This tiny South American island Wednesday Ramblings...
Stabroek News
August 27, 2003

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Some Guyanese politicians would have you believe that the world revolves around an axis passing though George-town with every word of their portentous speeches scrutinised by foreign service officers in Washington and Whitehall on the lookout for a change in Guyana’s posture on the geopolitical paradigm. If you want a really good laugh pick up a copy of the selected parliamentary speeches 1994-1996 of Clement Rohee. It’s also a great bedtime read guaranteed to knock you out before you have turned one page. Perhaps he spoke too soon when in 1996 he wrote, “One of the greatest achievements of the PPP/C government is the maintenance of political stability in this country.” It is safe to say that not one word in the book has made a difference for good or for bad.

And that is why we should not burst any politician’s bubble. Let them always feel important because politicians love to have their egos stroked and a happy politician will be less destructive. Nor should we begrudge them their costly junkets to India and China or the regular side trips to Brazil. The more they are out of the country the better. Have you noticed in the last week with much of the Cabinet on The Grand Tour how mercifully quiet Georgetown has become, how the Latino bar has lost just a frisson of its usual Friday night verve, how the airwaves have slipped into a summer somnolence? Channel Nine’s Nation Watch is as limp as wet lettuce on a Sunday afternoon. The poor PNCR has no one to aim at and is left twiddling its thumbs in Congress Place. Ah, if only it could be this way all the time. With Captain Hinds steadying the ship in his 311th incarnation as acting President we are in safe hands.

But getting back to Guyana’s position on the world stage one must wonder if the country is actually on it or still stuck in the dressing rooms putting on rouge. This is because a paper as esteemed as the London Daily Telegraph recently referred to Guyana as a “tiny South American island”. This faux pas which also ignores the fact that Guyana is about the same size as Britain “that tiny European island” was contained in what was strangely -for a Tory paper - a sycophantic profile of Baroness Amos, describing the “Cool confidence of New Labour’s pragmatist on the world stage.”

The article blathers on about Amos being an insider’s insider and one who “rejects the idea that Britain and other countries should say sorry for their colonial past.”

Amos is in fact little more than Tony Blair’s newest parrot. Listen to this one on Iraq: “The conditions in the south are probably a little better now than they were just before the conflict but that’s not good enough.” That is so Tony. On whether she thinks weapons of mass destruction will be found. “Obviously I hope so, all the evidence points to (them being there).” We suppose so it will save her boss’ skin.

The story goes on to describe her childhood as idyllic, “picking mangoes and swimming in a deep blue sea.” We wonder exactly what part of Wakenaam has these deep blue seas and how quickly it could be developed into a tourist resort.

The article concludes with a revealing moment when she wonders “as a peer and a full member of the British establishment” if she can still support the West Indies cricket team. “I don’t see why I can’t support both the West Indies and England,” is her smarmy come back. What if they are playing each other? “Then there’s a real problem, “ she replies, “In that case you support the side that’s winning.” Now we know how she got to the top.

By the by, Amos in at least two visits to Guyana has never returned to her childhood village. How very strange, how very...British.

Combined with her condescending approach to the local press, you get the impression that she does not want to muddy her shoes by associating with “this tiny island in South America.”

Another Hard Hitting Editorial

A shocking attack by young bandits on a business place in Guyhoc Park last Friday was another case of a country out of control. Or so we may think. Look closer at the story’s strap line “Bandits chase Nintendo playing kids out of shop”. Apparently these youngsters were up at 10 pm playing Super Mario and spending their parent’s hard earned money. These bandits should be applauded for being able to get children to stop playing video games. They will think twice before they visit next time and even then will be looking over their shoulder to see who is coming in.

Any parent will tell you that trying to get a child to do anything once they have a Nintendo game is well nigh impossible. Children seem to retreat into a world of their own where they are shooting flying turkeys and squishing green aliens in such deep concentration that a small tactical nuclear blast could go off nearby and they would not notice it.

On the plus side, they make very little noise except for the occasional groan and don’t pester you with awkward out of the blue questions such as “Daddy, what does circumcision mean?” Scientists have also recently discovered that children who play such games are able to concentrate better in exams than those who don’t.

Sadly instead of us coming up with a decisive point as we deeply wished, we will have to be equivocal. Message: Nintendo is ok, but make sure the youngsters do their homework.

Question of the Week

What is this ‘Shanklands Declaration’ signed by the mayors of the municipalities all about? What’s next, the Splashmins Fun Park Accord?

Question No 2 of the Week

From yesterday’s Letters Page: “The New York movement to free Mark Benschop is irrepressible, contagious and potent.”

Should Burke be quarantined?