Here is a hypothetical example readers need to reflect on. The government appoints a director-general with total power in Wakenaam. He is to see Wakenaam becomes a model of development.
This guy knows Wakenaam birthed a famous cricketer for the West Indies, Ramnaresh Sarwan. So the director-general for Wakenaam brings Sir Garfield Sobers to lecture on cricket. Then he brings the world famous Ben Stokes to talk about cricket. All events are held in Wakenaam. And a pattern like this develops. Then he holds a competition for Guyanese to name a British baroness that came from Wakenaam and the prize money is one million dollars.
By the time the calendar year is done, the entire Guyana knows about Wakenaam. But the roads, the fields, electricity system, infrastructure, drainage and irrigation, agricultural development remain underdeveloped. Why? The money for these things went to speaking fees, first class airline tickets, hotel accommodation, catering etc?
In the above fictional example, what the director-general did for Wakenaam was to highlight it, not develop it.
The identical, mind you not similar, but the identical thing happened at UG under Vice Chancellor, Ivelaw Griffith, a disapora Guyanese who lived 30 years outside before being facilitated into the UG top job. Dr. Griffith has been a long, personal friend of President Granger. I was reliably informed at the time that Granger was instrumental in the facilitation.
I stood alone in Guyana and among Guyanese wherever they could be found, in saying in 2016 that Griffith was not the right person for UG. What was taking place at UG was my Wakenaam example. I honestly think no other word could best describe the wastage of money and neglect of the essential things UG needed but the adjective, “insane.”
In 2019, three years after I wrote, Griffith left after relentless exposure by the two university unions. At the time of his departure, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance endorsed his renewal of contract, so did the representative of the Guyana Government to the UG Council, Vincent Alexander.
Let me be graphic and pellucid in my grammatical outlay. The refusal of the president to stop the insanity at UG is something I believe no president before Granger would have tolerated. I penned this expression in several columns. I spoke about this feeling in an interview with Mark Benschop. The APNU+AFC coalition does not deserve to be re-elected after its support for the madness that went on at UG from 2016.
Part of the caption of this column included the words that I laugh at this self- destructive nation. Now here is yet another reason. I quote from a letter in this newspaper by one of the student leaders at UG, Jafar Gibbons. I researched Mr. Gibbons. He has no political affiliation. He never wrote in support of any government, previous or present.
Now read what Gibbons lamented at UG; “I could not have enjoyed the class because the room is hot…I mean if the University asked me to help raise funds to have fans purchased … I’ll be happy to do so…If otherwise, the room is good as closed….”
Gibbons was referring to a lecture he had to attend, taught by one of the supporters of the APNU+AFC government and an endorser of the renewal of Griffith’s contract, Rawle Lucas. This is Gibbons writing in 2019. I alerted Guyana to what was happening at UG since 2016 when Granger brought in Griffith.
The question is obvious to any reader of this column. So what did Griffith do for UG in his three years of headship? But the analysis goes deeper. I have always argued that the psychic destruction in Guyanese goes beyond the people in the state sectors and ruling politicians. One of the members of the John Fernandes clan who sits on the Council voted for the renewal of Griffith. So did the head of the UG student union. So even the business folks saw nothing that was wrong with the management style at UG.
Griffith is long gone. But there will be more like him. They will come from the diaspora. They will dazzle the eyes of an idiotic nation. They will mesmerize the minds of a self-destructive nation. They will cajole the government of the day that is devoid of both commonsense and intellectual capacity. They will bring to Guyana horses bearing gifts
Then one day, as with the unions at UG, these self-destructive, lost souls will run out of their bath-tub as Archimedes did shouting, “Eureka, Eureka, Eureka!” What would they have discovered? I leave you to figure it out.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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