Suggestions by Lincoln Lewis, Melinda Janki are laughable

Dear Editor,
Separate letters to the editor by Lincoln Lewis and Melinda Janki share the theme of ‘Ignorance’: Janki posits that ignorance is prevalent due to a lack of good teachers, which is caused by a lack of good pay for teachers; and Lewis speaks of the ignorance of obeah as a religion.
Janki’s contributions on the prevalence of ignorance are self-proving, as her solutions are mired in a spectacular display: “Pay teachers the same as MPs, ministers, or the president”.
Firstly, graduate teachers (and upwards), which make up the bulk of the teachers, earn more than MPs presently.
Secondly, Ministers’ salaries (approx. $900K monthly) look good until the job description is examined: There are no days off, no free nights, no overtime, no August/Christmas/Easter holidays; and, of course, there is blame for every wrong done in the sector (a pin drops in Lethem, Minister to blame in Georgetown).
There is personal vilification of the vilest variety, and, of course, the occasional bit of ‘obeah’.
Thirdly, there are only 16 Ministers, and raising the pay of 14,000 teachers to that level would give us a monthly wage bill of $12.6 TRILLION, or $151.2 trillion annually. The current budget for the entire country is $1.4 trillion by comparison.
There is no need to make comparisons with the President’s job and pay, as I am sure that was included for attention.
Janki’s second solution suggests that if all Government officials send their children to public schools, there would be an immediate improvement in the schools. This is ironic when you consider ALL the Government officials mentioned are products of Government schools, and Ministers have to fight schedules to spend time helping their children to prepare for Common Entrance and CXC exams, a luxury more readily available to other parents with less demanding jobs.
Janki’s third and final suggestion: a test of MPs’ competence, reeks of arrogance and ignorance. One would ask who sets the test (Janki?) and who decides the correct answers? Would the CCJ, for example, be enjoined (once again) to pronounce on the math segment? The courts have just decided that Janki and co. have no right to examine the Exxon guarantee to the EPA; how many would have gotten that answer correct on Janki’s exam? A ‘solution’ should not create a quagmire from which there is no exit.
To his credit, Lincoln Lewis makes an eloquent defence of Obeah with much merit, save and except his failure to balance his theoretical arguments of the value of the Obeah religion with what it has devolved into locally.
I posit that the practice of Obeah in Guyana is no longer religious. There are no churches/congregations, and there are no open proponents/ priests who can or will explain the workings and significance of obeah rituals. Obeah is a diasporic practice that is derived from various West African traditions; and it is separate from established African religions, such as Orisha – which is practised openly, has churches, and is recognized as such worldwide.
Obeah, conversely, has become the domain of charlatans, who fleece the simple-minded as the latter seek solace, love, protection, and revenge by supernatural means. Lewis would do well to share his knowledge of Obeah and the meanings of its rituals, as information is sorely lacking.
If Obeah is to be taken seriously as a religion, its practitioners must treat Obeah as a serious religion; organize and inform. I am tempted to ask if Lincoln Lewis is advised by an Obeahman or Obeah woman in his trade union dealings, as so far it has left him President of a union with no working membership. Talk about black magic, that trick takes the cake!
Editor, what both missives prove beyond doubt is that ignorance exists, but we cannot improve our education by utilising ignorant solutions. Janki would throw money at the problem, and Lewis would have us introduce religious education in a secular school system. Both are seemingly ignorant of the whirlwind one reaps when one sows the wind. Janki would see us having to find trillions to pay public service workers annually, and Lewis would have our children spending time learning of every known religion, and possibly becoming susceptible to exploitation by charlatans, not to mention being unprepared for Janki’s MP exams.
The suggestions of this duo would be laughable if they were made in a rum shop, but they have to be answered following publication, lest the seeds take root and spout a garden of ignorant weeds.

Robin Singh