Our Arrowhead, still ‘golden’? Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
September 6, 2002

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Just the briefest of comments which reflect my personal hurt over the use, desecration (?) to which our National Flag is being put to these days. You might, or might not, agree with my insinuations, my outright views but that’s your right. Always remember that I try to be as fair, objective (?) and open-minded in these matters - endeavouring, frequently, to bring the prudence of middle-age to bear when reaching conclusions.

In 1966 I was a young teacher who had to teach myself and my charges about the meaning of political independence. Naturally, the new symbols of independence had to be introduced and carefully explained - both to young and old. I must be brief so I must confide my favourites were the new anthem and the new flag. How I loved the choice of Whitney Smith’s design. That beautiful piece of meaningful symbolic tapestry was quickly named by us, the brand new citizens, as the Golden Arrowhead. It’s a beauty of a flag and name to this day. To stretch a point a bit perhaps it is one of the “joys” of independence seeing that we’ve fallen so woefully short in all other areas after three and a half decades. Hence my new worry!

To me, the Golden Arrow-head evokes pride in the heart of a genuine Guyanese wherever it is sighted - in Caracas, at the UN or on a car’s bumper in any faraway capital. Then there is nostalgia when it is sighted by those who have been away from the Green Land for too long. Patriotism, love for country as those colours recall Kaieteur, Stabroek and Rupununi, the Seawall, the Esplanade, roti and pepperpot - all good memories and things Guyanese. Now, frankly speaking, the gold is being tarnished.

Bandits’ coffins are being draped with the Arrow-head! Known criminals who steal, brutalise and kill for kicks or cash are being afforded the use of our national colours in the same manner as a national poet or a slain policeman would be accorded. My heart and pride sink. We are at an all-time low!

Look, I appreciate the blind loyal love of a mother, relatives and other “beneficiaries”, which is shown to a deceased son, no matter how murderous he was. To them he was probably “a victim of the society and the system.” This last son was collectively responsible for the murder of a young prison warder.

But they used my once-golden Arrowhead on his box. Their youth, reportedly, used his loot. No more a line between right and wrong. Blood money is OK.

What role models for certain young ones.

If you think I’m digressing, you are right. All I can do is repeat; the monster now created will - after pillaging and destroying others - turn on itself and its sponsors. And the old folks from those very parts say “when yuh own louse bite yuh, it bite yuh hot!” Just leave our flag out of the mayhem.

I’ll have to stay home!

Since one aspect of the current crime wave is connected to the earlier narco-trafficking, I repeat, upon request, my very personal views on compromises with the reality of drugs amongst us. Here goes:

“Now all good, law-abiding Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Jordanite folks know that cocaine, in all its commercialised forms, ravages its users, most, reportedly, being young people of the world. Because it gives a “lovely” temporary, addictive high and “escape”, it is never-the-less sought after by the hundreds of thousands desperate and vulnerable. Its illegal production and dastardly distribution thus provides much wealth for the wicked. And their associates, their dependents, their friends. And perhaps their innocent unsuspecting acquaintances, customers or supporters.

The latter is the gist of my point. When I tell my pals that I try to avoid supporting known or strongly-suspected folks - businessmen et al - whose enterprises rely on the cocaine takings for their success, my friends laugh and scoff at me. How can I avoid such enterprises, such businesses, locations, such facilities? The takings, the influence and products of the cocaine business are all-pervasive I’m told.

The boys tell me seriously and mischievously, that place of entertainment, relaxation, business, retail outlets, in arts and culture might just have cocaine backgrounds or backing. So when a good, kindly Christian mom or dad shops at a certain outlet, he or she might be (knowingly or) unwittingly supporting evil destructive enterprise.

So the fellows also concluded that I can’t avoid it, I shouldn’t “fight” it; I should just “conform”. I contend (weakly?) that if a parent knows he’s supporting evil by buying ice cream or enjoying masquerade music promoted by barons or traffickers, that parent cannot morally condemn their offspring who might commit a similar sin. Where is the moral authority then?

Yes the boys tell me if I want to avoid coming into contact with the direct or indirect purveyors of cocaine wealth and consequences, I simply have to be a recluse on the highest peak of the Pakaraimas. Or simply stay at home! Use no mini-bus; buy nowhere; ‘lime’ no place! I’ll never know. (Are there really no honest folks left?) Sure. The police! The police??

Save Guyana!

1) The bandits who beat and burnt the aged gentleman, afflicted with a stroke, at Non-Pariel last week, if caught, must get a fair trial with representation in our Courts of Law. All their rights must be observed under our rule-of-law system.

What would happen to them in the Sudan, northern Nigeria, North Korea or Pakistan? Our Human Rights folks here, of course, will point out that we should not in our punishment, become as uncivilised as those bandits. Who says kindness to them works these days?

2) Great show! I marvelled at the nostalgic camaraderie of the Bishops’ Old Girls. Then I sighed at the number of Bishops’ Brains we’ve lost. Can we ever, ever make it?

3) I care not what you think. I’ve had it with pageants!

`Til next week!