Making up my mind for me Frankly Speaking
By A.A. Fenty
Stabroek News
July 2, 2004

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Strange or puzzling my caption, you ought to think. And you would be right.

Even as I prefer to avoid joining raging debates on current "significant local issues" which others engage in so tenaciously, I am moved to share a thought with you after listening to the now-frontline spokeswoman for the People's National Congress (PNC) this past Sunday. Deborah Backer, who will probably join Clarissa Riehl and Faith Harding as top female stalwarts in a PNC administration, was merely doing her duty as a Party faithful I suppose. And even if she does not intend it she also comes off as a premier propagandist for her beloved Party.

Nothing really wrong with that. (I was once in that role, in different circumstances - mostly at elections time.) But perhaps that is why Ms. Backer's intensity disturbs me a bit.

Using all her female, feminine, motherly political charm last Sunday on the pro-PNC Channel Nine with Mr. Hoyte's name, Debbie sought to make up my mind for me! Actually she was doing her darndest to convince "Guyanese" why they should demonstrate their protest against Minister Gajraj and the alleged Death Squad. Ms. Backer (feelingly?) tried to persuade all indifferent citizens that it was almost a duty - if not a right - to take to the streets to manifest their disgust and abhorrence at the evil deeds of the killers and their sponsors and, by inference, the administration which seemingly condones the alleged wrongdoings.

The now political attorney-lady appealed to the humanity of Guyanese. Not as "PNC" she claims, but "as human beings" people should demonstrate their opposition to the authorities. Great Stuff Debbie, but consider other views. As you do your best for your Party's cause you must know that with minds of our own there are thousands and thousands who won't allow you and your stalwart colleagues to "make up" those minds for us. For some of the followings reasons.

I - and thousands of others - though we don't condone Death Squads, crime and murder - do not subscribe to public terror as a form of street protest whereby innocent, non-political individuals - predominantly of one ethnic group - are taunted, molested and robbed. We don't care for the physical bullyism that closes business-places and terrorises even armed policemen, providing the outside world with images of terror so common elsewhere.

Secondly, I, and others, have our own views about the deceased George Bacchus. To many of us, he was not just an informant or cattle farmer. The Director of Prisons will explain to you why he couldn't be considered a PNC citizen of quality.

Thirdly, and unfortunately, Debbie my Dear, there are also a few thousands who had and have no problem with the dreaded death squad (s)! They see the "Phantoms" as the correct and balanced response to the legal but lethargic police who could do little when dozens of innocents were being slaughtered on the East Coast and Capital in Demerara. Again unfortunately Ms Backer, I have a gut feeling that the concept - and practice - of avenging death squads will not now go away. (Certain types of business-people will keep them quietly alive - is my feeling. The violence will be "balanced".)

Lastly too, Exec member, even the people who take time to listen to you and your team, also have their views about politicians - politicians like you have fashioned yourself into - Both PNC and PPP. Those you seek to persuade have understandings of you and your colleagues - they have a shrewd idea of who could be considered paragons of virtue and who have agendas to whitewash or cover up. So as you use some "PMJ" to orchestrate your party's protest, remember these hints.

And understand, Dear Debbie, that it might be easier for your lady comrades to close down Regent Street than it is for you to make up my matured mind for me - and the minds of thousands of other thinkers. (But you have your (party's) right to keep trying.)


Reasons for leaving Guyana

Even the die-hard, nationalistic patriot can easily find reasons for leaving this Dear Land of Guyana these days. Never-ending blackouts. The reasons the people gave for closing down the Private Sector Training Agency, the guns in the waists and pockets of too many criminals. The dead slow pace of road construction and scores of other stress-related factors.

So do this until next week: List just five reasons for staying in and loving Guyana.

So long...

1) Coming next week: when protest organisers meet.

2) Guyana's "summer" has arrived. Stand by for September's autumn and December's winter in Georgetown.

3) What are the 3 R's of Solid Waste Management?

4) Name ten ministers in any new PNC government.

5) See you at Duck Curry Day Sunday.

`Til next week!