Coercion, Trotman’s words and my stairway to the sea
Sometimes, deep in the night, I sit on the verandah of my home and I look at the sea and smile at what I see when I fix my eyes on the walls of my mind. The sea where I live is the Atlantic Ocean. I fell in love with the ocean as a little boy because my dad worked right next to the ocean at the Saint Stanislaus cricket ground.
When I went to be with him, I was not really with him but on the seawall gazing at the vastness of the waterway and its permanent invitation to me.
My verandah (or the balcony of my mansion as described by the GRA’s chief, Khurshid Sattaur; feel free to visit to see if it is) looks straight out to the ocean. When I feel I am vindicated after all the torment thrown my way, I sit quietly in the night and think of the tragedy of this nation and the countless times I have been right when I ventured into the forest in search of wrongdoing, only to be chastised for my senseless journey.
We start with the paradox of Raphael Trotman’s words. In the midst of coercion on the streets of Georgetown by the Guyana Government, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Raphael Trotman, referred to the dialogue between the Government and APNU as an indication that democracy has matured in Guyana.
This columnist would like to go on record as describing the Speaker’s judgement as nonsensical, pathetic and utterly unintellectual.
Where was the mature democracy when public servants were threatened to go on the streets and picket in support of a section of the budget that had depraved contents. The AFC’s amendment to seek cuts had to do with the devious composition of the budget. The estimates lumped all categories of “contract workers” together.
It was extremely dishonest on the part of anyone to think that any opposition party would remove the pay of all contract workers, thereby terminating the services of contract workers like maids and clerks.
Certain working class occupations were categorized as contract employees. The scissors were aimed at the Machiavellian masks, whereby certain contract workers were being paid close to a million dollars per month, and as Moses Nagamootoo put it at the AFC press conference, the contract workers scenario paints a picture of incest and cronyism. Included in the list of contract workers are some really fat, fat cats.
Fearing for their jobs, workers had to go out and picket in support of a budget that originally gave twenty dollars (per day) more to our old aged pensioners. It was a no-nonsense attitude to this madness by the two opposition parties that led to the increase which at $10,000 a month to my mind is still deplorable.
Against this background of being forced to increase the meagre $8,000 pension, Trotman declares that our democracy has matured. I don’t know who Mr. Trotman means by “our” and don’t see any mature democracy in Guyana. Maybe coercing public servants to demonstrate against the AFC is a democratic action, according to Trotman.
In three columns on this page, I took issue with Trotman’s recurring refrain that as Speaker he has to be neutral. I am the only commentator to date that has penned a critical note on Trotman and I will repeat my feeling – Trotman will not go the historical route and participate in the changing of Guyana’s nasty political culture.
I insisted that as Speaker, he has to play his part in getting Parliament to undo the draconian legislation the House has passed under Mr. Jagdeo the past twelve years. For example, the State can appeal a decision by a judge and jury and the free person has to find bail.
So you are proven innocent in a criminal case but you can languish in jail if you cannot find the bail while you wait endlessly for the State’s appeal to be heard.
The Stabroek News yesterday opined that the budget will now pass given what I presume Trotman refers to as “mature democracy”. So I guess NCN will get its money to continue its vile propaganda against the very people that will vote for the budget.
As the days and months wear on, I suppose the entire nation will be watching to see at what speed the new democracy of Guyana will further mature. After typing this column, I’m off to picket in demand that one of the three public swimming pools be opened to the public. The Government has three pools and not one is openly available to the people of this land.