They say, “Behind every dark cloud there’s a silver lining”. And there certainly have been dark clouds over Guyana after Minister Ramson dared suggest there needs to be more role models in the African-Guyanese community when it came to “money-making”. He situated his remarks within the context of an African-Guyanese business partnership being given a contract in a new area of expertise. Which led to criticism from the same community that the partners were being favoured to gain an entry into the Opposition “constituency”.
Now, such criticisms displayed an ignorance of the business “conglomerate” model – where one entity runs businesses in totally different specialties – being the norm in Guyana. Have they forgotten that our first world-renowned business – Bookers – was such a conglomerate, with operations in every sector of the British Guianese economy that the country was called “Bookers Guiana”!! Didn’t D’Aguiar follow suit with sweet drinks to restaurants to “banks” – the beer AND the place that lends money!!?
Anyhow, your Eyewitness followed closely the outraged reactions from sections of the African-Guyanese community. And what did he learn?? That sincerity and good intentions don’t matter – especially when it’s coming from politicians. It was like when Dr Jagan was addressing some ex-pat Guyanese in Canada and he spoke about what could be done about “Blacks who were at the bottom of the social ladder”. For his entire life – which soon ended – he’d fought for the poor, and thought he was merely DESCRIBING a sociological fact that needed to be addressed, not PRESCRIBING one!! But he was hauled over the coals in Guyana and forced to apologize. Interestingly, some of those same critical Afrocentric groups later held a conference here on “the Plight of the African Guyanese” in those same socio-economic areas!!
For Minister Ramson, the reaction was just as personalised and brutal from the same constituency that bemoans the differential positions of the African Guyanese community in the economy. So, the lesson? Well, even though mentoring, role models, and networking are three key elements of professional personal development, career planning and progression in the modern business world’s culture, in Guyana, these bases are covered for African-Guyanese by African-Guyanese. As Dr Jagan did, the Minister should simply admit he was evidently suffering from a misapprehension, and apologise for his suggestion.
But the larger question remains: how’s PPP Government to fulfill its campaign promise to court African- Guyanese and create “One Guyana”? Since they hold the reins of Government – which controls such a large proportion of the GDP – are African-Guyanese contractors automatically “Uncle Toms” if they get contracts?
And should the Government disavow affirmative action for African-Guyanese in the economy because that implies they need help there?
…with 6th Forms
Well, finally, history was made in the “Cinderella County” – as the tone-deaf authorities insist on calling Essequibo! – when the Minister of Education declared the first 6th form open at Anna Regina Secondary. This is 154 years after Queen’s College was opened in Georgetown with its 6th form – so it could send its graduates to universities in England. We should note that only UG accepts 5 CXC 10th grade passes to be accepted. The GOAL programmes highlighted that all those free degree courses in Indian Universities and UWI also need at least two passes of the equivalent of 12th Grade CAPE.
So, just like with Essequibo just having a fixed 33,000 acres of rice to keep them going – guaranteeing a constant out-migration to Georgetown or abroad – the ceiling on education did the same for the young. But now that they have a 6th form, suitable jobs have to be created to keep the bright youngsters there.
Essequibo is ours – let them join the rest of Guyana.
…from rum and coke
Your Eyewitness breathed a sigh of relief when CANU confirmed that the coke intercepted in Netherlands was inserted into the shipment of rum AFTER it left Guyana.
We can’t afford to stain our rum‘s world-class branding.