Image: Weep for Guyana? Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
July 5, 2002

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Frankly speaking, it was so predictable and expected by those who are familiar with Sophia's strategies, that one tends to blame the security forces for not anticipating the assault on the edifice of the Presidency and the acts of looting and arson perpetrated by those given cover by the now stock-in-trade protest demonstrations through the capital's streets.

Pardon me for that opening paragraph-long sentence but it is not known by now that the grand plan involves demonstrations that won't be claimed sometimes and their consequences? Bomb scares? Arson? Robbing and beatings of rural-based folks? Sheer terror?

Actually, I have a little sympathy for the police. It is known that they'll be stretched out. What with security priorities for visiting heads and delegations, escapees and their copy-cat colleagues - and yes, carefully planned diversions, false alarms amidst protests and demonstrations. I might myself be digressing, but it is nefarious, insidious to link these politically-motivated tactics to those protests mounted in foreign capitals when international financial institutions and organizations meet.

(As I ramble, let me again place on record my admiration and support for the police who know that some of their own friends or relatives might be among the illegal demonstrators. The overworked police are sticking professionally to their positions and duties. Perhaps they know if they buckle or compromise anarchy will overwhelm them too. For right now they are under attack!)

"Don't cry for me Argentina", the lament of that sweet inspirational song advises. Indeed the once-prosperous South American giant Argentina has fallen on bad economic times and needs some tears of renewal. And it is trying to be reconstructive. What about poor, big blighted Guyana? No such co-operation here?

Just seventeen (17) days away and five days back want to make me weep for the state of the only place I can call home. Amongst those Guyanese who now claim two "homes" living in New York and New Jersey, there are quite distinct, partisan and subjective views about what's going on in the real homeland.

Queens and Brooklyn - the New York Boroughs housing hundreds of thousands of exile/immigrants from here - have views reflecting the versions they believe from Georgetown or Albion. But whether they be "Indian" in Queens lambasting the government for being "too soft", or the Brooklynite Church Avenue/Woodbine Hall type parroting the "deadline August first date for the PPP removal", their concerns and beliefs made me cry for the new, emerging image of my country.

Sure other countries with large mighty populations have terror and crime manifested every day. But in little under-one-million Guyana, proportionally, at home and abroad, we are now being seen in the same light as Jamaica, even Colombia. Ordinary citizens, businessmen - most quite innocent - politicians and policemen are marked for death in an open season wherein tele-activists paint a canvas of excuses and causes for robbery and murder.

Only the bold and the believers, the exiles who miss their homeland or who must come on business will come for their "summer" here. But many, too many, have already cancelled. Investors - local and foreign - may follow suit. Who can blame them? I say, the major opposition and its supporters have succeeded, to a substantial degree, in depicting to the world - and to some very frightened folks at home - that Guyana is not now the safest place to be. Yes, there will be the school re-unions, the fetes and the conferences, but in July-August this year, I predict "a long hot summer", stoked by the politically evil and ambitious.

I trust that I'm proven quite wrong, but perhaps you can consult the two fellows from the colourful "enquirer-type" newspaper who benefit from all those leaks.

I'll leave, naturally, the more profound and analytical/assessment pieces on this week's 23rd CARICOM Heads Meeting to those better qualified. I will, however, repeat my wonderment: Just when is it advisable, or prudent, for CARICOM to step in and offer counselling and assistance to those member-states like Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, riddled with politically-motivated crises? After much mayhem and murder? I know the implications of "political interference"? But is there, can't there be some "mechanism"? Come, come now, "new generation of CARICOM leaders." Surely you all respect all those democratically elected.

1) Question from Queens for Mr Hoyte: Since you yourself invited Jimmy Carter in 1992, what do you now think about his advice about "dialogue"? (I can guess at Dessie's response.)

2) Was the opposition leader invited to Wednesday's opening of the CARICOM conference? Did he attend? Hope all felt well for him in the Centre.

3) How do you secure and protect all government buildings, TV stations, state radio, new schools and all those properties you and I paid for, all the time? Simple?

(4) I stand humble and bow to Brazil!

(5) Jokes from the boys in Brooklyn: "Owen so ugly when the tide in and see e, the tide does go out!" "He so ugly, e watch at a clock fuh de time and de clock stop!" (From Awah who wants a national holiday declared when he returns to visit Guyana - after 35 years.) 'Til next week!