Elections are a blessing

Wednesday Ramblings
Stabroek News
March 28, 2001

It is always important to look on the sunny side of life especially in these rather gloomy, uncertain times. What is very clear is that these elections have greatly improved the economy and cut the crime rate.

A browse through the newspapers would show that there has not been a single murder for the last week. (This was sadly spoilt on Sunday). And the nation's drivers have suddenly learnt how to navigate safely.

Chief Magistrate Fung-A-Fat has been twiddling his thumbs waiting in vain for his usual quota of petty criminals because the police, busy dressing up in fancy helmets and checking their tear gas supplies have had little time to arrest shoplifters and pickpockets. Anyway there are no shops open and no shoppers. Every day is like a holiday. The stores being closed have helped to improve the country's balance of payments and savings rate.

On top of this, hotels around the city have never been busier with sunburnt observers drinking on donor expense accounts. 11,000 GECOM staff received at least $30,000 for working on polling day. Learned economists have deduced that this election added at least 2% to the country's GDP. Who needs rice and sugar when you can make democracy your primary industry? In fact we should even thank the PNC for challenging the results because those poor lawyers can make a little money too. There might be a few tyres burnt, some rocks pelted but overall elections are a great blessing and should be held at least every six months.


Hoyte and the Magna Carta

Mr Hoyte's denial last week that he had ever agreed to Jimmy Carter's proposal for parliamentary reforms is entirely commendable.

Throughout history there have been instances of leaders denying they signed or agreed to important documents. Many do not know that King John denied ever signing the Magna Carta. He claimed he was nowhere near Runnymede on the evening of June 15th 1215 and had spent the night in one of his London castles squiring a local wench.

Similarly Thomas Jefferson denied only days after July 4th 1776 that he had ever affixed his signature to the Declaration of Independence. He wrote a terse, impatient letter to the only independent daily newspaper at that time, saying he thought he had been signing a lunch cheque at a popular Washington restaurant. It had all been a terrible misunderstanding.

And this is not the first time that Mr Carter has "persuaded" leaders into signing important documents. In his memoirs Israeli leader Menachem Begin complained that while staying at Camp David, Carter had woken him up in the middle of the night holding a piece of paper which he said was a dry cleaning bill. In his stupor Begin had given away half of the Negev desert. Tricky stuff and they call that peanut farmer naive!