Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Curtly Ambrose becomes the 16th West Indian to enter the ICC Hall of Fame

Presently I am deeply engaged in reading the revised edition of A History of West Indies Cricket, written by Michael Manley; which has a scintillating foreword by the legendary former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd. The deep revelations that this book produces, tracing the simple introduction of cricket to the Caribbean natives and the disreputable embarrassment that spurred the unrivaled determination to develop the sport in the region, is astounding as it is sobering.  
Apart from the early historical perspectives on the introduction of cricket to West Indians, a large portion of this West Indian cricketing scripture focuses on the meticulous conceptualization, nurturing and dominance of a team that ruled the cricketing world for 15 years.
The special memories of those glory days of our cricket that I was lucky to experience while growing up, rushed back to me on Tuesday last when Curtley Ambrose became the 16th West Indian player to be inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Fame. It is heartening to see that the world governing body for cricket has taken time to recognize another West Indies cricketing legend.
Ambrose with his 98 test matches and 405 test wickets along with 176 ODI matches and 225 wickets was never taken lightly by any international team against which he played. Of the 3,683 test overs he bowled 1,001 were maidens. He was one of the stingiest bowlers the West Indies ever produced, who made batsmen toil for every run they scored off of his deliveries.
Speaking to the BBC after his induction, Ambrose was very candid in his remarks on the current state of West Indies cricket. He said, “I believe that the cricket board in the West Indies made some mistakes…I believe that when we were the best team in the world nothing was ever done; nothing was ever put in place to nurture the talent we have coming up.” He continued, “Cricket has changed and the rest of the world has caught up with us back then and have gone ahead of us. That’s the reason why we’re playing so poorly these days.”
What I believe Ambrose was getting at was that while the rest of the cricketing world have emulated the professionalism and dedication of the West indies team of old, the current Team and administration have somewhat embraced the vices of unprofessionalism, lack of strategic vision and a reluctance to learn and apply the technical competences that modern cricket requires.
Ambrose further posited in his conversation with the BBC that it will take years for West Indies to rise again, gain respect, and dominate world cricket. It is almost two decades since the West Indies have been reinventing themselves as ‘calypso cricketers’. Is it true that it will still take more years for a formidable West Indies team to develop? I believe I speak for many cricketing fans when I say that the West Indies administration has had more than enough time to field a very competitive team.
I believe that some modification must be urgently made to the diet of first class cricket in the Caribbean. Perhaps the level of first class cricket must be elevated to a comparable competitive international standard that can most likely cultivate the mental fortitude, discipline and technical application that is so badly lacking in the current and emerging West Indies cricketers.  
I salute and congratulate Mr. Curtly Ambrose on his hall of fame induction. I sincerely hope that this accomplishment inspires young West Indians cricketers to strive for excellence and dedicate their energies towards the resurgence of our cricket to its former glory.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CCTV cameras can help in the fight against crime in Guyana

