Mr Barker seems to have lost touch

Stabroek News
May 21, 2001

Dear Editor,

These PPP/C apologists are ever at it. But, you see, they must, having so much to apologise about. Rudyard Kipling, in that interesting poem, "If", however, challenges his "son", as follows: "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken, Twisted by Knaves to make a trap for fools..."

Far be it from me, of course, to impute anything knavish to Mr Partick Barker's perception of what a figure of speech achieves or is intended to, or otherwise. I do not, however, have that forbearance that Mr Kipling hoped for in his imaginary offspring, and thus, cannot conjure up the patience to follow Mr Barker's ramblings. I doubt not that he himself is lost in them.

Or, could it be, that it is a matter of being away so long? We know that many a migrant, after six months of getting acquainted with the Region Eleven lingo, has gone into a bar here in old Guyana and, instead of "soft drink", called for a "soda" and upon being given a soda water, complained: "Hey man, I called for a soda". Maybe Mr Barker has been so long away from the once-familiar E.C. Demerara surroundings that he really can't remember what it means to be told "Ah gun put fiah unda you tail". Or maybe his language training did not include the point that figures of speech are aimed at saying one thing, by way of utterances that literally would have meant something else.

So bye-bye to Mr Barker, and the likes of him. Christian though I am, my patience has run low with what I had thought was wickedness but which now appears to border on witlessness.

I have little patience, either, with these racist inferences to everything that happens to one set of Guyanese. No one can say, yet, who was behind the killings of the two men and a lad at Enterprise Backlands. What is more, it would have taken a really enterprising and bold outsider (or group) to have undertaken such an exercise at that time. In the second place, we all know that killings have taken place before, all over the world, and right here in Guyana, just like those at Enterprise, and when all was cleared up, the background turned out to have been some old feud. Bu it suits some people at this time to push the racist line - fanning fires, as it were (figure of speech, again).

And what is this from Mr Robin Bhimal, about whether there would have been dialogue, if the PNC/R had won? Isn't that a clearly rhetorical question? Let us ask, would it have been necessary, if the PNC/R had indeed won, to have required to discuss the topics listed on the current dialogue? After all, these were some of the priorities of the proposed PNC/R programme for lifting Guyana out of the lurch into which eight years of corruption and partisan spite and incompetence had led the nation. Surely a victorious PNC/R would have already appointed its key ministers, effective men and women, and they would, by now, have been up and rectifying all that is ailing this potentially rich nation. But, of course, with nothing to show as a victorious party, but empty key ministries and empty claims to progress, the apologists have their work cut out to distract the attention of the gullible.

Look, for example, at Mr Oliver Sam's hilarious epistle on "no marginalisation" (l4.5.200l). What does it matter whether or not Nigel's is indeed the largest supermarket? The fact is that this has nothing to do with the goodwill of the PPP/C regime, their benevolence or beneficence, either. Hats off to Nigel, whatever the accuracy or otherwise of Mr Sam's odious comparisons. That stage was "not attained by sudden flight" either. It was a journey begun, I think, in the seventies, at Bourda Market. Is it being suggested now that Nigel has the PPP/C to thank for being let live?

And all who wish to know how Mr Ivor Allen escaped marginalisation should read Mr Desmond Hoyte's long letter on the subject, that Stabroek News, for stated reasons, has declined to publish since 1996. The entire letter appears in New Nation of week April 8-14, 2001.

Mr Courtney Benn's success in escaping marginalisation is possibly the top secret of the turn of the century. But it sticks out like a sore thumb in an environment where so many others like him are barely escaping starvation. Maybe Mr Benn knows how to walk the tight rope/that is said to be the road to that kind of success described by Mr Oliver Sam. In the meantime, millions of dollars, by the PPP/C's own boast, are being given out in contracts to build roads (some, years in the completion); bridges (some "settle", some are about to buckle under their own weight); wharves and walls (that we have discussed umpteen times); and schools of which the residents never cease to complain. (Note: "tight rope", another figure of speech).

Some will ask why others looking like Mr Courtney Benn do not adopt his philosophy - if there is such a philosophy to be copied, of course. I am reminded, however, of three urchins discussed in the old Royal Readers of the early 20th century. Those children were described as "too proud to beg, too upright far to" diverge from the high morals under which they had been raised.

So, why dialogue someone asks? Well I say, thank God for Desmond Hoyte, that proud, perceptive leader of the PNC/Reform. May God keep him in good health to see it through to a satisfactory conclusion.

Yours faithfully,

Walter A. Jordan