...Ever, in my lifetime? Frankly Speaking...

Stabroek News
January 11, 2002

Greetings. I'll have to concede that I do make this now sought-after (ha!) Friday feature a bit of a burden from time to time. Saturation - sometimes mild frustration - with the so-familiar national issues; their over-use and overkill and manipulation by others, as well as the well-reasoned, carefully-analysed offerings by the more competent prolific writers, all combine to tempt me to rest. But this month is the birthday of this column, so at some risk I must persist. Bear with me briefly.

Look, I actually have a birthday this month too. I'm edging perilously close to sixty! Since Ian McDonald and I - (he's much-much older...) view all birthdays in this age-range with suspicion, I just have to share with you who persevere with this feature, my dire concerns. They, of course, all have a bearing on the national welfare. But will I live to see certain desirable developments take place? I wonder.

Since constructive, government-by-committee dialogue between President Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Hoyte began, the poor Prez cannot any longer remind us of "the lost years", meaning, as he explained about two decades of the twenty-eight years under the rule and regimes of the People's National Congress (PNC), which has now appended an "R" to its official name. But I can. Because even when I was an ardent supporter of the PNC, I often wondered, especially in the latter years, whether I would have the privilege of experiencing certain, specific things achieved, completed or implemented before I die.

Some were relatively "little" things - probably taken for granted in more normal societies. Like the undermentioned. (Since the PPP/C's assumption of office in '92, though most of the blame cannot be attributed to them, I have little faith still.)

For example, will I ever actually see the vast D'Urban Park in the capital of Georgetown developed into a pleasing complex to accommodate something - anything - beneficial? Numerous town-plans, proposals by a retired President and a current lame-duck, paper-tiger Mayor remain just paper dreams. Before I die will Guyana ever get a "simple" Olympic-size Swimming Pool with the attendant facilities? For it seems that we are not good enough to get a proper full-fledged stadium like they have in little Suriname, Barbados or Trinidad.

Should I continue to dream of a truly modern airport at Timehri? Will I ever see a real shopping mall or plaza arise on one of our numerous burnt-out sites in the capital? Will we not stop misusing those terms to describe the few miniature shopping locations we have to the silent chuckles of amusement by visitors?

My wish list, personalised as it is, cries out for the Seawalls/Kingston area to be de-bushed and developed. Once when a relation of Dr Cheddi Jagan was to be involved in the development of a modern Ocean Front marina at Fort Groyne, the PNC quickly caused that to be scuttled. We will be doomed to the bush and mosquitoes in my life-time, I bet. So I'll also give up hoping, in my remaining years, to know we have a modern incinerator operated by a competent, non-comedic City Hall, or private group; I'll give up too, my hopes for an Eddi-Grant-type-recording studio, a normal civilised supply of public electricity generation, or a modern crematorium; I ruefully must decide that we have no brilliant engineering minds to conquer the problem with D'Urban Street in Georgetown whenever it is repaired - by any government or City Council.

More "serious" hopes dashed?

O.K., I know that last Friday I welcomed 2002 as a year of hope. Certainly. Hope springs eternal in the human breast. But does hope know of the PNC/R and the sometimes scared indecisive PPP/C? Why can't the youth arms of these two parties come together? To denounce the lack of united efforts and say, the support for business-people who operate various fronts for their drug-runnings?

Will I ever hear the Administrations of Linden and Region Ten sitting down with the Local Government Ministry to really iron out difficulties and not being jealous of the Corentyne? Will those who genuinely represent the Amerindian communities sit with the "new" Minister - in their communities? I yearned for the Beal Aerospace Project to come through but had recorded that the Beautiful Blighted Land didn't seem destined for this greatness. So could I ever hope in my lifetime to see oil discovered in Guyana, for the international market?

If I can't ever know real Trade Union Congress Unity, can I stop Earl Bousquet in tiny St Lucia from laughing at me and an Elections Commission that can never produce a current updated national register or voters list!?

Oh well, you get my drift, my nearly dashed hopes, my unfulfilled aspirations, my basic gloom by now. But there is hope. There must be. I know, for instance, that Guyana will boast to the sporting world three world boxing champions this year - Andrew Lewis, Braithwaite and Vivian Harris.

I know too that the Ministry of Sports will ensure that volleyball, swimming and cycling join cricket, football, boxing, basketball and karate as our truly major sporting disciplines. See? All is not lost. Mind you, I'd love to be proven wrong where my dashed hopes are concerned.

So long...

1) The Minister of Amerindian Affairs has to be a lady of action. I'm not hearing lots from her.

2) Really ACDA? A conspiracy to kill off Black Youth?

3) I repeat: What a country. There is going to be social bacchanal about which holidays to postpone. The Minority Muslims won't worship out of Mashramani's way. It must be postponed, they say.

4) Some may know of my "friendliness" towards Lurlene and Intruder. Farewell 32. What about a formal permanent "Intruder Calypso workshop" Minister?

5) Catch the Guyana cook-up show from next week-end. Definitely.

'Til next week!'