Recently in the media I recognised that public Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance has become part of new national security and crime fighting initiatives currently being undertaken by the Guyana government. I must commend those in the government responsible for taking this bold step at revolutionizing the way in which Guyanese law enforcement will be effected.
For those not familiar with how this kind of technology functions, CCTV video surveillance systems can either passively record and play back silent video at certain intervals, be actively monitored by security personnel, or use a combination of these methods. In the US and many other countries around the world, Law enforcement personnel actively monitor most municipally-operated systems, although in some cases volunteers and private security are also involved in some projects.
There are even school-based CCTV surveillance systems in some countries that also employ active, passive, and combined monitoring methods, depending on the financial resources and number and type of personnel available.
Many European countries now employ public video surveillance as a primary tool to monitor population movements and to prevent terrorism. The United Kingdom (UK) in particular relies extensively on video surveillance as a tool to fight crime and prevent terrorism. According to some researchers, the camera surveillance systems in the UK are discouraging and thus preventing crime. After the recent riots in London, many persons were arrested based on video footage sourced from CCTV cameras strategically placed around London.
A key player in the CCTV camera arena is facial recognition software. This expedites the identification process of persons captured on CCTV footage. Based on the establishment of a country’s information data base, and the level of security clearance of the persons using the software, basic or very detailed information about the person identified can be sourced.
That Guyana is heading in the direction of using CCTV surveillance is a step in the right direction. In these modern times, especially with widespread terrorism and the sophistication and frequency of crime, many countries around the world embrace the use of this technology.
Upon conducting some research I found that Canada began operating CCTV video surveillance on public streets and areas in the early 90s. Although its use is not as widespread as in the United Kingdom, CCTV surveillance is utilised by Canadian banks, restaurants and convenience stores, and at industrial sites, offices, apartment buildings, and public transit stations.
The French government permits electronic and CCTV surveillance in public places, including monitoring major roads and city and urban public areas. In Ireland, CCTV video surveillance has been used by private companies since the mid-1980's to monitor post offices, shops, banks, building societies, and shopping malls.
In Spain, the threat of terrorist attacks has caused extraordinary security measures to be taken by federal authorities, especially in tourist areas. The Spanish Interior Ministry also installed video surveillance equipment in public areas in the Basque region in an effort to combat street violence and politically motivated vandalism.
Even the principality of Monaco with its 500,000 inhabitants is monitored 24 hours-a-day by CCTV camera surveillance installed on buildings, rooftops, and street poles.
Are these countries “surveillance states”?
Are Guyanese living in developed countries around the world complaining about CCTV cameras? When members of APNU travel abroad are they really concerned that ‘big brother’ is watching their every move? 
CCTV cameras serve a very valid purpose in societies that are determined to curb crime and terrorism. Guyana might not be a terrorist haven but it sure has an escalating crime rate. There must be some amount of crime that can be prevented with the use of CCTV cameras.
Studies have shown a 4% decrease in crime in neighborhoods where CCTV has been installed. CCTV is most responsible for deterring auto thefts and has some effect on violent crimes (Welch & Farrington 2002). Evidence from the UK also shows that its use may reduce theft of motor vehicles and some other forms of acquisitive crime. There is also evidence that it works best in small enclosed areas (Gill & Spriggs 2005).
Regardless of the sophisticated technology employed to fight crime, basic Law enforcement principles and procedures must prevail. The Guyana Police Force (GPF) or whichever national intelligence agency is established must be able to use the information garnered from CCTV footage responsibly. Professional Law enforcement must be administered with the protection of Guyanese citizens as its major priority.
In all things there are consequences and unintended consequences. It is a pity that the APNU apparently can only emphasise the unintended consequences that might result from the establishment of modern crime fighting infrastructures and legislations. Perhaps strategically engaging the government in a manner that ensures severe measures are in place to avoid the abuse of its new crime fighting technologies and accompanying legislations might be more constructive.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guyana is in need of urgent deregulation in radio.

A significant characteristic of human beings is their ability to communicate effectively. In contemporary times, the advancement of technology has considerably enhanced the ways in which humans communicate. Mass media is constantly being revolutionized with the rapid evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). As these technologies continue their dizzying development, new media have been conceived and are also quickly evolving. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube MySpace and others have given people the ability to communicate in a highly specialized manner never before envisaged in mass media.     
In Guyana while there is the desire, capital and human resources for the expansion of some sections of the mass media, severe restrictions in the form of predatory legislation stifle in particular the deregulation of a key area in the broadcast sector; radio. Sadly after 19 years of democracy, Guyana is stuck with one radio station that is owned and controlled by the government.
Although some amount of deregulation has occurred in the print and television media, radio has remained firmly grasped in the clutches of government control. This has severely stunted the growth of radio in Guyana, while all other CARICOM democracies have made quantum leaps in their development and advancement of radio.
While underdevelopment in radio in Guyana might be a reality of myopic, narrow and in most cases partisan political objectives, the inflexible control on content that emanates from the government and its agencies, can most likely be seen as a violation of the peoples’ right to information.
This week it was reported in the media that Merundoi was temporarily taken off air because an episode was deemed ‘politically offensive’. After listening to the episode in question at (season 2 episode 29) I am still trying to figure out why such a decision was taken. There is absolutely nothing in the episode that appears to exploit traditional voting patterns. This programme follows the radio serial format of continuous dramatic fiction and is presented weekly. This would mean that with every episode the plot thickens and new revelations arise.
While Unique was asking Natasha an honest question on how she should vote, Natasha explains that in her home voting has a traditional pattern that she intends to follow. That is the basis of the voter education section of that troubled episode. The next episode might delve further into the issue on how some young people make their decision on voting. I am very sure listeners would want to hear how Unique decides on how she will choose the party for which she will vote. From all indications it seems as if Unique is determined to break the voting tradition in her home.
Where is the harm in this radio fiction? Are some persons scared at the way in which Unique might arrive at her decision? Merundoi is a very powerful series that has gathered a significant following in Guyana. I am very confident that the demography of its listening audience will reflect a generous mix of age, race, gender, location and political affiliation.
I can find absolutely nothing wrong with the content of the episode in question. The preceding episode dealt with Unique asking her grandmother some honest questions about voting. She also expressed her confusion in deciding how she should vote which escalated into a very heated discussion mainly because her granny laid down the traditional voting pattern of the family. That is a Guyanese reality!
The troubled episode in question saw Unique reaching out to her friend - something that most young people do - asking the same questions and getting the same response that she got from her granny. Again I ask where the harm in the script located. Many Guyanese are eagerly awaiting the development of the story to see how Unique arrives at her decision on how to vote.
I noticed that the management of NCN and Merondoi have come to some agreement and the programme will resume broadcast next week. Let us hope that the script writing is not altered to reflect Guyanese fantasy as against the realities that exist with regard to voter ignorance. After all this is an educational programme not a fairy tale.
Let Merundoi air and let honest voter education prevail.
Guyana is in need of urgent deregulation in radio. With the deregulation of radio in Guyana the establishment of sensible codes of practice which should guarantee the increase of quality broadcast standards should become reality. This should hopefully eradicate the triviality that currently passes for content regulation in radio.
 Medel & Salomon (2011) have persuasively stated that: “The freedom of expression is a pivotal component of our individual development – as human beings and as “political animals” – and to improve and radicalize democracies.”
If Guyana is indeed a democracy as our leaders would have us believe, then radio should be allowed to function democratically. Content regulations and censorship on radio must be done against established codes of practice and not by misguided fears and political coercion.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remembering Sr. Beatrice Fernandes OSU.

