Well, here we are…Independence Day! When you woke up this morning, didn’t you feel that frisson of excitement coursing through your body? And jumped out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Or did you – like your Eyewitness – just wish you didn’t have to get up to face the same old trials and tribulations that make life in Guyana such a living hell?
Like risking life and limb – literally – to get to work in any part of the country. Does Independence mean we’ve achieved victory of mind over matter, and can hurl our vehicles into traffic with an abandon that defies the laws of physics, much less the traffic laws of the land? You’d think that after being ruled by the British for almost 200 years, we’d have picked up that quintessentially British habit of queuing up – whether at the market or at the DHB – wouldn’t you? But if you think that it means you’re still a hopeless colonial subject and don’t realise that Independence means you can – and SHOULD – “bore” to the head of any line! Or throw the wrapping of whatever you’ve just eaten out of your car windows…
Anyhow, your Eyewitness can hear you mutter, “Enough with the kvetching! Surely, there must be SOME positives that came out of our Independence.” Well, it’s now three hours after he wrote that sentence, and he must confess he’s stumped! He was looking out his office windows. At Independence, Georgetown was such a beautiful city, with its canals and lovely colonial buildings. It was known far and wide as the “Garden City”. Now, City Hall is a living testament of its fall into the “Garbage City”. Never mind the dozens of multi-storeyed boxes popping up all over the place. Obviously, their owners haven’t noticed the demise of shopping malls!
And let’s not get started on our living conditions. At Independence, our bauxite workers were some of the highest paid workers in the Caribbean. After 24 years of the PNC rule following Independence, look where they are now – even though they named their town after the dictator Burnham!! While the sugar workers were worse off in wages and working conditions, at least 28,000 of them still had jobs. Today, 7000 of the remaining 14,000 were thrown into the streets by the PNC when they shuttered more than half of the sugar plantations!
And your Eyewitness isn’t even going to mention the COVID-19 pandemic – which he was told is an “act of God?” – even as others insist it’s an act of the Chinese!
But the way things are going, that may be a distinction in search of a difference! Money makes the world go round!
And us Independent, no?
At Independence, there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth at our “lack of unity”. Some fella said we got a “state” but not a “nation”. Meaning that the PPP had devised and the British had bequeathed a flag, a Motto, a Coat of Arms, a Constitution, a National Song etc – the paraphernalia of statehood – but we Guyanese were racially divided.
Ironically, the same people wringing their hands were the ones who’d actually CAUSED the divisions!! In 1953, there were no divisions when the united PPP overwhelmingly won the elections, were there? It was only when Burnham pulled out – after he demanded “leader or nothing” – that the serpent of division entered our politics.
And that position has never left the PNC he created in his image, has it? Democracy means taking a chance and convincing the majority of the people to vote for you. But, for the PNC, that means they MIGHT lose.
And this they’ll never accept. So, the divisions will always be there!
GPL announced they’re about to install another 46MW of generating capacity to our grid. And we know 250MW will be added at Wales. But does this mean the end of blackouts? Independence?
Not if the transmission isn’t fixed?