Can we talk…

…about what ails us?
The ERC recently sent out a notice to the public at large to solicit their views on “How do we improve ethnic relations”. This is supposed to be a follow-up on their “National Discussion” back in December when they invited most of the usual suspects who flood our media – including social media – with their race vitriol that cause so many of our problems. We were assured by the ERC that after we ordinary slobs were exposed to (the self-serving drivel of) the panellists, peace and hope would reign over the land.
However, as your Eyewitness listened and looked on, he’d wondered whether the exercise was supposed to be some kind of catharsis for the panellists so they’d leave all drained of their venom and less inclined to stoke ethnic flames in the society! But if that were so, it certainly didn’t work. The National Discussion had barely finished when all hell broke out over some nasty accusations hurled at the Chair of the ERC. Seems he’d been doling out huge, unauthorised bonuses to himself, his Commissioners and his staff. No one excused the fella for perhaps recognising that since he was chairing the nominated collection of diverse interests in the country, maybe he’d concluded that paying them off was the only way to bring peace to our beleaguered country!
The citizenry was split on the Chairman’s action in the same manner as to how they’d voted – that is down the middle between PPP and PNC. Which in Guyana means, Indian and African Guyanese with the rest of the populace forced to take sides. Anyhow, now that the dust has settled over the Chairman’s intemperate generosity with the taxpayers’ money, they’ve now launched their new “can we talk” initiative.
You, Dear Readers, can send in written, spoken or videoed contributions as to how we can improve ethnic relations. Thing is, if we the people have the answers to this conundrum, why would we need an ERC and spend more than $200 million every year on them?? Didn’t the powers-that-be form and launch the ERC with their 24 goals to come up with initiatives to deal with our Ethnic Dilemmas?
As your Eyewitness has said, time and again before, the Government and the Opposition should go back to the drawing board and reconceptualise what kind of institution is really necessary in this area. For all we know, maybe the fault lies in the persons on the Commission? And if this is so, maybe it’s necessary to establish some different criteria for selecting them.
In the meantime, the lame-duck ERC should do some intense self-reflection and tell the Guyanese people, where they think THEY went wrong.
A mea culpa.

…about crime?
The ERC’s initiative might be better directed at citizens to talk about crime since they’re the ones at the receiving end. Your Eyewitness frankly doesn’t give a flying hoot about the police statistics. He has a better gauge on what’s going on from the newspapers and social media. And these tell him that crime is spiralling out of control!
The people of Guyana have enough tensions from the PNC’s hijinks that periodically end up with violence erupting in the society. Think about it – every episode of civic unrest and violence emanates from the PNC – starting all the way back to the 1960s. The latest outburst was in W Berbice last year and from the belligerent noises coming from their camp, everyone’s waiting for the foot to drop. Then, of course, there’s the COVID-19 pandemic that has created new tensions, which the criminals in our midst are exploiting.
A national conversation would show that all communities are suffering from the criminal upsurge.
Maybe this might lower ethnic tensions!

…about COVID-19 vaccination?
Your Eyewitness has gotten his shot! And is proud to report it was done so efficiently, a hat tip to the MoH for their efficient preparations!
Now if only the rich countries would share their vaccines!