To invite the press less than 2 hours before starting his Leonora outreach last weekend – which obviously wasplanned more than a week ahead- is both clumsy and insulting to all Guyanese. In a country where no one performs with any alacrity, crossing the Demerara Harbor Floating Bridge, which floats away from time to time, presents a hugely difficult task to keep any schedule. That journalists were intimated by the hundreds of party representatives at the venue, who decided to join the tent under which the President opted to host his press conference reeks of pre-planning. Many persons could have been needlessly hurt as Stalin once indicated: never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. The crowd, with meager exceptions, that heckled reporters as they attempted to question the Guyanese Head of State on matters relating to the petroleum sector is the similarrabble I left behind 20 years ago with same ‘bhusi’ (a waste product derived from rice milling) purpose .
The common soundtrack of both present and previous regimes echoes a deep fear of the fourth estate in Guyana as is often surgical in questions of expenditure, favoritism and the awarding of contracts to supporters, friends and family. For Kwame McCoy (Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister) to defend the President and his claque is both outrageous and laughable. Here is a man (supposedly), who was an accused in the throwing of faces on columnist Freddie Kissoon’s face, now performing a parallel scenario on Kaieteur news journalists along with other media personnel and the populace at large with a ludicrous explanation, or rather, excuse.
Leonora, where the President hails from, is my villagebut it is still steeped in the cane-cutting mentality of its predominantly Indo-Guyanese PPP devotees coupled with the pervading rum-shop discourse; an emerging township with a dilapidated market on the verge of collapse and a society that presently has 4 schools and 9 rum-shops.
The President and his sidekick came prepared to confront, rather than answer the much dreaded Oil and Gas questions. If H.E. (does these initials mean Hess. Exxon) President Irfan Ali and other self-anointed oil gurus do not wish to answer questions on Oil & Gas then the relevant information must be made public and promptly, in like manner of the invitation to his press conference.