Guyana
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What’s… the “good life”?? 

In the wake of the Emancipation Day commemorations – still going on – your Eyewitness is reminded of an emancipation speech made by ex-President Granger a few years ago: “Our lives will be determined by how we make our living. If we make our living by hanging around the corner, liming by the Guinness Bar, we’ll be forever poor. But if we go into our farms, go into our workshops, into our schools, we’ll be able to have prosperity.” This seems to be a widespread viewpoint in the African Guyanese community.
Do we really gotta draw such a stark line between “work” and “play”?? This ain’t really good for either our individual or national health, is it? Your Eyewitness was raised according to the principle, “all work and no play” makes Jacko a dull boy!! The homily had been passed down by the British – who did all right for themselves on “prosperity” over the centuries, thank you!!
Granger had illustrated his puritan point by insisting that our society rested on  “four pillars”: “the home, church, school and farm.” But what about the “pub” – derived from the “public houses” that taverns, inns and suchlike were dubbed?? Weren’t pubs as important as any other institution for the stability and success of the Brits?? It’s agreed that England took off during the reign of Elizabeth 1, and at the beginning of her reign, it’s estimated there were some 17,000 alehouses!! Taking into account the population of the period, that gives us around one pub for every 200 persons!!
Point is – as one official British publication says -the pub (our “Guiness Bar” that Granger knocked) “is also a unique social centre, very often the focus of community life in villages, towns and cities throughout the length and breadth of the country”. What the puritans ought to be pushing – rather than “work, work, work” – is to rebrand our “Guinness Bars” as local community centres, where ALL the peoples could “hang out” and resolve their inevitable disagreements over a “pint”!!
The other institution the puritans knock is “hanging out at the street corner”, and, as such, totally miss its social significance. The small cottages our foreparents built after emancipation weren’t exactly ideal to facilitate the “visiting relationships” that had evolved – and remains strong to this day. Kids of all ages were early socialised to decamp the premises when the “child-fathers” showed up.
Then, of course, it’s on the street corners that we kids learnt the real facts of life – by sharing our real experiences. Not just receiving the whitened versions from schoolbooks prepared by the same Brits, who wanted to keep us enslaved!
Let’s free ourselves from mental slavery!!

…real business culture?
Guyana is slowly – too slowly – learning how real business is conducted in the rest of the world, when corporations from the developed north are involved. Even though we’ve been independent for over 50 years, during more than half of those years under Burnham, we were busy nationalising the few such corporations that were in Guyana – and then running them into the ground. We’ve been trying to play “catch up” ever since.
In the world of business – we repeat, for the umpteenth time – a corporation HAS to seek to make profits by whatever means legal! And they’ll push the envelope on that!! It doesn’t matter if an owner is the world’s biggest philanthropist, like Bill Gates, Microsoft still plays hardball when dealing in the world of business. The point of it all, your Eyewitness is saying, we shouldn’t be whining about Exxon or GTT trying to maximise their returns. They’re serving their shareholders’ interests.
It was the PNC that had to protect OUR interests – but  they told Trotty to sign!

…Haiti’s fate??
It’s beyond ironic that, as we commemorated Emancipation in the former British colonies – who insist they “gave” us emancipation in 1838 – a new intervention’s being planned for Haiti, which emancipated itself in 1802!! Wheels inside wheels.