Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments…
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – It is a wonderful thing, this Presidential menu of relief measures involving hinterland communities, farmers, and homeowners. It comes with slippage, a huge one: plenty people left out. Yes, I understand the Lord giveth. In Guyana, Lord Ali of Leonora, Santa Rosa, pockets of Demerara, somehow forgot to remember that he the leader of a mixed society called Guyana. When he and his people left out the other people, the PNC people, the encouraging faded, the disturbing invaded. How could this be, Dr. Excellency?
I laud giving a timely hand to the brethren in Corentyne and Catherina, but there are limping citizens present in Ann’s Grove and Golden Grove who did vote, but likely not for the PPP. This doesn’t make them “non-Guyanese”. I gather from this very strategically calculated $25,000 cash to the hurting hinterlands was less about a helping hand, and more of a voting gesture and reminder. It is politics, and I recognise the Presidential Voter Stabilisation Act (aka relief) at work. When I add the billion for free fertilisers to farmers, I nod approvingly, for another widespread constituency is reeled in, reminded, and refurbished. On behalf of them, thank you Excellency. To them, I beg: let other Guyanese-non-farmers, but consumers-feel some fraction of that 15-30 percent assistance; it would make a difference. Please don’t let it be like gas people, who always have old expensive stocks, or businesspeople who took the shipping rate duty relief and made it their duty to ship numerous Guyanese to the bread line. Last, when I attach the mixed bag of homeowners, and the assistance coming their way, I say: nicely done, commander-in-chief; it is moving on sensitive fronts to secure vulnerable flanks. I marvel at the tactical cunning that is embedded in this package of goodwill for only some.
It would have been heartwarming, presidentially inspirational, if the reach of relief was constructed with a view of inclusion, and not sowing dissatisfaction, cultivating the territory for obstruction. Particularly from those places and people neglected. The doles handed out by the youngster carving out his own niche to other youngsters under the flags of sport and things cultural could turn out to be insufficient and ineffective in a pinch. To those who know, I urge reading the fine print.
I am thinking of all those tens of thousands of Guyanese workers and their families, who are largely left out of the financial festivities announced by the leader. Everybody else is seeing green; they are seeing red. Speaking candidly, I see this disturbing colour-coded relief package-well thought out and well-executed, which has heavy scents of politics and elections, and nothing of the broad and enduring. I may be jumping the gun because the President and his government may be weighing a special separate relief package for those left out in Monday’s announcement. Whatever is being contemplated to do (or not do) for watching, waiting, wanting public servants should not be long in coming, one way or another. If it is worse rather than better, then minimum wage labourers doing our dirty work, cleaning up after us, watching out for us, and will still be left wasting away, despite all this wealth, this generosity extended to other Guyanese.
This leadership inequity, measured presidential imbalance, has to rankle, twist the talons of torture more deeply. I ask out aloud if this is the studied vengeance of elections. The purer of spirit may rush to distance themselves, but I raise my hand – I am a believer that this is what is happening today with the public and minimum wage sectors of this society. The private sector has been blessed with its bundles of joy; the flooded got theirs; sugar surged with sweetness for seconds. Most of Guyana did with COVID-19 cash (I must remember to inquire of the Hon. PM how he is doing with his ‘pink’ slips representing those who missed the bus).
In essence, it is conspicuous that most of PPP Guyana (sugar, flood, business [not Ann Jardim’s] have tasted the fruits of state aid. It is even more noticeable that public servants and minimum wage toilers are on their own. What about those kith and kin, your Excellency?
(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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