The Catholic Church in Guyana has lost an outstanding member in the passing of Sr. Beatrice Fernandes OSU. A woman of great vision with an unrivaled commitment to the development of youth in Guyana, Sr. Beatrice presided over the administration and execution of a number of youth development programmes throughout the length and breadth of Guyana.
One such programme with which I am familiar was Young Apostles on the Move (YAM) that was primarily responsible for the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ nationwide. Young people, who were serious about spreading the gospel while making a difference in their lives and the lives of others, were recruited, trained and placed into various communities to serve its people to the best of their abilities. Sr. Beatrice had a very keen eye for talent and potential in youth. She systematically honed those talents she found useful in those she recruited and strategically comprised YAM teams to utilise the strength and talents of its members. As a result, bible study, music, art and craft and sport were not the bugbear of a single person but were shared by team members who often times performed exceptionally on missions.
YAMs touched the lives of many through their outstanding and dedicated ministry. However, the lives of many YAMs were significantly influenced by their interaction with Sr. Beatrice. She was a pillar of strength and an amazing role model worthy of emulation. I am truly honored to have been graced with her influence, guidance, discipline, love and prayers while serving as YAM in Guyana.
Eternal rest grant to her O Lord. And let perpetual light shine on her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When will West Indies cricket return to a emblance of its past glory

This month’s Esquire (Middle East) magazine features a beautifully written article on West Indies Cricket by Paul Wilson entitled, “So What Happened?” In this piece the writer accurately discusses the history of West Indies Cricket and traces it to its current sorry state. He even provided an explicit exposé into a new film that celebrates the former fierce and victorious West Indies team which has now morphed into becoming one of the worst cricketing sides in the world.
As so many commentators have done before in eulogizing the glory days of West Indies cricket, so has Mr. Wilson. He began by highlighting the crucial Test Series against Australia in 1975-76 when the Aussies strike bowlers Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson paved the way for the Windies side to receive a humiliating 5-1 thrashing. This appalling defeat, Wilson believed, was the turning point for West Indies Cricket in the mid-70s. He writes, “With the psychological and physical impact of Lillee and Thomson fresh in his mind, Clive Lloyd resolved that the West Indies would do unto others what others had done unto them, only harder.”  
The writer went on to highlight that after Lloyd had developed a well-oiled West Indian cricketing machine, they would lose only two test series in two decades. These were indeed the golden years of West Indies cricket which came to a crashing halt by the late-90s.
It is very refreshing to learn that a full length film has been made focusing mainly on the best years of West Indies cricket, celebrating the only uniting Caribbean force known to mankind. Fire in Babylon according to the writer is a film directed by Steven Riley that deals with the formation of the indomitable West Indies side of the late 70s and 80s. Wilson states that, “Fire in Babylon is a film rich in evocative archive footage and contemporary talking heads, and then there’s the music. As well as a soundtrack by with the likes of Marley and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, who emerged in parallel with this West Indies team, the film features live performances of reggae and mento (Jamaican folk music) songs about West Indies cricket.”
Fire in Babylon I believe would be an excellent film for cricket fans, especially West Indian fans many of whom are now accustomed to seeing their team viciously snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The article ends with some very blistering views from Mr. Michael Holding. One in particular that stands out for me is: “And I don’t think there is a good rapport between the West Indies Cricket Board and its players. My honest opinion is we have a few people involved in West Indies cricket right now because of what they think they can get from West Indies cricket, not what they think they can do for West Indies cricket, and that is wrong.”
I wonder when West Indies cricket will return to a semblance of its past glory. Poor sporting administration, fetid politics, lack of technical application on the field and a fractured relationship between the players association and the Board are certainly not helping in any way possible.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Drama unfolds in FIFA

