Guyana: The GHK Lall Column – The news this week – positive and negative

Deputy Speaker and appointments, D’Urban Park fire station HQ, fish and shrimp production, Exxon and Yellowtail, Malaysians and local logging,

The news is almost all disturbing this week. I worked overtime to find positives. Deputy Speaker of Guyana’s Parliament, the Hon. Lenox Shuman, is finding his voice, shaking off the rust; I am delighted for him. Mr. Shuman has called on the President to finalise the appointments of Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice, along with those of Commissioner of Police and Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force.

It is a sound call from the Deputy Speaker, one that is overdue. Looking closely at these four crucial positions, it is easy to discern that the first three are overseers of law, peace, and security nationally, while the fourth is of the maintenance of order at our borders.         

With respect to the current acting holders of the top posts in the police and army, I focus on Guyana’s two female jurists, compelled to the repugnance of acting for 20 years now. This is just plain dumb, and plain wrong. If there are problems with their integrity and impartiality, then get rid of them. But don’t hang them out to dry like this, and for so long. It taints our judiciary, insults these two outstanding women in the tiny legal sorority, as well as the broader legal fraternity. To the President and the Opposition Leader, just get the job done: appoint these women. Or they should get out of office, since their very presences (leaders) insult intelligence, degrade the wisdom of compromise, and sabotages the urgency of working together. Both leaders have another opportunity to deliver something beneficial for Guyana, prove they are not just for party and narrow political interests and visions.

I am encouraged that the new fire station is slated for D’Urban Park. It is close enough, and open enough, to respond to just about every city section, while well-positioned to address developments along the East Coast and East Bank corridors. Also, $648M is a tidy sum to get a modern fire station, one that could hold up and deliver. I, however, have doubts that the entirety of that $648M will be spent on the fire station; after all, we are talking about venal PPP politicians directing the show, and their handpicked people to play the tendering and awarding and contracting game. I challenge them: prove me wrong on this one. Spend every cent honestly on this fire station. I will lead the charge to hail.

Regrettably, it is all troubling the rest of the way. First, fish and shrimp production is down for the last two years (KN October 27). Many Guyanese can attest to that, from the availability and prices at the Meadow Bank Wharf, the municipal markets in the city, and farther away. To use an old saying: ‘fish an’ shrimp ain runnin’. One school of thought point to the culprit being oil exploration and production. Sounds reasonable, and when saltiness in the fishing fields is added, it is no wonder the fisherfolk are “catching hell” as they say. If this declining trend continues, fishermen and their families will be out of business; we may have to import seafood; and our working seafarers forced to the welfare rolls. Oil is progress, and I am all for getting it out of the ground, but there must be considerations for the totality of the downside, and accommodations (provisions) be made for a safety net for those feeling the negatives.

Then, the dreadful foreigners took over the picture. Since we don’t have our own gas flaring standards, Exxon will use its own. Instead of the Vice President misleading Guyanese, and using muscle to target opponents, he should prioritise getting a Guyanese gas flaring standard. Leave that to Exxon and we are going to need gas masks. Exxon can’t be trusted; Exxon has been bad for Guyanese.

Last, the Malaysians have registered a  logging company here, and that is the only local aspect of it. All the executives and players are foreigners. Guyanese can’t be this limited (unqualified), this uncaring (it’s government business). It is disturbing that we can be this docile. Dumb, too.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Kaieteur News newspaper.)

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  • brandli62  On 10/31/2021 at 3:40 pm

    “Guyanese can’t be this limited (unqualified), this uncaring (it’s government business). It is disturbing that we can be this docile. Dumb, too.”

    There is much truth in GHK Lall’s analysis.

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