In the US, coming out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s – which led to large governmental efforts to alleviate the poverty in black neighbourhoods— there evolved a new phenomenon: the “Poverty Pimp”. In the words of Thomas Sowell, the black Harvard Sociologist, “There are whole classes of people who live off the poor, or rather, off the vast sums of money that are poured out from the public treasury and private philanthropy, in hopes of helping the poor”.
“Those who intercept the money intended for the poor have been aptly called “Poverty Pimps”. The poor are a commodity to these people, who include not only local politicians, community activists and small-time hustlers, but also people with impressive titles and academic credentials, who likewise milk the larger society, in the name of the poor”.
Your Eyewitness realised the “Poverty Pimp” phenomenon had reached our shores after recent revelations about the activities of a coterie from ACDA, which was supposed to be dedicated to the “development” of African Guyanese. The group has been around since 1992, but when one looks around, one would be hard pressed to see what exactly they’ve done for their constituency. What they’ve done for themselves, however, is now out in the open!! And no one’s even mentioned their stints with ‘Guyana Goldfields’!!
Sowell’s satirical poem, “Poverty Pimps”, describes them well: “Let us celebrate the poor, let us hawk them door to door. There’s a market for their pain, votes and glory and money to gain”.
“Let us celebrate the poor. Their ills, their sins, their faulty diction. Flavour our songs and spice our fiction. Their hopes and struggles and agonies, get us grants and consulting fees. Celebrate thugs and clowns, give their ignorance all renown. Celebrate what holds them down, in our academic gowns. Let us celebrate the poor”.
One critic of “Poverty Pimps”, offered some clues on “how to know a poverty pimp”, from which you can easily recognise the local practitioners: 1) When they start a series of for-profit ventures to “fund” they’re not for-profit …and but the profits remain in their pockets. 2) When getting financial donations has become the vast majority of their effort and time and not actually working WITH the poor.
3) When they’ve become really, really, really good at using race, class and gender discussions to prevent any criticism of what they’re doing. 4) When their offices are furnished much better than anything their clients will ever own in their entire lifetime. 5) When most of the money for their “advocacy” group goes for four star hotels and platinum credit cards for their executives. Remember the ABR launch at the Marriott?
And where’d that $68M to IDPAD go??
Well, to be truthful, what’s going on in the negotiations between the caretaker President and the Opposition Leader on the list from which to select the next GECOM Chair is not just “eye pass”, but “rass pass”!! Imagine Granger finally found 4 of the 11 names Jagdeo had resubmitted “not unacceptable”!! So why in God’s name did he tell the Guyanese people the OL was showing “bad faith” to resubmit those names?? Is he getting senile in his dotage??
But more insulting to all of us was to suggest that the OL now add the two names he’d “shortlisted” from his 8 and add them to the four to make up the “list of six names”!! Does he really think Jagdeo is so daft as not to see this oh-so transparent ploy?? Your Eyewitness expects the OL will submit two additional names of his own – with the requisite “judge-like” qualities.
And let Granger once again reveal that he just wants to have his list and compile it too!!
…divisions being widened
Your Eyewitness notes with regret the racial fissures in our society widening into chasms over the stand caretaker Granger has taken on the selection of the GECOM Chair – especially with the youths.
Weren’t they supposed to lead us out of the race morass?