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has found itself deep in the most publicized corruption scandal in its long history. Investigations are well underway but two of its most senior members have been suspended. The most damning accusations of vote buying have been greeted with the sternest denials from both Bin Hamman and Jack Warner.
Now it seems as if Warner is about to as he says “unleash a football tsunami on the world of football” with revelations that he knows about FIFA president Sep Ballter’s shady dealings of giving the North, Central American and Caribbean federations (CONCACAF) "a gift of one million USD… to spend as it deems fit" this month.
However with the whistle blowing going on in the highest offices of FIFA its incumbent president is left opposed and will most likely return as president for another term. He has been cleared of any suspicion and the two ‘brothers’ are left with the piercing media spotlight following them around.
One cannot help but wonder if fate had a role play in the timing of these accusations? Regardless of origins of these accusations, one must wonder about their perfect timing; just as some forceful competition was dribbling its way through for a shot of the FIFA presidency.
What happens as the investigations unfold will make for really interesting reading. FIFA itself needs serious reform however. The way it administrates over the sport is too personal. It is time new structures are put in place at FIFA to ensure transparency and accountability. But this will never happen under the stewardship of Sep Blatter. He has been there too long in the broken system of international football.
In the meantime Bin Hamman and Jack Warner have to take to the bench with their red cards and sit out this election. I hope that the investigation truly brings justice and the right persons are dealt with accordingly.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

West Indies Cricket and Performance Management

A key feature in modern human resource management practice is performance management systems. This simply means that contemporary scientific managerial constructs are now conventionally accepted methods for assessing efficacy of human resources and forms the basis of modern industry. In its most basic form performance management systems facilitate continuous and dynamic assessments of human resources and trigger a number of solutions that can be utilised by management to ensure that the maximum efficiency of its human resources is realized.
I am happy to see that finally the West Indies Cricket Board is beginning to embrace performance management systems in dealing with its players. If used correctly, this can result in greater benefits to Caribbean cricket.
The objectives of the Board must be clear and must be agreed upon by all parties concerned. Failure to reach the stated objectives must result in consequences for those found liable. Likewise, achieving or over achieving objectives also produce significant benefits and rewards that will affect positively all involved.
Cricket has evolved significantly as a sport since its conception in the 16th Century. Talent alone is unacceptable on any modern cricket pitch. Today cricketers are far more methodological, astute and technically correct. Cricket has a plethora of new rules especially in its shorter forms that players need to think through and adapt thus enabling them to function effectively to win games. Therefore, a lot of preparation, training and strategizing need to be done by any team before heading into a particular match or series.
 Professional cricketers cannot afford to go to matches and perform constantly in an ad hoc, hit or miss manner and expect to be retained in any squad. The reason a team is formed is for that unit to work together at achieving a common goal. In the West Indies case, I would assume that goal is winning matches. So while many have argued strongly against the exclusion of certain players with ‘experience’, I do not see why such measures should be frowned upon. For too long West Indies cricket has been in a sporadic mode. One could never know what to expect from the team in a game of glorious uncertainty. For too long the uncertainty of West Indies cricket has been inglorious. West Indian supporters at some point must be honest with themselves and demand more from their players.
I began by very briefly touching on performance management system and would like to end by highlighting that while performance related compensation is arguably one of the most discussed elements of the system, training and development plays a very important role. Should the West Indies Board fully embrace the use of performance management systems, they will surely recognise that the training and development of players is immediately required and must be continuous. The WI Board must significantly work to raise the level of regional cricket if it wants to field a team of competent players. Mediocre domestic competitions cannot produce good players. Not when they have to face other players at the international level who live on a diet of serious professional domestic cricket all year round.
The management, coach and players of the West Indies team must ensure that discipline and professionalism are the hallmarks of the team. Training and development in the areas of technical and managerial competencies must be an ongoing process for all players. These strategies will ultimately make better players and better captains.
No longer can we expect one or two batsmen or bowlers to save the day. The team must function comprehensively as a unit, learn to win and win matches. I wish the WI Board and the team every success as they embark on yet another cricketing journey. I also hope that while the WI cricketing institution provides training and development for players that players themselves assess their strengths and weaknesses and engage in various forms of personal development.
If a player is dropped, then that player must be briefed clearly and comprehensively about why he has been dropped. He must be shown the steps that must be taken to ensure performance improvement leading to selection at a later time. The West Indies Cricket Board must continue to move cricket from being an amateur pastime to a professional sport.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

