…to ground reality
Your Eyewitness wonders who’s advising the consortium of oil companies on their PR. Here on one hand, you had the self-defined elite of Guyana “knocking glasses” with the oil execs at the Marriott and on the other, the masses turning out at the seawall bandstand to look with open mouths at fireworks provided by the GDF and the IOC’s. Blink your eyes and you can see the local colour-defined elite of the last century knocking glasses with the colonial governors at the Georgetown Club and Watooka Club while the natives pressed their noses – if they were lucky – on the show cases on Water Street!!
As one sees Raphael Trotman in the thick of things, questions have to be raised about whether he’ll be allowed to get away with the crime he committed against the people of Guyana, when he signed along the dotted line on that infamous contract of 2016. Every year since, there have been contracts signed in so many other “frontier” destinations – all infinitely more equitable for the owners of the oil resource. Why not us??
Just the other week, Suriname signed an oil contract where they got three times the royalty we got PLUS ONE HUNDRED MILLION US DOLLARS signing bonus!! Yes, dear reader, we got a lousy US$18 million bonus – which would’ve been more appropriately described in local parlance as a “freck”!! Maybe Trotman and Jordan hid it away because they didn’t want to face the question – which eventually were transmuted from “why peanuts” to “why did you hide the peanuts”??
As he saw the gliteratti at the Marriott, your Eyewitness’ mind went back to that account by an imperial poet as to the reaction of our native people to the arrival of Columbus: “There was an Indian, who had known no change,/ Who strayed content along a sunlit beach/ Gathering shells. He heard a sudden strange/ Commingled noise: looked up; and gasped for speech.
For in the bay, where nothing was before,/ Moved on the sea, by magic, huge canoes/ With bellying cloths on poles, and not one oar,/ And fluttering coloured signs and clambering crews.
And he, in fear, this naked man alone,/ His fallen hands forgetting all their shells,/ His lips gone pale, knelt low behind a stone,/ And stared, and saw, and did not understand,/ Columbus’s doom-burdened caravels /Slant to the shore, and all their seaman land.”
Today, the “doom burdened caravels” are a million times larger; have no billowing sails, and can’t even be seen. But what we do have, thanks to Trotman and the PNC, are the modern-day trinkets and beads being exchanged for our black gold, this time!!
And it’s our 50th Republic Day!! Oh…the irony!!
…to Caretaker Status
Granger lives in a bubble – a bubble created by his mentor Forbes Burnham back in the seventies after he proved to be pliable enough to earn the dictator’s trust. Unlike the older officers, he didn’t giggle when Burnham strutted around in a Two-star general’s outfit and demanded that all the officers swear personal loyalty to him (Burnham”! It looks like one lesson he learnt from Burnham was speak in categorical terms as if he alone was possessed of TRUTH!!
Take the status he was forced to concede kicking and screaming, almost a year after that legal NCM was passed: that he was a caretaker president heading a caretaker government. But he’s really only given lip service to that concession: in every respect, he’s carried on just as he did before the NCM. And this is what voters must remember on March 2nd: you don’t need a flambeau to see in bright daylight.
To rub salt into the wound of the body politic, Granger insists he’ll abolish the NCM!!
…to real needs
Granger couldn’t find funds to keep sugar going, but boasted he built the People’s Militia to 1,500 members from the 125 in January, 2015. He said the Militia “resulted in a timely response to threats and emergencies”!! Did we miss these??