Bread and more bread

Dear Editor,
I recently saw a news item indicating that a Surinamese company, with the assistance of an investment by the IDB, would be opening a bakery(ies) in Guyana.
My immediate thought went to the fate of the bakeries, large and small, in Guyana. While I know that competition is good, and invariably bring down prices, in the “long run” that is NOT ALWAYS a universal truth. There is always the possibility that monopolies, when allowed, control the supply and therefore, prices. With restrictions, however, eg. price controls; laws against monopolies especially regarding consumer items like food items, etc. can serve to mitigate against serious repercussions, mainly price increases.
I suggest these should be bread, in the form of “food for thought”.
The food item in question also brought back memories, hilarious and otherwise.
I remember the story of a political speech being given by a former Regional Chairman of Region Two, telling his supporters (to justify Burnham banning wheat) that man shall not live by bread alone, and for emphasis spelt the food item, BRED, whereupon someone reminded him that he left out the “a” and he quickly corrected himself by re-spelling it BREDA.
I remember traders bringing in bread by bag loads through the ports of Guyana, mainly from Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
I remember having friends who worked at one port of entry and boasted of having lived on bread and sardines (also banned) chasing it done with Johnnie Walker (also banned) all seized from incoming passengers.
During the years of the Burnham bans, many persons became exceedingly rich as a result of the banned items being smuggled into the country and selling them at exorbitant prices. I have personal knowledge of this, as the food cooked at my wedding (as well as thousands of others) comprised of potatoes, flour, split peas, channa, onions, etc. etc. ALL banned items.
It is debatable if this was the period that bribery and corruption of politicians, police and customs officers and others, became a cancer in Guyana, that has persisted to today.
Those who are still around today remember “perceived” supporters of the two political parties being treated differently by law enforcement officers. While some were given a “free pass” other were irrationally penalized. I distinctly remember a known supporter of the PPP being convicted for selling a box of matches for ONE cent above the controlled price. Imagine the price of matches having to be “controlled”!!!
While I know I have strayed from BREAD, they all relate to the repercussions (and the resulting repression) of the banning that took place under the PNC administration, and as information for those too young to know of this period in Guyana’s history
Getting back to BREAD, and on a lighter side, I firmly believe that in days gone by, in the sixties, those in jail enjoyed the best tasting BREAD. I lived in Regent Street in a tenement yard, where a tenant was a person who transported BREAD to the prison from a bakery, and would “drop off” a couple of loaves to his family, and shared with my family, which I recall was the best tasting bread I ever had (with the exception, of course, those my wife baked, later) and possibly those sent by my mother (also later) to be baked in Gonsalves’ ovens at his bakery at Hardina and Bent Streets.
Finally, I can only hope that the Venezuelans stop seizing our fishermen’s boats so that with the Surinamese bread, Guyanese would be able to replicate Jesus’ bread and fish miracle, sorely needed at this time of the pandemic.

H.N. Nawbatt