“Really no hope, Robert?” Frankly Speaking...
By A.A Fenty
Stabroek News
February 7, 2003

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This is my final presentation or brief in my current “Trilogy of Appeals” to the new Leader of the Major Opposition, Mr RHO Corbin. I’ll let it go, perhaps out of pure hopelessness, for a while after this. Here goes.

“Dear Erstwhile Comrade and Chief, last Friday, publicly, I hoped, for your - and Guyana’s - benefit, that you might have indicated, at the Square last Saturday evening, a few positive (personal) initiatives to inspire in this scared society, a few rays of hopeful? National encouragement. Alas, former friend, to me you flattered to deceive, by and large. Only a particular segment of your own support would have been satisfied with your first Square-of-the-Revolution public presentation as party leader last Saturday evening. Not the nation.

Why do I conclude thus? Well, you would have been made aware that I had anticipated the usual opening portions of your Saturday- evening Rally address to the faithfuls. You did not do me - and a hopeful nation - the pleasure of diverting. Naturally, you did not disappoint your already converted.

So, firstly, let me lament with you the whole tone of your mass rally. Is there no hope that though you are moulded and burnished in the oven of your Party’s robust history of political struggle, aggression, bacchanal and protest, that you could caution and influence supporters to observe some dignity and decorum even as they “jam-and-wine” at these public meetings and cultural presentations?

Led by a female chairperson, whose thrust seemed determined to be popular and populist, and other cheerleader presenters, traces of lewdness, obscenity and vulgarity again permeated many “presentations” that preceded yours. Is that to be standard fare during your tenure too? Is that to be a continued component of “PNC political culchuh”? In the name of robust opposition and “demonstration” of urban strength and “power”? Just think of your younger followers and other children who are being fed obscenity and disrespect for persons in high office. Do you really believe that if ever your turn for authority returns the generation now being so influenced and nurtured will heed your admonitions then? Just experience how the 2002 criminal monster created and nurtured, is slowly but inexorably turning on its own!

I’ve just decided not to dwell upon, or analyse, the issues you raised, the positions, you outlined, the demands or objectives you enumerated - the substance of your maiden leader’s address. I eschew joining the legion of commentators. But I’ll still live in hope for this month. (I’ve told a still-mutual friend, a Malcolm, that I still believe that you will surprise me - and the nation - with the announcement and execution of some compromise initiative that would both elevate your stature and benefit a beleaguered society - and force the government to return the favour so badly necessary.

I won’t put my head on a block, but surprise me by the end of this month of your birth. Your older, one-time comrade, Alfen”.

Constables Abel, Joseph

It was if a son or nephew had become a victim of the new killers eventually. Over the years, Ronald Abel had become a kind of spiritual relative to me. Perhaps it was because, on my part, I marvelled at his general consistent genteel courtesy, so missing in young males these days.

Yes I knew young Abel since he worked at a certain Middle Street establishment I used to frequent. His innate or acquired politeness, his willingness to please, his quiet ambition to move up academically impressed so many of us. He was one of the reasons some of us supported the business. I understand he had a stint in the Guyana National Service, so I was not surprised when I saw him in the Police Force. (Though I wondered, humorously, if Ronald had the heart to actually arrest anyone.)

Now he is gone, so early in a life full of promise - a young gentleman brutally, deliberately gunned down by the new demons of Buxton. I need not comment further, need I?

Then, just four days be-fore, Constable Deon Joseph was also gunned down in Sophia, outside the inner city of Georgetown. Reports indicate that Joseph was another peacemaker-type of policeman. My heart swelled as I viewed the humble little wooden dwelling he had completed just in December. There is no evidence to suggest that these two young policemen had already become crooked cops guilty of any “bad business”.

They were targeted perhaps only because they represented the force and, possibly, because they did their job in the past. But that is one of the aims of today’s bandits: intimidate and drive fear into the force, so that its members become, indifferent, unresponsive and plain scared. The society then, is left most vulnerable and open to the anarchy wherein law-abiding citizens have no one to turn to for protection, investigation and detection. Must we allow this? Will Constables Abel and Joseph - and all those before them - die in vain?

The press, the village

Though I have a peculiar type of association with the East Coast, Demerara village of Anns Grove, I have always been impressed, if not intrigued, with the lore, history and contributions of the village of Buxton to the development of modern-day (?) Guy-ana. Now the obvious taint will be tough to remove. However, once that community has been cleansed, all types of programmes could restore its pride and status.

But just consider two items in two sections of the print media this same week - From the Stabroek News: “Also at the barricades last week were the Chairman of Region Four Alan Munroe, and the Chairman of the Buxton/ Foulis Neighbourhood Demo-cratic Council, Randolph Blair, who also criticized the barriers and said residents should have been consulted. Neither Mr Munroe nor Mr Blair have been prominently visible in helping to mobilize their constituents to root out the criminal enterprise that has taken hold of Buxton/ Friendship and is spreading its tentacles into neighbouring villages. Perhaps in addition to complaining about the barriers, Mr Munroe should pay more visits to Annandale, Vigilance, Coldingen and other villages, which also fall within his purview as Region Four Chairman, to learn of the great fears that these residents have about the crime being launched from within Buxton/Friendship.”

Then this letter in the Guyana Chronicle: “How convenient can we get! If only a small band of people is bringing disgrace to an entire community, that community has two options: ostracise the band or join the band.

But what has Buxton done? Whenever a robbery is committed and a haul is made, there is celebration on the Buxton embankment road.

Let the Buxtonians deny this. Let them also deny that children were given $1,000 bills to go to school with.

Children are being used in the forefront in Buxton to attack the Police and burn roadways.

Who is marginalizing them? The Indians?

Shouldn’t they be in school? And when they grow up, with no qualification or skill, the marginalisation song will continue to be sung.

What are the leaders in Buxton doing about self-marginalisation?

Keep alive

Or are they not aware? Or don’t want to be aware?”

1) When I saw a tear of emotion on the retiring Traffic Chief’s cheek earlier this week, I felt for the remaining policemen still proud to be on the job. We must support these men!

2) They struck in the mixed-race Charlestown Ghetto on Sunday. None is untouched.

3) Inelegant, unwholesome, “not in polite use”, but the word “piss” features in both my Oxford dictionary and the Holy Bible!

4) Coming next week: A “Leader” for the “Black Community”?

5) Next week too: The responses to my piece on “where is God in Demerara?”

6) When I see the youth enjoying and expressing themselves in the Children’s Schools Mash, I veer towards having Mash still. However muted or modified. (Is good security laid on for those children?)

7) Will blackouts return with a vengeance? Have a bright weekend.

‘Til next week!

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