An eye for an eye…

…will make everyone blind
Your Eyewitness felt very sad this Good Friday. And no, it’s not because of its religious rationale; after all, he’s assured the day is “good” because it gives even a dissolute wretch like yours truly a chance to redeem himself before he croaks. Kind of a “get out of hell card”, no? His sorrows are about the latest development in the Henry cousins’ – Joel and Isaiah – murder in West Berbice. The arrest of Mark, aka “Chipsman”, the 24-year-old brother of Joel, for the murder of his neighbour, 68-year-old Deochand, aka “Sarjie.”
What makes it especially poignant is that, just a year ago, Chipsman wouldn’t even have addressed Sarjie without a respectful “Uncle” prefix. That’s how it used to be in those once bucolic, anonymous villages on the way to Berbice. Even though they might’ve each been dominated by either African or Indian Guyanese, some were mixed, and all got along with each other. Remember the reaction of Isaiah’s father after his murder?
While some may think that it’s the murders that have now irretrievably changed the W Berbice villages…that’s only the edge of a massive, dark cloud that has descended over them. And this is all due to the rhetoric of the PNC in general, and of Granger and Harmon in particular, when they went to supposedly “comfort” the distraught families. Without a scintilla of evidence, they brought a political nexus into the tragic killings, and in the context of Guyana, that meant “race”.
Even though another youth – this time the Indian boy Haresh Singh – was later murdered, the PNC and their supporters raised an international hue and cry about “justice for the Henrys”, castigating the authorities for dragging their feet, and raising the ire of relatives like Chipsman. After demanding that the Government fund him, an Argentinian forensic archaeologist was brought, even though his specialty – DNA identification of unidentified bodies – wasn’t needed. This raised feelings of injustice even further.
Even after the Police arrested and remanded three suspects, the PNC and their camp followers maintained their skepticism. The drumbeats demanding “justice” continued unabated, and by now it has become like a Greek Tragedy, where you know that something horrible’s going to happen, but you just don’t know when. And the “when” is now.
The pressures on young Chipsman must’ve been immense. His brother and cousin were horribly killed, he was assured by his leaders that it was racially motivated and scapegoats were arrested. And the Police had picked up Sagie, but released him.
So what if it’s almost impossible for a 68-year-old pensioner to fire chops to almost sever the heads of those poor kids?
Tragedies never end well.

…if you work on Good Friday
One of the charms of living in Guyana – the land of six peoples – is that we inherited a lot of stories and superstitions. And sometimes it’s pretty difficult to keep them apart! Good Friday is one of those days of the year that generated all sorts of stories in Christian countries. And the one that’s most prevalent in Guyana is that you absolutely SHOULDN’T WORK on Good Friday!
This probably arose from the exhortation for Christians to spend the day reflecting on the significance of Jesus’s crucifixion on this day. But it was highly unlikely that our planters were particularly pious – except for “saving the souls” of the poor Africans by enslaving and working them to death, of course! In that they were most diligent! But, more prosaically, it was likely that with accidents in the fields or factories occurring with greater frequency on Good Friday, correlation became causation.
Of the 30 countries designating Good Friday a public holiday, half of them are in the Caribbean!

…and another vaccine for the virus
Well, the Sputnik has landed! Not the Sputnik I – the first satellite launched successfully into space and left the Americans red faced – but Sputnik-V, the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine.
Will the Americans now respond and share some of their vaccines?