Guyana is an awesome country. Where else in the world can you pick up the newspapers and read that the procurement of $605M in medical supplies is deemed an emergency; four persons put to guard school are under investigation for stealing from that school; and the opposition is entertaining the President explaining the qualities that the Chairman of GECOM should have to be acceptable to him, when the law makes it clear that the President is obligated to choose someone acceptable from a list submitted by the Opposition Leader.
Guyana is an upside down county. We are all standing on our heads.
But things are not as bad as they seem. We must not beat ourselves up and feel that as absurd as things get in Guyana that there are no parallels in the rest of the world.
Reports are surfacing that some persons, including famous ones, are claiming that the world is flat. Columbus in fact left Europe in 1492 with the same preconceived idea. He did not sail off the end the world but discovered another world which he thought was part of the ancient world.
The geography of the world has since been mapped. Satellites are orbiting in outer space and projecting images back to Earth. Yet, some persons have suddenly decided to question how it is that one country can be on top of another at a point in time. They have missed the concept of gravity and forces generated by rotation and revolution of the Earth. They will want us to believe that we are not walking on our heads.
An editorial in yesterday’s Stabroek News makes us feel that some people should have their heads examined. The editorial spoke about an unnamed public official talking “rough” to subordinates. Like the man who left Europe in 1492 in search of a new route to the East, Stabroek News has made a discovery which had been in existence long before the Great Discoverer was born.
It is called verbal abuse. It is nothing new to public administration. There are quite a few tyrants within the public bureaucracy. They let loose their venom. They do not know how to speak to their peers and to the public. They are standing on their heads.
Their conduct is unprofessional, but many of them cannot do better. They learn what they live. They have been brought up in an environment of verbal abuse and they feel that this is quite normal. They transpose what they experience in their homes to the public offices.
We hear a lot about domestic violence – the use of physical force against someone from the same household. Very little attention is paid to verbal abuse. But on closer examination of victims of domestic abuse, the majority of them were consistently being verbally abused by loved ones.
Verbal abuse is widespread in homes in Guyana. And it is not just the women who are victims. Men are also victims of torment and harassment within the homes. But the chief victims of verbal abuse are children. They are told the most cruel and hurtful things. It is therefore not surprising that when they grow up, they do the same to those over whom they have power, be it in the home or office. People have been standing on their heads for too long.
Political abuse has always been the norm in Guyana. But the greatest political abuse is not the corruption which we read about. The greatest form of political abuse is the verbal abuse to which citizens are subjected from their political leaders, abuse that takes the form of spin doctoring and fake news. It is time we stop standing on our heads.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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