The horror of the head-on collision between a siren-screaming Police car – which usually acts as the forerunner for the President’s convoy from Pearl on the EBD – and a civilian car, which took five lives with another hanging in the balance, is slowly sinking into a shocked Guyanese populace.
If the thrill of the Amazon Warriors’ victories and the agony of its ultimate defeat brought this nation together, so has this disaster. Your Eyewitness extends his sympathy to the bereaved families of the deceased and prayers for the recovery of the one spared in the carnage.
The President has ordered a CoI into the accident but we must admit this was an accident waiting to happen. Which Guyanese hasn’t experienced – either as a driver on the roads or as a passenger – the frantic efforts of drivers trying to get out of the way of these sirens-with-flashing-lights convoys escorting one or the other big one on our roads? And asked querulously whether they were necessary?? Your Eyewitness isn’t talking about ambulances, since he expects those are using the sirens and flashing lights to save lives – even though he sometimes has his doubts!
Let’s talk about the phenomenon in general before turning to the particulars of this horrendous accident. Let’s face it…these sirens and flashing lights with outriders in a convoy are really status symbol for those who want to literally and figuratively “announce” their arrival, aren’t they?? Even though it’s we the people who’ve put them into their offices to work on our behalf, they can’t wait to enjoy the perks (immediate salary raises?) plus this public display of their power , which was introduced by the British to clear the “natives” out of the way.
India, which has some of the most overcrowded roads in the world, banned the use of the sirens and flashing lights for officials since May 2017. And the functioning of their Government hasn’t collapsed yet, has it?? In fact, it was one of the points that made Modi garner a larger majority in his re-election bid!! The people appreciated not being driven like cattle from the roads!
Now to this particular accident. If the President didn’t want to sleep at the State House (because of that horrid colour he had it painted?!) why didn’t he use his home a stone’s throw away from the Ministry of the Presidency?? Why rebuild his deceased brother’s house all the way up the East Bank – with the most congested road in Guyana – just to sleep?? As a security expert, didn’t he appreciate the security and logistical nightmare that presented??
Well, he converted his house to the Burnham Foundation, to preserve his mentor’s legacy, that’s why!!
The PNC uber alles!!
…includes another “small party”??
Your Eyewitness was a tad disappointed that the new LJP – the Amerindian Party, notwithstanding the protestations of its leader Shuman – was in “discussions” with APNU. Disappointed, but not surprised. After all, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s the Amerindians who’ll be the difference between the PNC and PPP come the next elections. Whenever that might be!! It also didn’t take a genius to figure out that anyone who could credibly claim to have some Amerindian support would be holding some pretty strong cards in his hands.
Now Shuman, as a past outspoken head of the Toshaos Council, already had the visibility. But the question is: why would Shuman talk to the PNC BEFORE the elections? The only reason would be to enter the “coalition”. And the more pertinent question now becomes, why in hell would he want that when he saw how the PNC chewed up the AFC and spit them out?
But it is human greed and its capacity to befuddle reason that made your Eyewitness not surprised!!
Your Eyewitness is always leery when governments get involved with culture – especially when the primary focus is “monetising” it.
Inevitably, it ends up with artistes asked to prostitute themselves. Read Martin Carter’s account with Burnham circa 1970.