By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – The encouraging came late in the week from CXC visitors who arrived on our shores to share the good news. It was that Guyanese students recorded “higher than average results for CSEC, CAPE 2021 examinations” (KN October 15). We have been doing well, but this has to count as extraordinary, given the collection of circumstances that stood in the way of the young candidates and their, sometimes, not much older counsels. In the throes and fears of an unsparing pandemic, and the early edges of an unprecedented deluge, Guyanese students had to be tentative, even a bit unsteady, but they rose to the work at hand, and delivered, yet again. I congratulate them and their teachers, as I also make exception for their peers in volcano-ravaged St Vincent and the Grenadines. Well done, youngsters in the teeth of fierce storms.
I am encouraged by reported improvement in Mathematics, and wonder why there is a decline in English A and B, since it is their mother tongue. Might be old hat from me, but there needs to be more reading, much more of it, and not just textbooks and Facebook. It would be still more stirring to observe these young ones going forward into higher learning, and the wider world, and proving that they are not just absorbers, but leaders; not just regurgitators, but those resonating with profoundness and principle. Guyanese desperately need people in their prime, who can offer those. Again, well done, and especially so, when the times made the tasks more demanding.
There was almost a billion and a quarter spent on ICT, according to the mid-year report. It is a solid sum for a small place. I would be most encouraged, if most of it went into ICT projects, as presented on drawing boards and blueprints. We are spending, but we are always catching up, so far behind are we in the swiftly advancing world of technology. Throughout last week, I was reminded of how much ground we have to cover, since the revolutionary technology world keeps rushing ahead at breakneck speed. Once that one billion plus was spent for the purposes intended, then we would have done well. But human nature intrudes, and with all those billions sloshing around all over, thanks to Government spending, the field of opportunity is richer than ever before. It is mostly the same people calling the shots in political and public service spheres, and they are largely not about honesty and integrity, and of which the record is ample. The new faces are led: big money and which people and meaningful project decisions are all out of their control. Decisions are made higher up, orders are passed, and business as usual takes hold. If all Guyana pretend not to know, or not wanting to, I know. Spend those many billions identified in the mid-year report cleanly, and I would sound the trumpets the loudest.
And now for the totally disturbing. I have been casting about for the encouraging, so I don’t have to write (think of) the discouraging. It’s hard in Guyana. Three citizens are walking together on a fairly busy city street, one is lifted off his feet, thrown to the ground, beaten severely, and robbed. In the same October 15th edition of KN, two cops were given long prison sentences for raping a woman in the police station house, of all places. The law is being violated at will on our streets, and lawmen are found guilty of violating a female in a precinct of the law. The former is out of control and frightening; the latter is out of the ordinary, and alarming. The latter can be addressed quickly and closed down; but I am troubled that the same degree of confidence does not hold for the street, not even the yard and home.
We are in a bad place, which is made worse by efforts to smooth over and cover-up. We could be in a better place, if more of our fellow citizens come forward and get vaccinated. Just do it.
(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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