by Vidyaratha Kissoon
“You want sour pun it” the woman asked me. The plantain chips were in a clear plastic bag, knotted at the top. There were no labels, no made on date nor exp date. I said no to the sour because sour decreases the crunch.
The chips were thin, almost transparent. The woman is selling on a spot which once had a funeral parlour. There is a food van behind her. Grilled food. The funeral parlour in those days only had freezers. No one bothers now.
Some of the bags had small pieces, like shards of yellow glass, from the movement and packing and so.
The chips crumbled in the mouth, easy on the misshapen teeth and gums.
Fragility in plantain chips is good. Fragility in plantain chips is an art, a desired outcome.
Fragility though, is not desired in governance.
The Camp Street Avenue has a small arch near Middle Street. The Sustainable Development Goals form the arch. People are passing under the arch and not bothering to stop and read. November 15th will be half way into the coalition Government. The arch seems a nice kind of manifesto for here to 2020 at least, if not 2030.
The goals and activities towards the goals seem to be nice frameworks for the National Budget and for planning.
The top of the arch has 1. No Poverty The arch is close to the Guyana Revenue Authority building, the place where the Government collects the monies which are supposed to ease poverty. Guyana though, there are no statistics really on poverty and its manifestations and how poverty will be fixed. The handling of the Sophia squatters is an example of the insensitivity to some of the manifestations. 2. Zero Hunger is related to poverty. 3. Good health and well-being is a national project. I know diabetics who have to stress out about supplies of insulin as it seems the bureaucracy has intensified. 4. Quality Education in a place where the Teachers Union thinks it is okay to beat children to deal with their own in ability to manage classrooms. There is news though that the President will meet with the Union to deal with the salary increases. Maybe the President will talk to the Teachers about not beating children as a way to quality education?
5. Gender Equality in a country where the Cabinet is dominated by men, 6. Clean water and sanitation, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth as 1500 school cleaners still cannot be brought into formal employment. 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure, 10. Reduced inequalities, 11. Sustainable cities and communities, 12. Responsible consumption and production, 13. Climate Action, 14. Life below water as Exxon disrupts the seabed and the country has no idea about the deal with the oil . 15. Life on land, 16. Peace, Justice and strong institutions as the Government of the day has no interest in activating the Ethnic Relations Commission and the Human Rights Commission which were meant to promote some of the peace and justice.
“Parasite” “Children of Satan.. “
A woman posts up a picture of her Leader, on Facebook. Her President in his suit and tie. Her friends say how handsome he looks as he gets ready for the press conference on GECOM. Kaieteur News reports on some of the language the handsome Leader of the Opposition uses when he talks about his former comrades. A TV news story shows the Leader of the Opposition calling the Prime Minister “a parasite.” The language is similar to the rhetoric of Donald Trump of the United States. Is the Leader of the Opposition hoping for Exxon/USA /Russian support for 2020?
There is no website or so with any list of organisations who submitted names for the Leader of the Opposition to select as part of the consultations.
The Guyana Rastafari Council has supported the President’s decision – “…of the six General and Regional Elections since the implementation of the Carter Formula, five have been chaired by a Guyanese of East Indian descent and one by a Guyanese of African Descent. For our sacred space and consciousness as a multi-racial society, we urge all Guyanese to embrace the
appointment of Justice James Patterson, a Guyanese of African descent.”
The African Cultural and Development Association condemned the PPP with its ‘racist agenda’ and that the reaction proves that “Indians do not want to be ruled by an African Leader”. ACDA and the related organisations are vicious in their condemnation of all those who disagree with the President’s decision to appoint Justice Patterson. It seems to ACDA that all critics are racist or supportive of racism and the PPP injustice. Apparently, racism is the only reason to disagree with the President’s decision. Does President Granger feel the same way as ACDA?
Weren’t ACDA and the Guyana Rastafari Council part of the extensive consultations by the Leader of the Opposition on the name for the GECOM list?
A woman writes on Facebook about Christopher Ram and Joe Singh – “Children of Satan.”
Dr David Hinds of the WPA writes that ‘we are becoming the saddest country on Earth’ .
The multicoloured arch of the Sustainable Development Goals on Camp Street is probably in the wrong place is in nice happy colours. Maybe it needed to be outside Parliament. Or State House.
The avenue is not too busy. The chips are almost done. I see nice green bins to throw away the empty bag. There are pink bin liners. A young man rides a bicycle, looking at me as he passes me on the avenue. I hear a loud “Good Afternoon”.
He is about 17 or 18 years of age. He looks a bit small for the bicycle. I shout back Good Afternoon. Second time in the week that a random youth told me Good Afternoon on the road. In some minibuses, nobody bothered to reply when I shouted Good Morning/Good Afternoon.
I wanted to say “hey hey you know you aint supposed to ride on the avenue?”
But his riding on the avenue does not look dangerous. I hope he shouts Good Afternoon to everybody he passes. The young rider’s random Good Afternoon to a stranger is a fragile blessing, a faint hope , that it might still be possible for Guyana to be a place where every citizen can enjoy a good life without anyone believing they have to cuss or attack anybody else.
(Coil will be extinguished and be back hopefully in January 2018, if not before)