Personal encounters in one week

Frankly speaking...
Stabroek News
April 13, 2001

Departing radically from my little Good Friday tradition in this column of dealing with something provocatively appropriate - faith, resurrection, Easter - I must declare my hurt, and understanding with regard to the on-going disruption of normal life in the capital city, hence my decision to remain "political" today.

Sunday morning at Bourda

It was this Sunday just past, on one of my morning shopping stints at the Bourda market, when I met the two young ladies. At the outset, both girls wooed me to buy something from their respective stalls.

Quickly, though accidentally, our chit-chat turned to politics. And nearly turned sour. My impatience, relative unbelief and thoughts of futility turned to my rather (un)usual back-handed compliments for the People's National Congress (PNC) powerful potent propaganda: "great stuff" I would reluctantly mutter inwardly.

Because, as it turned out, these two pro-PNC Afro-young ladies, obviously under-30, actually believe(d) that the PNC won the March elections and that their party was cheated through rigging via "stolen ballot boxes, multiple voting, fake polling booths, etc etc.

They really couldn't answer my questions about counting-at-the-place-of-poll or why their Leader Mr Hoyte often concedes that he couldn't win any majority "with the Black vote along". Rather, they became slightly incensed at me, quickly converting their pleasantness to calling me "Indian" and "biased" and "racial".

Though I had known about it all: the intense belief by the immature and unwary that their party "won" in '92 and '97, or could "win" now and that it is the PPP which is great at rigging, it was somewhat eerie, unsettling to actually hear these two young PNC believers being typical of more thousands around. The tele-activists and other PNC leaders are to be congratulated! Depending on your perspective. Their "success" with these young minds is commendable. And dangerous. (As is being played out on the streets and village side-streets right now.)

Mr Pickering, Mr Sookraj

Just a few weeks after reading the Lottery Company's glad-tidings Report that a Neil Pickering had won a substantial prize, I met him in person. Ironically, he seems to be relatively apolitical. No involvement.

But that didn't spare his home, located behind Kirpalani's on Regent Street, on Monday afternoon. Neil and his family are now homeless. What struggle? What cause? This citizen is now bitter with certain Preachers of Hate and Incitement.

Then, co-incidentally a few evenings ago a gentleman came up to my Table of Beer. He introduced himself as "Sookraj, Jerome Khan's father-in-law", bought my companion and me a beer each and "gaffed" for half-an-hour. I hadn't met Mr Sookraj before either. All this is quite verifiable, or these encounters would not have been recorded here.

I learnt a bit, from one personal perspective, about the REFORM's Jerome Khan, one-time PPP/Canada-based "Concerned Guyanese" Sympathiser, GDP supporter briefly, now apparently a Desmond Disciple. Sookraj's Regent Street Complex was consumed on Monday. Khan's own Robb Street store of fabrics just missed it. Haslyn Parris would smile, wryly.

Good Friday, Black Friday

Last year I mentioned that Mr Rockliffe is of the view that Christians should celebrate and rejoice on this good day. "Good" because their God's love for them was made manifest in the Ultimate Sacrifice that is the Crucifixion. No purples, black-and-whites, and long mournful dirges?

Commissioner Lewis' Police Force has alerted me of Reports about "attempts to turn this Good Friday into a Black Friday today. Ominous. Which Leader, absent or present, would sanction such Unholy Destruction? Who has the capability to descend to gasoline, Molotov and channa bombs? Pray extra for Poor Guyana my Christian Friends. Genuine Christians. Not those who would "fool God" by praying for some victory already lost.

Doesn't Mr Jagdeo know ...

* That he would face all types of demands, made from a position of strength? "Strength" now being demonstrated in the streets? Who will be more equal?

* That attributing Police action and a shooting death to Freedom House is to deflect attention from the Parris Beating, East Coast "spontaneous unrest" and the racially directed urban muggings?

* That television propaganda is just one part of the more visible centrally directed campaign of destabilization?

* That he is perceived by his own supporters as not doing enough to reassure them of their security and protection - especially on the East Coast Demerara? How long can they not retaliate? Even though that is what their attackers' Organisers want?

* That Joe Singh not giving answers to Stabroek News questions on electoral/polling day blunders incriminates the PPP/C unfairly?

* That Opposition elements artfully maneouvred their own arrests to fulfil political predictions that "the government or Freedom House" wanted them locked up?

Poor President. I suppose he does know all that. But can't - or won't - say?

What manner Easter?

1. What type of Easter would those who seek to manipulate or stipulate our Days of Peace, afford us? Can't we do anything about it?

2. Will the burnings and beatings make good entrepreneurs of the aggressors? After the burning and the beating who recovers faster?

3. "Healing" and "Reconciliation" mean no legal action will be taken against those who abducted, kidnapped and tortured polling day workers?

4. Lovely letter in the Stabroek about certain Church bodies' silence in the face of near anarchy.

5. And Cassandra's note that the new mathematics, "political mathematics" suggests that: "42% is equal to 53%!"

6. Must be postponed again: my pieces on "Nascimento and me" and "the campaign best rumour award". Bear with me.

7. Those who advocate a boycott of PPP supporters' businesses, should not, the PPP man smilingly advises, eat local rice or sugar produced principally by PPP supporters? But Happy Easter.