Mixing… and Mashing (toes)

Your Eyewitness must confess he’s a sucker for patriotic displays. Some may knock the “nation state” as an imperial creation, to divide and conquer us “oppressed of the earth” – but hey!! – it’s all we got in this part of the world to rally around, ain’t it?? Without that flag and coat of arms and motto and all the appurtenances of statehood, we’ll just be a motley agglomeration of flotsam and jetsam that were dumped onto these shores!! And have never really jelled!
So, your Eyewitness stayed up to midnight – long past his bedtime!! – to see our Golden Arrowhead raised against the backdrop of those “bombs bursting in the air”!! And was hit with that frisson of excitement, as always!! But the question that floated to the fore after all the inspection of the Guard of Honour and the other pomp and ceremony, was to his fellow Guyanese citizens, “Will you still stand with me tomorrow”?? The PPP seemed pretty sure: “We are optimistic that the radiance of the colours in the costumes, the energy in the stage performances and parades, and the overwhelming display of Guyaneseness will carry through tomorrow, the day after, and beyond.”
President Ali, who, of course, gave his charge at the flag-raising ceremony at the Public Buildings, was a bit more circumspect. He said, “My hands remain open for friendship; my hands remain open to shade the vulnerable, to lead the weak, to guide the strong, to embrace all of us. It remains outstretched to the proposition of unity, to the proposition of hope, and to the dedication of country above self.” He was obviously speaking to the Opposition, who seem stuck in the recalcitrant mode of their leader. He crudely refused to shake the outstretched hand of the President at a function hosted by – of all people! – the Plenipotentiary of the old imperial power!!
And even though it didn’t seem relations could sink lower than that, the Opposition can’t be faulted for not giving it their best shot!! Imagine, after a year of offering alternatives to squatting at Mocha, they accuse the Government of being “racist” – after encouraging four out of 37 squatters to hold out for hundreds of millions! Those four may just lose corn and husk in the end. But what does the Opposition care – they’re just playing to the gallery!! Then there’s the Opposition Leader aggressively pronouncing the dozen young men charged with terrorism for the Mon Repos mayhem “Guilty”!! So now he’s the judge and jury??
Anyhow, yesterday wasn’t a good omen for the Republic celebrations, when it literally rained on the Mashramani Parade!! Looks like we got a whole lotta work to do before we arrive at the nirvana of “One Guyana”!

…and not filing
Back in 2002, Britain’s Tony Blair introduced the idea of the “Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative” (EITI) to encourage transparency in the global mining sector – including Oil and Gas. While there are now 57 members, the US withdrew in 2017. It supposedly signals to the international community that the operations in this sector are kosher. While your jaded Eyewitness knows it’s one of those “do as we say, and not as we do” organizations, that control us by having us jump through hoops, he accepts the line from the Desiderata: “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”!!
So the news that we – as a new oil producer in the centre of the O&G debate – just lost our approval from the EITI because we didn’t file the necessary paperwork for 2020 is VERY bad news. This will give leeway to those seeking to take advantage and cut more bad contracts, who must be rubbing their hands and chortling with glee!
President Ali has to roll some heads!!

Seems Monday, February 20 – three days before we became a Republic – was World Day of Social Justice. Your Eyewitness is confused. Wasn’t this delivered when we got Queen Elizabeth’s knee off our necks back in 1966??