Let us now…

…praise Cheddi Jagan
Wednesday will be Cheddi Jagan’s death anniversary, and while your Eyewitness can’t make it to Babu Jaan, he’d like to pay homage to the great man. He was going to say “Great soul”, but being a through-and-through Marxist, he doubts that Cheddi would’ve had any truck with such non-material notions! He followed Marx in insisting that “religion is the opium of the masses”. And he rejected opium!
Cheddi’s greatest contributions to Guyana were his commitment to improving the lot of the poor and his incorruptibility. While one can say the first was “natural”, because he’d come out of the sugar plantations, where most eked out a subsistence existence, it really wasn’t. He’d returned in 1943 as a qualified dentist with a “white wife”, and could’ve easily slipped into the incestuous and pretentious Coloured- stratified middle class of Georgetown, as so many professionals had done before; but, in the US, he’d detected the wind of change that was coming – especially after the 1939 Moyne Commission had promised an opening up of the franchise when the War was over.
Politics before him had been dominated by middle class politicians, who rationally targeted their peers – since only they qualified for the franchise. In the 1947 elections, held under a partially expanded franchise, Cheddi won a seat in the Legislature, and really shook that joint up! The old order of the Governor and his chosen cronies – both appointed by him and elected – had never been addressed so frankly! The killing of five sugar workers at Enmore, while protesting an arbitrary detrimental change in their work rules, made Cheddi into a prophet for them. Wasn’t this exactly what he’d been saying all along?
Cheddi wore his Marxist ideology on his sleeve, and has received most criticism for this. It’s seen as his Achilles heel that eventually brought him down politically. But he believed in “dialectical materialism” as a law as much as the law of gravity. So, he had no doubts that his position would be proven right in the end – even after he was thrown out in 1953, and again in 1964, by the West. While it might seem egoistic, he believed that he’d placed “The West on Trial”!
And after 28 years in the wilderness, he DID return to office! And so had the last laugh on his bete noir Burnham, whose grandiose plans had all collapsed ignominiously after all his Machiavellian scheming and plotting. They do say, “All smart flies…”! While he didn’t survive his term, he did show he wasn’t as doctrinaire as the West had feared. He governed pragmatically.
It was pleasing to hear Kennedy’s right-hand man Schlesinger apologize for deposing him.

…praise mediation
Well, while the teachers are still out on strike, the judicialization of politics has now seeped into labour relations. But, then again, labour relations in Guyana have always been indistinguishable from politics – probably having birthed it!! Even though the GTU and the Government have been unable to sit down and talk face-to-face about their demands and responses, once the matter entered the courts, the Judge immediately followed the new Civil Procedure Law and proposed an Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism – mediation!!
And immediately there was a change in the atmosphere! The GTU decided to leave their fiery General Secretary (and PNC MP!) home, while the Government’s legal point man – the Attorney General – found himself “travelling”!! The mediators chosen by the Solomonic Judge were two respected Senior Counsel from two generations ago, who are bereft of political baggage!!
So, we now got the delegations coming out of the meetings smiling and all effusive – without any previous sniping in evidence!
So, maybe tomorrow the teachers might be back with the children??

Maduro and President Ali exchanging gifts?? With Mad Maduro tearing up the Barbados Agreement for free and fair elections and ploughing ahead with his rigging ways, what makes anyone think the Argyle Declarations won’t suffer the same fate??