Eyewitness: Looking closer at…

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…”tribal politics”

Roysdale Forde has to be either a very brave man or a very imprudent one. Your Eyewitness returns to his endorsement of Joseph Harmon for the leadership of the PNC when he took a shot directly at his major rival, Aubrey Norton. “Essential to consolidating the gains of the People’s National Congress Reform is recognising that the PNC is not a tribe. We must not use statements, we must not use euphemisms, we must not use the word ‘grassroots’ to mean a return or an acknowledgement that the People’s National Congress Reform is a Black people party. It is not a Black people party. It has not, it has never been, and it must never be. A leader that is tribal, a leader that is tribalist, cannot advance the cause of the people that support the People’s National Congress”!!

His imprudence was to openly call Norton a “tribalist”, which, coming from anyone outside the African-Guyanese community would’ve been “fightin’ words”! Forde is using the word “tribe” as a trope for signalling a very negative, or backward state of social organisation. And this kind of thinking about tribal people was imposed on us natives during the colonial era by the Europeans, who kept us in mental slavery after the chattel slavery. What exactly was – or is – so bad about “tribes” – especially in Africa, where the word was used as a slur most insidiously?

So, the Ibos and Yorubas and the Bagandas are African tribes…so what?? Didn’t they have a way of life that was their culture? Didn’t they have philosophical positions on how we ought to organise ourselves that are based on seeing all of us as interconnected? Ubuntu? How different were, or are, they from the English, or French or Scots etc? Didn’t they all start as “tribes”? But then the African tribes were more enlightened, weren’t they? Weren’t the European even more warlike than African tribes with their HUNDRED YEAR WAR? Did African tribes kill millions in WORLD WARS? All the various “Greek city states” that we hear about ad nauseum, weren’t they “tribes”? But that’s the point, ain’t it?

By loading the word “tribe” with all the negatives in human collectives, those slapped with the label today are “outside the pale”. So, let’s talk about politics. When the Brits insisted on Brexit because they were totally against all those Poles coming into their land, weren’t they being “tribal”? Ditto for all those right-wing yahoos who want all them furriners thrown out of America!! They don’t get the irony that they’re living in a land that was occupied by Native Indians!!
But they were living in “tribes”, weren’t they? C’mon Roysdale, you gotta come better!!

…at UG’s maintenance

Your Eyewitness was taken aback by the news that UG spent $1.6B on “maintenance” in six months!! Wow!! Talk about “high maintenance”!! Reading closer, he learnt that “maintenance includes repair works, cleaning, weeding of lawns, purchase of materials and stationeries, and other materials needed for the institutions’ operations.” All of which are utilised by “100 permanent and part-time staff for eight broad maintenance areas, and these are: carpentry, plumbing and electrical maintenance, maintenance of grounds and estates and the maintenance of buildings.”

Quite expansive – apart from being quite expensive – eh? The conundrum presented apart from the high outlay is that, right now, UG doesn’t have any face-to-face classes – everything is being done online. But let’s be fair…just because students don’t show up doesn’t mean that the UG administration can let the place fall into the gutter. This is the tropics…and the bush is always threatening to take over.
So, let’s be fair…let’s ask UG to explain the high outlay before crucifying them.

…stress levels

So the Public Accounts Committee’s goings-on are too stressful for the clerk who has has to record their utterances.
Is it because of the cuss words? All she has to write is “expletive deleted”!! Followed by “dittos”