…the national fracas
For years now – in our vaunted “Land of six peoples” – our political culture has been largely shaped by the struggle for one-upmanship between our two numerically largest groups – Afro- and Indo-Guyanese. From one perspective, that ain’t too surprising, since – in the final reckoning – democracy boils down to numbers – no? But in the meantime, the other groups: the Portuguese, Amerindians, Chinese and the catch-all Mixed, have become fodder for “topping up” numbers needed for getting that needed majority!! After all, there ain’t no group with a majority on their lonesome no mo!!
Now, when you come to think of it, that’s not a very bad position for the “remainders” to be in!! Everyone giving you the full-court press to get you to put your X on either the Cup or the Hand – previously the Palm Tree!! The Mixed group are such a mishmash that it’s difficult to pin down their orientations; but, all in all, they seem to cleave more to the Palm Tree than the Cup – and help balance out the Indo advantage. The Portuguese and Chinese numbers are so small that, as far as votes are concerned, they really don’t matter.
But they even out things with their money, and because of that, they wield influence way beyond their electoral weight – kinda like political jujitsu!! So, even though they’re tiny minorities, nobody takes them for granted. Money talks – very loudly!! So, in the midst of one of the perennial pi55ing contests between the Indos and Afros – this time as to who suffered more to get first dibs on the oil money spigot!! – when one Portuguese fella raised the issue of them being a minority who also suffered, you can imagine the uproar!!!
How dare he – fulfilling the stereotype of the “rich Putagee mafia” whom Desmond Hoyte had cussed out – talk about “suffering”!! Wasn’t he living high off the hog?? Gratuitously emphasized, with his complaint being under a pic of him sitting at “The table” with the President at a high-level meeting with the American Govt in Washington!! Oh Lawd, have mercy!! The indignation reached such levels as to’ve certainly caused some blood vessels to pop with apoplexy!!
Now, in all fairness to the Portuguese fella, he did state the FACT of them being a minority. But he didn’t factor in that, when it comes to politics, influence is equal to numbers multiplied by wealth!! And in Guyana, that makes even the few Portuguese equal in influence to either the Afros or Indos!! And as for “suffering”, they did suffer more than any other indentureds – as far as their death rates were concerned.
They died like flies, arguably even compared to slaves!! But that doesn’t count??
New schools are opening up at such a pace that your Eyewitness can’t keep up. One secondary school just opened up at De Willem on the West Coast of Demerara – just two weeks after a new building was added to Zeeburg High School – a couple of hundred yards away!! While your Eyewitness is quite chuffed at all these new schools, he’s wondering who’ll be staffing them. He hasn’t heard of any massive expansion of the Teachers Training Institute churning out teachers in the hundreds!!
Now, traditionally, our high schools – following the British Model – have always stressed academic subjects like your Eyewitness’s bete noir, Maths!! He’s always questioned – and questions once again – why he and everyone up to the present generation have to be tortured with esoterica like quadratic equations?? Isn’t it time that we focus on subjects that are more relevant to our present lives??
If – God forbid! – your Eyewitness or the kids have to solve a quadratic equation, all they gotta do is ask Chat GPT!!
So, now that the Govt has accepted GRA’s assessment of Exxon’s liabilities from their claims between 1999 and 2017 as being inflated by US$214M, and they owe us US$107M – is Exxon gonna proceed to arbitration, as they’d threatened??