By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News- There is no choice this week but to begin with the terribly disturbing. It involves gifts, now amounting to millions of dollars of public money, given first to former minister David Patterson, and now his colleague former minster Annette Ferguson. I am so disgusted by what occurred, how developments unfolded, and where things stand currently, that I shared some of this earlier on a radio segment, and am doing so again here. It is disturbing that former minister Patterson first resorted to silence, then the distance that affords disappearance, only to find out that both are temporary ointments that embarrass and humiliate further because of the defensive actions taken. I will spare the details about that expensive gold bracelet and cut to where I stand.
In regular circumstances, such a costly gift should raise questions from the intended recipient, who claims that he didn’t know nor solicited nor influenced in any way. In view of his prior silence, and assertions of being targeted unfairly and scapegoated irresponsibly, his denials are looked at most critically and scornfully. Putting myself in his place, and only as a regular citizen, not a sitting minister of government – my reactions and questions would be: what is this for? Who came up with this idea that spends, definitely splurges casually, taxpayers’ assets? Why should I take it and why me? In fact, I would have serious problems with whoever is behind such a glaringly troubling development. It is why I would refuse. Perhaps, if it was something that was priced at GY$10,000, I may (may) see some way of justifying acceptance. But not for a piece of jewellery that costs a half million dollars. That is my standard, and one of which I am proud, and wish that there were more Guyanese who saw life similarly. The then minister owed himself and his reputation, now in tatters, that essence. He owed his office and citizens the same. And because former minister Patterson failed miserably on all counts, he stands disgraced, which weighs heavily and disturbs endlessly. Without any prompting from Minister Juan Edghill, Mr. Patterson should do the only honourable thing left for him to do and stand down from heading that Public Accounts Committee.
I need some air, so I now go in an altogether different direction. Two of our younger ones did very well at the CSEC examinations, when they both succeeded at gaining passes in 17 subjects. What is stirring about the achievement of both Ms. Jamelia Amanda Paddy and Mr. Ajay Kissoon is that they are from working class families. Families that I gather are god-fearing and devout. That is as good a foundation from which to face the special challenges that our young people encounter in today’s world, which is what this young lady and young man are immersed in, and from the wrong side of the tracks, too. Ajay is from Albouystown and Jamelia from Fryish Village, Corentyne. Their stories are of dedication and excellence, as ably supported in the home, the classroom, and in the demands, they placed upon themselves, so that they can fulfill the visions that they harboured. This is encouraging and inspiring, that these two could rise above environment and circumstance, and excel. I hear that Mr. Kissoon wishes to be a neurosurgeon and Ms. Paddy to be an attorney. They have made a good start, and with continuing application and focus, they have a good chance of being outstanding presences in the professions of their choice. I wish them the best!
And last, I read of remembering roots and giving back. Even if we don’t come home again, there are those avenues through which we do, which is what Guyanese and West Indian cricketer, Shimron Hetmyer, did recently. He was generous to cricket in Berbice, when he stepped forward to donate a decent sum from his earnings, so that cricket could flourish there. I say: nicely done! It encourages, and we need more like this.
(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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