Recently, the Government information arm reported that a multimillion-dollar tertiary dormitory at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, will soon be commissioned. The facility is to house students from the hinterland who are in the process of pursuing higher education. Also, a report carried by another arm of the State media apparatus noted that the opening of immigration offices at Linden and New Amsterdam, has been delayed due to technical issues.
These are commendable and welcomed projects that are expected to increase convenience and comfort through the respective services they provide. However, one cannot help noticing that the aesthetics of the exterior of both are dominated by shades of the colour green. The hue on the dormitory is far darker and pronounced.
Green, which is the colour of choice of the dominant party in the coalition Government; the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), appears to represent its presence, works and a desired legacy. Since May 2015, it has been used to cover many existing State buildings and new construction undertaken by the Government in an exposition of its “call card”.
As a reminder, the Ministry of the Presidency has been repainted in green which is also the colour of choice of its spanking new and imposing fence. The historical State House was also dowsed in green much to the dissatisfaction of those who are concerned with preserving its authenticity.
Bridges, new and renovated, and some other public establishments were not spared from the brush that stroked green as the Government’s iconic project; D’Urban Park. Even official stationery, including envelopes, from some Ministries are green. This recolouring cannot be seen as chance, but clearly as a calculative move to impose dominance of that ruling party’s colour.
In both cases of the dormitory and the immigration offices, it appears that the extensive use of the colour green was deliberate in the ongoing effort for its dominance through political branding by the coalition Government. In doing so, it offers the literal manifestation of creating a green society; naturally way off course from the real purpose and expectation.
Over the years, local political parties have become easily recognisable by colour where the identification through pigmentation may have superseded name. “Painting the town red” can therefore now connote something completely different in the current circumstances.
Many are peeved and have noted their concerns over the Government’s use of its dominant party colour on the State’s real estate. From what continues seemingly unabated in that regard, it can be interpreted as a form of indoctrination, especially of young minds through the colour green, what it now seems to represent in Guyana and which has nothing to do with the country’s immense agricultural potential and forest as reflected on the national flag.
That indoctrination can unmistakably inculcate that green, in the context of its use, is a sign of dominance, it’s unblemished, the natural choice and one that must reign superior over any other. By association, these sentiments can possibly be instilled into young minds over time, thereby enhancing that dominance. Holding government makes it much easier to execute.
Reportedly, the Head of State’s claim of being unaware of the need for permission to repaint State House. With his known passion, writings and exploits in history, his knowledge of the value of monuments and heritage buildings cannot be in doubt. They are generally erected or designated because of its historical value, impact and what they represent.
It is believed that State House may have some protection through the National Trust. That would suggest that, like monuments in various parts, any refurbishing or altering the aesthetics, must be approved by the assigned protective body. If not, it can be considered an act of defacing a national landmark.
Some argue such an issue, the repainting State House, is not of national concern. What they might have missed, probably conveniently, is that the protection of these landmarks are institutionalised and at the least, must be afforded the respect of informing of the intention to alter. It should be noted that taxpayers’ monies fund both the repainting project and the officials of the National Trust.
Imposing dominance through a politically identifiable colour here in Guyana can negatively impact efforts for social cohesion, which, ironically, the designated Ministry was established by the Government and through which millions of taxpayers’ dollars are being spent to help build a cohesive society. The various acts of foisting green upon the nation also probably exposes the ineffectiveness of that Ministry.
Some may have already seen that as a foregone conclusion and very possibly, it may be the biggest impact of the paint brushes given the reality of a divided nation and the seemingly fragile state of togetherness. While the fragility has definitely been impacted by other factors, when actions of the State are seen as a direct influence, the intention to forge cohesion may not be seen as genuine.
Well into its fourth year, it appears that the Government is impervious to the related criticisms and impact of colour coding. Had it not, more than likely the dormitory and the immigration office would not have reflected shades of green.