Albouystown, Amerindians and the Prince

Frankly Speaking
A.A. Fenty
Stabroek News
March 3, 2000

Ho-hum. Here I go again. Swiftly, it's time to produce something fresh on all the old or well-worn current issues. (Perhaps with the silent connivance of my editor, I'll cheat through extreme brevity today).

Now when I was at primary school in Bourda, Georgetown, the visit to Guiana of any member of British Royalty signalled the virtual suspension of normal national life to accommodate a lavish welcome and "hospitality". After all, we were all - young and old - subjects of the British Crown. And then, as now, "school-children" played major roles in the welcome and "hospitality". Republicanism, the off-spring of "Independence", has served to dilute overall enthusiasm for a Royal (British) Visit.

Never-the-less we're still a friendly lot. That's why I feel Prince Charlie, former husband of the late Princess Di and a straight-laced ladies-man, must have found us mighty "interesting" - and funny. Visitors like Princes, Japanese ministers and American Emissaries must smile inwardly at our own antics and quirks. Having organised the world, especially economically and politically, they must scoff privately at our "independence". And its modern-day manifestations.

Prince Charles, clever fellow, walked with two of our own (females). I was so proud of them. But how could he know the social history of the still-depressed Albouystown? Wonder if Baroness Amos bothered to bore him? Still a depressed area, Odinga Lumumba must have mentioned to Charlie his (Odinga's) favourite theory: that Albouystown was for decades a ghetto that some politicians allowed to remain so, for their own reasons, apparently. However, Albouystown also boasted eminent Guyanese and a rich "friendly" heritage. And now, with all its challenges, there are native business-people and social workers trying their darndest to transform the community. With a little (?) help from the Civic.

Oh, but didn't you love the Kaieteur Amerindians' technique? Great stuff that: The reverse placards! Not under-rating captain Matheson Williams of Paramakatoi, I feel it was lovely planning by his party. (Or was it simply a shortage of card-board?) Amerindian concerns are genuine ones, but still I would invite captain/Touchau Williams to compare his lot now with the past. No improvements? Though I would prefer a more activist Minister of Amerindian Affairs, getting more from his Finance Minister, I detect more being done for our Native People than before.

For me, I appreciated the little I saw of the Premier Prince of Wales and whatever else. He has shed his Royal Upper Lip, is pragmatic, likeable and seemingly dedicated to his pet projects. And again, he brought two local ladies of class and achievement. Long live the Prince! Longer Live The President!!

Majority? Minority? Just a quick word on the concepts of majority and minority - either in a demographic or political concept. I suppose here in this place, I must be especially "political". And of course, you're now subject to my peculiar, specific interpretation of behaviour. I know you'll read on, though.

I declare that there is a growing silent majority in this political milieu who are increasingly, but silently, indignant at the lawlessness being promoted in Georgetown; the redefining of decency and the attempted revisionism of contemporary political history and the plain unvarnished mis-information and dis-information trotted out daily by the political tele-activists in GT.

I repeat for emphasis, that majority does not call in on regular programmes to say regular things; or protest in the streets or by monuments; or write too many letters to editors; or vote for calypsoes. They make their position and feelings known at the right time. No matter what any Judge finds or decides.

But in any plural, cosmopolitan society one should have regard and respect for minorities - and I do. In some societies, minorities actually come to enjoy more rights than others. Often, these rights, these safeguards, are enshrined in Constitutions. It is my view that, in the face of real and imagined discrimination, the politics of wrong-and-strong bullyism threatens to empower certain "minorities" and interest-groups here, to the detriment of the larger society, the greater good.

I'll develop this point as the Fridays go by but do your own assessments. Minority bullyism, often aided by Court decisions and outright defiance of the law and its enforcers, is frequently determining when meetings or protests are held; where assemblies may gather; what those in authority should be satisfied with. I am aware that the majority can't always be right but for now, I leave you with President Patrick Yarde's words, uttered this Monday: "We are much stronger than the government in office. I say this to you: this is a struggle we will win. There is no doubt about it." Beat that, President Hoyte!

'Til next Friday 1) Elections, when? The Mirror reports that Mr Ramotar said his "meeting (with the European Union) centred on the need to have foreign and local observers... to ensure the transparency of the polls, and for their presence in Guyana to monitor the process leading to elections day."

2) Stabroek News editorial this week: "No one can credibly allege that the government is seeking to delay the election. Indeed, it would seem that they are ready to have it as soon as possible. Nor is there any evidence that the PNC is trying to delay it. But there are too many complex issues to be dealt with and the society is not capable of grappling with them adequately or at all within the time prescribed."

3) A.A. Fenty: "I know that elections, per se, don't solve the problems created in a sometimes riven society such as ours. But I wish for a quick-snap elections tomorrow - to bury one issue for a long while.

4) Poor Ras Leon Saul, my colleague/friend of some twenty-five years ago. (He says he reads this in Toronto from the time it hits Stabroek News' computer Thursday nights.) Well, he learnt that his "colleagues" are now one-sided tele-activists in their "consciousness".

Fire-Bun Rasta! If you don't think and repeat after them - Fires pun you! Bun out!

5) A tenant of the Post Office Corporation has a mighty interesting theory with regard to the on-going bomb scares at GPO. Guess who this source believes is behind them?

6) How soon will the conscious "brethren against Police Brutality" "bring out" a Cassette or CD glorifying Blackie the Bandit? And thus leading their young down one inevitable pathway?

7) As a confirmed meat-eater, I must confess to some worry, even in the wake of the MCC's Andrew Garnett's assurances regarding the cows' lungs, imperfect bleeding and bovine tuberculosis. I suppose I'm too far gone on flesh, myself.

8) Welcome home Teacher Hylton!

9) I finally got it! The conversational interview with retired impresario Cyril Shaw. Right on his birthday.

10) On this week-end's Cook-Up Show: The winner for Caracas!

`Til next week!