To hell with those who malign and threaten

Cassandra's Candid Corner
Stabroek News
April 29, 2001

So, as you can see, I am still writing. The total depression has not set in. The exchange of smiles between Messrs Jagdeo and Hoyte might be just the miracle we are waiting for. We are enthused to believe that there is a light at the end of the recent dark and dismal tunnel. We hope that the light is not an on-coming train. Of course, even while the positions are being established and the advantages are being hammered out, both sides are keeping

the powder dry. In fact, there are Hamas-like elements who have a vested interest in destroying the peace talks. Yes, there are those who will not fare well in an environment of stability and quietude. For one thing they can't easily loot and thuggerise; and their court cases pertaining to previous indescretions might yet be called.

One has to wonder why the noise and mayhem and threats of destabilisation had to be made in the first instance. Some people can only use force and some people can only react when there is force. What a pity! All of the matters which are on the table now (and some, on which consensus has already been established) could have been discussed previously - if only there was a will and conviction and genuine commitment. But no; fires had to be lit and blood had to be spilled.

Anyway there is now an uneasy truce. I think the two monoliths will come out of the negotiations both smelling of roses. Why? Simply because the cost of no component of Hoyte's multi-point proposal is exorbitant and unreasonable. Bharrat could accede to those and more. In fact, not only had he promised that he would bridge the rivers of dissension and the feeling of exclusion, but he had already headed in that direction. Improvements in housing, roads, school, water and electricity supply were visible. We all know that is true. He could have been called Nkofi Jagdeo, just as how the moniker of Desmond Persaud was bestowed on Mr Hoyte, when he was perceived to be giving away too much to the Indians. Yet, they both harvested damnation, because people of the other ethnic group still felt disenfranchised. I'll never forget the post election footage of an East Coast woman in genuine grief, pulling her hair and gnashing her teeth as she bitterly lamented that she couldn't take another 5 years, 5 weeks, 5 seconds of the PPP and Jagdeo. She was seated on a new bridge; before and behind her in the picture was a new road; her village had a brand new school; and water and electricity were bountiful.

Similarly, Indians repaid Desi's efforts between 1985 and 1992 with their own version of slow pressure, mo' pressure and extreme pressure (as in the wanton destruction of capital projects and the misrepresentation of genuine efforts made by the PNC).

Let's look at some of the clutch of areas which Mr Hoyte has put forward and to which Mr Jagdeo agreed:

Committees to deal with the bauxite industry development, the apportioning of house lots, the improvement of depressed communities and poverty reduction, the improved management of parliamentary business, the establishment of a National Procurement Commission, a bi-partisan approach to our border issues, etc. All of these are substantial matters that can only move our country forward. The question dealing with the monopoly of the state media might cause some problems, but in the end Mr Jagdeo will have to yield.

In fact, what we have here is already an aspect of power sharing at a meaningful level. What can I tell you - I like it. Here is a chance for the Government and the nation as a whole to benefit from the knowledge, ideas and expertise of the PNC/R. I do hope that when the names of the members of these committees are put forward it would include the likes of Mr Kwayana to sit, for example, on the committees that will deal with poverty reduction and depressed communities.

And while all of this is going on, the hatemongers are still plying their trade. Stabroek News and even the powerless, innocuous CCC column have been receiving flak. During the crisis, the Stabroek News editorials were unemotional, logical and sane, but the creators of mischief have damned us as agents of the PPP. And I have received calls accusing me of being "light on the PNC, of sitting on the fence during perceived PNC/R orchestrated iniquities, and of being a closet PPP activist." Well, Mr de Caries has a whole staff and a newspaper to defend him, to say nothing of his own ability to deal with those who wish to threaten him. I, on the other hand, have no defences other that the inability to succumb to intimidation. So, to hell with those who malign and threaten. In fact, since the jammin' comes from both sides, I am further convinced that my opinions and my direction of thought are correct.

In the final analysis, one has to give peace a chance, and everything legal should be done to keep at bay, those, who would thwart sanity and progress.

In passing, allow me to posit that those, who wish Commissions of Enquiry to be formed to investigate the recent happenings, not lastly the shooting of martyr McKinnon, might be genuine in their belief that the truth will be unearthed. Well, I don't believe for a minute that anything substantial will result from the

investigations. Why? Because the investigations, in all liklihood will commence with the personal baggage of those carrying out the investigation. And, fuh shure, those giving evidence will misrepresent facts, be unable to separate fact from figments of their imagination and will blatantly lie.

On a lighter note, one wag has told me that Mr Jagdeo was given a special assignment during the recent Summit of the Americas in Quebec. He was made Technical Advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Chretien on the issue of crowd control and protestor violence.