Who cares…

first_img…for Wales?n one of the (few) novels written about Guyana – then “British Guiana” – back in the 19th century, one kindly white lady commiserated over the drowning of several “poor souls” after a canoe they were travelling upriver, capsized. “Who were they?” her friend exclaimed in alarm. “Some coolies,” replied the kindly lady. “Oh!” replied her friend, as she nonchalantly continued munching on her sandwich, “Who cares?”Your Eyewitness remembered this episode as he saw the different reactions by the media and the Georgetown crowd to the parking meter scam, versus the human tragedy unfolding over on the West Bank of Demerara. Who cares about the 1700 workers on Wales thrown on the breadline? Who cares for the cane farmers of Wales who supplied one-third of the cane to Wales?It shouldn’t have to come down to comparing the suffering of different groups of Guyanese. But when the reactions are so different as we’re seeing, it compels comment. The protests in Georgetown are about a contract negotiated in secret by the City Hall cabal with the connivance of some in Central Government. It would’ve bled commuters in Georgetown for 20 years and enriched a few fat cats in City Hall. This must be protested.But what’s different about what’s going on over at Wales? There’s an estate with 14,000 acres of drained and irrigated sugar cane fields that have been abandoned. Ditto with the factory and the 1700 workers – and their families – thrown under the tractors. Ditto for the 60,000 persons who subsists on the economy anchored by Wales Estate. Nobody lost their jobs in Georgetown; their pay packets would’ve been reduced – not eliminated. For Wales, the poverty will be intergenerational.But what about the contract that’ll enrich a few fat cats in Georgetown, you ask, dear reader? Well, your Eyewitness said it right after the Wales closing was conceded: a big one from the US is hovering in the wings to pick up all that prime agricultural real estate for a pittance. And why a pittance? Well, ‘cause half of THAT contract will be siphoned off into the pockets of a few big ones in the Government and GuySuCo.And they’ll justify the pittance by ensuring the lands revert to bush and the factory collapses into a heap of scrap iron! So why the disparate reactions?We sadly have to accept, like most things in Guyana, it’s about race. But ironically, what most refuse to accept is over at Wales, those affected are almost equally Africans and Indian Guyanese.Guess they’ll have to bring their plight to Georgetown and occupy all those empty parking spaces to be noticed.…on Valentine DayYour Eyewitness must confess he’s not big on this whole Valentine hoopla. And that’s exactly why – it’s just a hoopla, which, to make it worse, was manufactured by the folks that still bring you Hallmark cards and Cadbury chocolates. Of course, over the years, the diamond folks joined in on the Valentine Conga dance.Now don’t get him wrong… your Eyewitness is as romantic as the other guy. It’s just the commercialisation of “love” on this day takes it to ridiculous depths. He recognises, for instance, the music industry’s also dominated by romantic songs and these are pushed by commercial entities. But somehow they’ve allowed the human, individual element to still shine through.The NWA in “Straight outta Compton” could still tell it like it is about what went down in the ghetto. Even Beyoncé is allowed to express herself on Jay Z’s stepping out.But Valentine? It’s all packaged treacle! But what the heck… he’ll take his better half to dinner. But no red and whites! A line has to be drawn somewhere!…about the political angst?Another thing your Eyewitness is cynical about is the political hypocrisy in his beloved country. After all the placards and posturings on the parking meters, those folks out in the streets will still cleave along racial lines come 2020.last_img

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