Political vulgarity and timidity By Rickey Singh
Guyana Chronicle
November 17, 2002

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TODAY, as Guyanese continue to hope for a national mood swing among those playing dangerous games with the country's future, I wish to share with readers two deep concerns of mine:

One relates to political vulgarity and bankruptcy; the other points to timidity by a government to effectively respond to the recklessness that has become a daily fare on what passes for television "talk shows" and "news" programmes.

First, when influential elements of a major party choose to engage in nothing less than political vulgarity of the kind being circulated by electronic mail, it is a further indication of that party's own state of bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy is at once a tragedy for the party and the country as one extends to the other. In the effort to defame a government and some of its principal figures, it is Guyana's reputation that's being flushed down the drain.

Naming the opposition party to which these elements belong seem so unnecessary as only the most obtuse or pretentious could possibly claim unawareness of its identity.

Normally, I would have ignored the gutter propaganda being circulated out of Georgetown by E-mail to Guyanese and others in and out of the Caribbean region.

But these obnoxious elements, and one in particular who was a principal originator of this anti-government, anti-Guyana vulgarity, need to be reminded that their sickness has not gone unnoticed by others exposed to their repulsive behaviour.

Just in case it may have missed even those of the "wild west" electronic media in Guyana, let it be known that I have the name of the politician who forwarded the "original message", as recorded at 2.36 am on October 20, 2002.

It was slanderously marketed as an "urgent memorandum" from a top public official on "the new Government of Guyana Emblem"

Phallic emblem
Believe it or not, this new official "emblem" is a condom. According to the warped minds, this phallic emblem was chosen because it "stands up to inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation ... and gives you a sense of security while it is actually screwing you ..."

The gutter flow gets worse as you read on, and the government official who gets the rap for sending out the fictitious "memorandum" is one who the vicious propagandists simply love to malign and hate.

I will not do this official the injustice of naming him - until, that is, it is time to also name the originator of the phallic emblem and his E-mail collaborators in crime against a nation and human decency.

It would, however, be a step in the right direction if the "originator" could be summoned by his "leader" to explain what must also violate the sensibilities of the "good people" of his party.

A very principled response from one recipient to the dirty, self-degrading propaganda speaks for those on the side of human decency and on behalf of a better future for Guyana. He said in his reply of October 23, 2002:

"This is sickening; the moreso because it appears associated with those who now hold themselves to be a credible alternative and wish to govern Guyana.

"Small wonder the country is in its current tragic state. Please stop cluttering my system with such material".

There was a quick "ditto" note, out of Washington, to this sentiment as expressed above by the respondent of October 23. Other recipients were either too disgusted to take a similar stand, or, to judge from other names in the computer printout, they too perhaps have been infected by the virus of such unwholesome, bizarre political propaganda, and settled instead to sheepishly forward it.

So much for the politics today of "alternative government" in Guyana by the politically frustrated, bankrupt and vulgar.

Lawlessness and Weakness
The second concern has to do with the continuing weakness by the Guyana Government to take some firm, decisive action to end the abuse of press freedom in the country that is so much the reckless practice by people on television who are styled "news" presenters or 'talk show' hosts.

It has become overbearing to follow the litany of complaints from so many quarters in the country - other than, of course, the PNC/Reform - about how not just a maligned President and Cabinet ministers, but Guyana itself is being denigrated and exposed to hate and destruction.

Within the past two weeks, there have been editorials in the ‘Stabroek News’ and ‘Guyana Chronicle’ reflecting disillusionment and anger over what's taking place on television programmes and the evident weakness, to say the least, of a body established a year ago this month as an Advisory Committee on Broadcasting (ACB).

Rather than bellyaching, the Jagdeo Administration should either move to have this Committee scrapped for its uselessness. What ‘advice’ does it offer and to whom? If it has been doing its work, then some person or persons are not listening or acting.

The ACB needs to once again be shamed into action - remember its initial confusion and silence in the case of the infamous ‘Andrew Douglas videotape’ broadcast?

What has the President and his Attorney General been doing with the draft new legislation to end the ‘wild west’ behaviour on television?

What rapport, if any, exists between the ACB and Prime Minister Sam Hinds, under whose portfolio broadcasting falls?

I recall the initial embarrassment Prime Minister Hinds had suffered in the terms of reference when the President and Opposition Leader did their "dialogue thing" to bring this ACB creature on board.

After one year of the committee's own existence and the worsening of the problem, the government continues to reveal astounding weakness in moving with the intelligence and courage required to exorcise from the airwaves the poisonous fare offered daily in the name of "press freedom", or "freedom of expression".

There must be other resident Guyanese of competence, integrity and courage not just to replace members of the ACB. But also to provide further guidance, if indeed required, to deal with the very "lawlessness" which the ‘Guyana Chronicle’ itself found necessary to editorially address just last week.

What is the status of the new legislation to regulate broadcasting? And of what value is the recently enacted and commendable anti-crime package of legislation if people of competence and mechanisms are not in place to enforce the provisions?

Let us hear - soon - from either the Attorney General or the Prime Minister, or the President himself

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