Sep 21, 2020 Letters
I heard this fishy story, which is par for the course in Guyana. This one is about catfish, with whiskers designed to disguise and distract from the real big money issues in this country, which pass over our heads and leave us poorer and dumber.
Here we are with all of these challenges and catfish jumps out from the frying pan put on hold in the cold storage applied by the US, and into the pungent fires of Guyanese attention. It is a rather smelly priority, when there is narcotics, money laundering, Venezuela, national security and sovereignty (on the dark side); and transparency, clean governance, and moral leadership (on the bright side) that ought to be among the higher considerations of citizens of this country. It might be more fitting to say that what we have in this country is not moral leadership, but moral treason, leadership one.
We do not have the kind of knowledge that we should on our crude, but there we were tabling catfish, which certainly means something to some fishermen and exporters, but not much to most Guyanese, especially those who have no truck with unscaled fish. We should not be talking about catfish or making a big deal over our riverine friends when AGM, a foreign investor, is about to import hundreds of overseas workers to replace Guyanese who are, most likely, going to get the boot. If there was one thing that the US Secretary of State did caution about, it was to conduct business on our terms. Of course, this raised an immediate objection by those from the Far East, who felt unfairly targeted. I say: tough luck, buddy. Clean up your act.
That was yesterday when catfish made the rounds, only for us to find out today that Guyanese workers are going to get run into the ground. Instead of focusing on this business about lifting the ban on catfish, I think it would be better to place a ban on all these leadership subterfuges and the dissembling that are now part of the well-constructed daily feedings from political governors. Why not work diligently to lift the ban on our thinking about all that oil and gold slipping out of our grasp, and stop this nonsense over a couple of millions of US dollars of Guyanese catfish? Let’s show how smart we are, instead, and convert that same banned catfish into saltfish and smoked fish and dried fish and be content with the nutritional benefits that give strength to concentrate on governance standards and values.
It is a sign of leadership slickness that they can get the handpicked to meow like contented kittens about catfish, while many secrets remain about our precious oil. The secrets were so ironclad and inviolate that even Mr. Pompeo tiptoed around them and went nowhere near exposing anything or improving anything with some smattering of conversation with the powers of Exxon. On that one, it was no way Jose! Or whatever they call us schmucks in this part of the world. It was all about giving up Venezuela, with no one crying for Guyana. As I look at that Shiprider Agreement, I think that it is more of a free rider agreement. There is the rider and the ridden. Guess which one is Guyana?
I have to wonder about our ability to think and to appreciate where we are today, how blessed we are. We are worried about a few tons of catfish not going anywhere, while the whole riverbed of oil floats away in one tanker after another, with nobody the wiser or unduly exercised. Are we thinking human beings or dumb beasts of burden? We have a catfish mentality, which is no wonder that leaders and outsiders fry us brown at every opportunity, and then hang us out to dry and smell up the place. A fine lot we are.
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