The Incredible Flying Mayor and the dilemma of the transsexual Wednesday Ramblings..International Edition
Stabroek News
March 26, 2003

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Guyana will be blessed this week with the absence of Mayor 'Inaction' Green as he flies off - with President Jagdeo - into the loving arms of the great communist regime of China. The same regime that in 1989 slaughtered thousands of students in Tiananmen Square and continues to muzzle free speech and the rights of minorities. They also build ghastly embassies that look like fast food restaurants.

Why this Odd Couple is heading off to the Orient along with various ministers is anyone's guess but we can be assured that things will be blessedly quieter back home.

Nothing of substance will come from their visit and it is still to be discovered who is actually paying for this extravagant jaunt. Just as in Minister Westford's frivolous first class visit to Italy to watch a boxing match - that's right a boxing match - it will more than likely be the longsuffering taxpayer who drives through potholes and enjoys long blackouts and water rationing and can't send their children to school. How shameless do you have to be to spend taxpayers' money this way?

Hopefully the plane to China flew over Georgetown and the Mayor could have had a better view of the piles of garbage his council has failed to pick up. Maybe there would have been a moment of awkward silence between him and Jagdeo as they stared down from the heavens. Not likely one thinks. What a charade it all is for the Flying Mayor who has never failed to avail himself of the perks of office.

Meanwhile he took time to toss off two diversionary letters to the Guyana Chronicle. One was a predictable, cliche-ridden missive on the Iraq war, filled as it was with the obligatory biblical quotes. The second triumphed over the Welsh supermarket's withdrawal of its claim for monies owned in the nationalisation of GUYSUCO.

A corporation, Green played no small part in shamelessly running into the ground at the expense of the country and its people. And while he will play the smooth, charming mayor of the beautiful Garden City when he arrives in Fujian, maybe the authorities there would be interested in his denial of the Chinese community to have their own plot of land in the Le Repentir cemetery a few years ago. A December 2000 City Council Round-Up quotes Green as saying, "This council should not be allocating spots in cemetery to aliens ... furthermore they are Buddhists."

Meanwhile Chief Justice Carl Singh is off to attend the 13th Commonwealth Law Conference in Melbourne from April 13 to 17. One letter writer had estimated that the trip would cost $30,000 - an exaggeration which took away from the thrust of the message. What will he be doing there apart from rubbing shoulders with Cherie Booth QC? Perhaps he will be intrigued with a scheduled seminar discussing the "The Dilemma of the Transsexual"?

But how much will it really cost to send the Chief Justice to Melbourne and back? We do not know whether he is going business or coach but we have kindly looked into his itinerary and offered him both options:

First he will have to fly to London via Barbados, with the very cheapest seat from Grantley Adams being $905 (business class $3623). Let's add another $300 ($458) to get to Barbados. He will have to stay over in London and while he could shack up at the Guyana High Com-mission, a hotel room at the budget London Thistle in Marble Arch would cost around $120 plus at least $40 to get to the airport and back. The cheapest flight to Melbourne is a British Airways costing $1250 (business class - $4904 Cathay Pacific).

Once there maybe he will stay in the budget Best Western Atlantis Hotel 'at a prime location opposite Colonial Stadium and Spencer Street Station and an easy walk to the Crown Casino, the Melbourne Convention Centre ...' Four nights would set the taxpayer back $350. But more likely being a Chief Justice he would want to be with the rest of the world's judiciary at the Hyatt Grand - Melbourne 'acknowledged as one of Australia's finest hotels, no detail overlooked, no luxury underplayed' and costing the taxpayer a minimum of $575. Let's add a modest per diem of US$50 which for the nine days would cost $450.

Adding this all up and we reach a grand total paid for by the taxpayer of $3640. With the business class option this totals $10,170 or G$1.94M.

This is the very minimum.

And how exactly will Guyana's court system benefit from Singh's conference which apart from discussing the rights of transsexuals will look at 'Administering Justice Online', 'Corporate Governance after Enron' and 'Crisis management in international transactions'? Rather lofty ideas for Singh who presides over an administration that still uses huge Victorian- era tomes to record cases.

While the Chief Justice is away we can be assured that a magistrate will bail another accused armed robber for $35,000 and the backlog for civil and criminal cases will stretch further back into the last century.

It would be refreshing if the taxpayers could actually find out how much this and the Chinese junket actually cost. After all the government is always going on about transparency. Our estimate of the trip to China is truly alarming.

Let us assume that the President is flying first class and that there are some pangs of socialist conscience and Ministers Rohee and Chandarpal fly business. It will cost at least $3000 to get them to New York. The trip to Los Angeles will cost $7258; and the trip to Bejing a whopping $11,684. A total to the taxpayer of over $22,000 or G$3.8M. This is just for the flights. The mind boggles.

Those amazing Iraqi utility managers

How impressed we all should be by the Iraqi leadership's ability to look cool under fire.

With the might of the US army racing to Baghdad there is Saddam chuckling with his military officers as if out on a picnic by the banks of the Tigris. Contrast this to Tony Blair's deeply drawn face in the last few days. These guys are going down but by heck they will go down in style and by all accounts with the lights on.

As missiles and bombs pound away, the city is as bright as a birthday cake, the water supply seems to be in good shape and even the traffic lights are working which is more than could be said for Georgetown. Basra citizens complain about only receiving 40% of normal water supply. If only. Surely Guyana can hire some of these cheerful utility managers after the war.

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