Crime, right and wrong
By A.A Fenty
May 30, 2003
No, this is not going to be a lengthy epistle or an informed dissertation on the above issues. Rather, it's a brief "sermon" in what should be one of my shortest offerings for this year.
I like to recall when a bold forthright Moravian Minister (George?) shocked into silence a packed office at Hammie Green's Homestretch Avenue Ministry by telling Minister Joshua Chowritmootoo that dishonesty and corruption in high places would not abate "until and unless you-all stop the rigging of elections." A hush descended upon the top "civil" servants gathered for the "moral-revival" type of workshop that day. I, even though acting as Chief Information Officer then could not resist an appreciative giggle.
To his eternal if even dubious credit, a now seemingly-pious Hamilton Green, Mayor (for life?) of one of the region's dirtiest cities - Georgetown - has hit the nail on the head when he identifies the need for a national spiritual and moral revival if the new generation of Guyanese is to survive as a civilised society with desirable characteristics and I choose to ignore for now Green's own role in the genesis of immorality during his government's tenures when he stalked the corridors of power. The crux of the criminality these days, in all its insidious manifestations, is an abandonment of what some of us were taught was right.
There is little that is perceived as wrong these days. By the current under-thirty generation, Church, or no church, wrong becomes right nowadays.
Take the issue of fraud and theft. Normally upright "religious" church-going employees, occasional or professional confidence tricksters and fraudsters steal and rob with no guilt (complex) whatsoever. Customs officials are suspects in multi-million dollar thefts at the airport. From the university's bursar's office millions go missing. GT&T accuses its one-time trusted employees of theft; from Regional Administrative Secretariats millions more disappear and crooks prey on innocents who desperately need homes, jobs, cars or visas. Fraud-fraud-fraud! Theft!
There are those with some influence who actually rationalise why people engage in illegal "runnings" - from City Council irregularities to cocaine-beauty-queen accused. My response is, generally, what happens if all of us who are needy, deprived, marginalised, impoverished or in dire financial straits, were to succumb to criminality as an alternative source of income? But then again, it is all right to steal and trick these days.
A jail term is soon to be a badge of honour rather than any embarrassment. The rich drugs-related achiever is a hero to many youths. The same youth who would be too impatient to work on PNC farms and poultry-projects, but would borrow an AK-47 or a Taurus to "earn" quick blood money instead.
I close this sermonette by appealing to the older folks to influence young parents especially. If it conceivably can, the church might want to teach what its own books advise as to right and wrong. Those concepts change with time, generations and cultures. But righteous folk might still prevail. If they themselves are perceived to be genuine. (No wonder I don't claim to be a role-model or aspire to any office. I'm too honest for that.)
"Fatigued" as I am not finding new issues or new slants to be interesting enough to be fresh and even more "readable" than all "the others", I could easily agree with and relate to this Sunday's Stabroek editorial on "Fatigue"
Lazily, I quote from that editorial for those who read me but might have missed those views that: "The responses to the return of the PNCR to Parliament and the joint communiqué signed by that party and the PPP/C have been remarkably muted. It is probably safe to say that even the more conscientiously inclined members of the population have not bothered to plough through all twenty points of the last-named document. Everyone is at a stage now where they are really not too fussy about exactly what it is the two sides have agreed upon; any agreement is better than none at all. And then there is the inevitable caveat that the over-taxed citizens of this land always keep at the backs of their minds, namely, how long will this new-found amity between the two old war-horse parties really last?" and that "it is hard for most citizens to work up the energy to respond to what goes on around them, however much they might disapprove (or even approve) of this or that decision or action. Or course, the hardline supporters from all sides appear to have an inexhaustible reservoir of vigour for their high-decibel rhetoric, but that too just contributes to the weariness of everyone else."
It is never-the-less agreed, cautiously and tentatively, that the communiqué offers a faint glimmer of hope. So far...
1) I agree Kit: "Not every commemoration should be made (or deemed) national!" What's "national" about one group's (sectarian or religious or cultural) celebration? For example, I care little about Youman Nabi, Phagwah, or Caricom Day for that matter. But I defend every group's right to celebrate. Just leave me free to get to an open store, bank or school.
2) A gem from Clem: JFA's PM Clem this Wednesday was educating the "young people"? Said he: "Under Burnham we used to can sardines, sardines made from bangamary!"
3) Write down any 5 very positive, promising things that happened in Guyana this week.
'Til next week!