EYEWITNESS: War of…Black Pudding

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Just when your Eyewitness thought it was safe to come out after all those missiles had been fired in the wake of the elections’ heist attempt, here comes the “BLACK PUDDING WAR”!! That’s right, black pudding!! Now, for years and years, since he was a wee tyke, your Eyewitness just lived for black pudding. It gotta be one of the greatest culinary concoctions of mankind. At the head of his street, there was an old lady, Aunty Shirley, whose appearance he breathlessly awaited every Saturday afternoon. But if the truth be told, it was Aunty Shirley’s black pudding that actually drew him like a butterfly to nectar!!

Those coils of stuffed blood and rice and her secret spices (long before the Colonel!!), served with a dollop of “sour”, would just disappear as we kids lined up to spend our weekly allowances at one go!! But it was always worth it…since you then knew how it felt to’ve died and gone to heaven!! Yes…Aunty Shirley’s black pudding was something else. But he could understand war being declared over it!! After all, even though we all grew up and discovered Banks Beer, that only meant we could now have black pudding while quaffing some beers!! Life doesn’t get any better!!

And now, war it is. Seems that while the petitions over the rigged elections are slowly working their way through the courts – have they, or have they not been thrown out? – a rearguard action continues, being fought by some long-in-the-tooth sappers. And what has earned the ire of those on the other side of (lectins) line was this call for Opposition supporters to boycott the Indian black pudding vendors in Mon Repos Market in favour of the ones in their own (Black) villages!!

Now, if this isn’t war, what else is? If you didn’t appreciate the semiotics of being between a black pudding vendor and her clients from your Eyewitness’s paean above, then you’re not a real Guyanese; it’s as simple as that! For you to tell a Guyanese to change their black pudding vendor is just asking them to make the greatest sacrifice imaginable, and that sacrifice can only be justified by a war or such like. Incidentally, another salvo in the war of attrition that your Eyewitness had picked up on – the not-so-serendipitous series of arson on Government buildings – has been explicitly noted by the PSC as “aimed at destabilising the Government”.

But, understandably, that didn’t get the traction of the “Black Pudding Boycott” in terms of signalling a full-blown war!! After all, it’s one of the few foods we inherited from the British that has become quintessentially Guyanese!!

To call for change is “fightin’ words”!!

…salary increases

Your Eyewitness had read so much of Churchill addressing the British people over radio during WWII – when all of us were fighting to save democracy (and our black pudding heritage!!) – that when he heard President Ali was going to address us at 7:30am, he waited as anxiously as he used to do for Aunty Shirley. For sure, he was going to take up the gauntlet thrown down by the head of the TUC on the matter of wages for Government workers. “War Break” from another front?

The TUC honcho insisted he expected to hear from President Ali by Friday 3rd December, 2021 by 15:30 hours” – on a DOUBLING of the announced 7% pay raise. Well, Pressie did have an answer – and not to parse it too finely – said, “No way, Jose!!” He debunked the TUC fella’s “rationale” for his demand by pointing out the totality of the benefits received by Government workers.

He also educated the latter on the fine points of Budget Line items!! Touche, TUC tough guy! Words?

Your Eyewitness is quite proud of his British heritage and all that; he refuses to throw out the baby with the bathwater. But did that female British explorer actually replicate her male forbears’ insensitivity by referring to us as “natives”??