i­cal and fi­nan­cial al­ley­ways of Guyanese life, things could not have been more apart from what was an­tic­i­pated, and what were hard re­al­i­ties on the way.

In the golden era of pre-2015, ad­ven­tur­ous peo­ple (small and large) had money in hand, both hands; yet an­other re­ward­ing hus­tle around the cor­ner; and the bare-chested machismo of coarse ar­ro­gant ar­riv­istes. There was ac­tion. It was end­less leg­ends of the swag­ger­ing nou­veau riche pros­per­ing at ev­ery rung, from ev­ery walk, and ev­ery dark hole. That was then.

Now there is the pierc­ing come­up­pance of AML and SoW, and CFATF, but who is lis­ten­ing? Who cares? Which Guyanese, high or low (es­pe­cially the strug­gling low) care about the gru­el­ing ef­forts against the tide by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Williams? Or of the specter and sig­nif­i­cance of black­list­ing? Those are for­eign lan­guages from for­eign cul­tures and should be re­sisted and de­nied. To­tally. Those are as wel­come as “ole higues” in a chil­dren’s ward. Just let me have the money and be done with the non­sense! Just like be­fore! Here is the pri­or­ity of pri­or­i­ties: from the gut, in the heart, and knees made weak from want­ing. Clean gov­ern­ment is nice and an­ticor­rup­tion is bet­ter, but not when that means tight­en­ing in the trenches and next to noth­ing on the side, then for­get about it. Money talks.

Sure, sure, it mat­ters that the chil­dren are vul­ner­a­ble, that qual­ity of life de­cays, and that “big fishes” use and abuse, crim­i­nalise and en­dan­ger the whole so­ci­ety. What mat­ters more is the money, way more. Oh yeah! In essence, Guyanese of ev­ery shade fer­vently pri­ori­tise the rich, rol­lick­ing, res­o­nance (fi­nan­cial) of a dirty un­of­fi­cial econ­omy. This is what mat­ters and counts in the bars, restau­rants, jew­el­ers, cloth­iers, and the end­less en­trails of con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion. All the evils en­gen­dered by that kind of econ­omy amount to the re­signed ac­cep­tance of col­lat­eral risks. An­ticor­rup­tion rings; cash rings louder, is more in­tox­i­cat­ing, more em­pow­er­ing. It is god, fam­ily, and so­cial mo­bil­ity. It is power, pres­tige also. The more of that kind of easy hon­eyed cash the bet­ter. Thus, cash pi­lots grew un­der the na­tional cam­ou­flage of busi­ness, and one dirty un­der­hand deal af­ter an­other. Let us have this money now; oil is still un­known and out of reach; like the prover­bial bird in the bush (un­der­wa­ter and in other peo­ple’s pock­ets).

Traf­fic is ter­ri­ble; and gov­ern­ment is strewn all over roads to some­where, but an­other car is wanted; the girl­friend (and greedy well-placed fa­cil­i­ta­tors) want one, too. Ven­dors, civil ser­vants, com­mer­cial and con­struc­tion peo­ple dream of liv­ing like Saudis. They do. No tax, no ac­count­abil­ity, no record­ing or re­port­ing. Hell, no over­sight! With this kind of jam who gives a hoot about traf­fic jams. For a long time, Guyanese at ev­ery strata and per­sua­sion have tasted and rel­ished the for­bid­den fruits of un­der­ground eco­nomic wis­dom. And the re­turns as well. They want more; all that can be had, and damn the con­se­quences, the deal­ing with the devil, and the pipers owed. They want it now. Gone are the fig leaves of shame and con­tri­tion; of the pride and dig­nity that the poor and pi­ous once had. Dirty money is still money. It buys the same things, and more of them, in­clud­ing many things once un­reach­able for many. This is the Guyanese dream. This is eas­ier and sweeter than pay­ing fair share or turn­ing one’s back on the un­think­able, the once un­doable.

Self-sac­ri­fice, ideals, ethics, val­ues, and coun­try first, all pos­sess stir­ring tran­scen­dence. They couldn’t buy a used, left­over bone for a low­down dog. Life on easy street and the ex­press cash lane (from any source) is what is warmly de­sired by lo­cals. Lis­ten, Com­rade Leader and start over. Lis­ten Mr AG and take your black­list and zip it. Lis­ten all the pun­dits out there in Guyana la la land: Hear the peo­ple. This is what Guyanese want. They want it now. Pri­or­ity No. 1: show me the money. Let me get at it. Pri­or­i­ties Nos. 2 to 10: Let me get at some more. Th­ese lav­ish mouth­wa­ter­ing real-life fan­tasies have some­what dis­ap­peared. Thank the gov­ern­ment. Therein is gov­ern­ment’s big­gest headache. This is pri­or­ity Guyana.

Yours faith­fully, GHK Lall Dear Ed­i­tor, I have just read your news­pa­per, page 5 where it states that “Trinidad flooded af­ter Met of­fice fore­casts sun.” When can we ever get it right? I hope that Kirk has strayed and can’t find us. Yours faith­fully, (Name and ad­dress sup­plied) Dear Ed­i­tor, I was deeply hon­oured on Fri­day, Septem­ber 28, 2018 to be at the fu­neral of Sarah In­sanally, the de­ceased wife of Guyana’s am­bas­sador to the USA, Dr Riyad In­sanally.

Held in her na­tive gar­den of Eng­land – Kent – it was an idyl­lic set­ting for a very sad event. Sarah was a won­der­ful woman, wife and mother, who bravely fought her brain can­cer for two decades. It is good that she has come ‘home’ to peace­ful rest. Yours faith­fully, John ‘Bill Cot­ton/Re­form’ Mair

Sun Mon Tues 30/09/18 01/10/18 02/10/18 08:30hrs 09:30hrs 10:30hrs

Sun Sept 30, 2018 07:35 - 09:05hrs Mon Oct 01, 2018 08:25 - 09:55hrs The open­ing lasts for 1 1/2 hours

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