GAPF powerlifters continue to lift Guyana proudly!

I would like to congratulate the Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPF) and their outstanding athletes who performed excellently at the 5th IPF/NAPF CPC, maintaining Guyana’s dominance in regional Powerlifting.
Once again Randolph Morgan, John Edwards, Kenneth Melville, Karel Mars,  Colin ‘Mr. Clean’ Chesney along with our lone female Dawn Barker who comprised Team Guyana, made light work of the weights offered them in their categories to bring home six gold medals and one bronze.
Even though unfortunately Chesney was not lucky to gain any medals, we are all proud of the team effort our powerlifting athletes executed to once again keep the golden arrowhead very visible among the other Caribbean countries, letting them know that Team Guyana remains a powerful team with which to contend.
What I find most powerful and astounding is the tremendous adversity under which our Powerlifters continue to operate and still continue to make us proud in regional competitions. Once again the GAPF is faced with the dilemma of severely inadequate sponsorship; this time forcing the Guyana team to be reduced to six persons. The shameful way corporate Guyana treats Powerlifting needs to be significantly addressed by the Federation and its stakeholders.
Banks DIH the ‘saviour’ of all things sport and Buddies Gym along with the other businesses establishments and persons who might have contributed financial assistance, time and energy in fielding this successful Guyana powerlifting team must be congratulated.
GAPF athletes have continued to set a standard of excellence in the sport of powerlifting both nationally and regionally. I sincerely wish that corporate Guyana begin to recognize that the sport of powerlifting is a deserving discipline that is worthy of their financial support.
Once again to the GAPF President Mr. Peter Green and the executives and athletes of GAPF, I salute you for another display of excellence and discipline in the ugly face of adversity. Continue to do well and make us proud. One day I sincerely believe that corporate Guyana will finally recognize that the sport of powerlifting has the potential to lift brand awareness and create better brand positioning at home and abroad should they care to expand their target markets sensibly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CARICOM needs to place severe sanctions on Barbados for their continued Immigration violations

I read in the Jamaica Observer Edition on Thursday March 24th an article entitled Finger-raped in Barbados - J'can woman deported after shameful cavity search by immigration officer ( and could not help but shudder at the way some of our CARICOM neighbors treat each other. Barbados within the last 15 years have allowed many of their immigration officers to treat travellers from certain Caribbean countries in the most disgraceful, disrespectful, unprofessional and inhumane manners all in the name of national security.
The recent violation of the young Jamaican woman who was allegedly forced to undergo repeated virginal cavity searches while being verbally abused in the process reflects horribly on the professionalism and integrity of the Barbados immigration system. What makes matters like these more ugly is the fact that the offending party or parties continue to operate with little or no reprimand from their superiors or those responsible for governing the professional and ethical standards of the Barbados immigration office.
As Jamaicans suffer, so do many Guyanese. Many are the tales of unprovoked, demeaning treatment and most time inevitable deportation of many Guyanese who find themselves on the wrong side of the Barbados immigration system. While it is true that some persons do present themselves in many countries including Barbados with the intent of engaging in nefarious activities, all persons from certain Caribbean countries should not be classified as lawbreakers.
CARICOM for the last decade have been trying to create a Single Market and Economy for the Caribbean where one of its tenets is the free movement of Caribbean people. Yet CARICOM seems helpless in bringing one of its wayward members (Barbados) in line with regard to its human violation and discrimination that passes for immigration service at its airport.
I would suggest at the next heads of government meeting CARICOM leader seriously address the situation existing at Barbados Immigration! It is high time some form of sanction be placed on the Barbados government for these repeated immigration transgressions that it seems incapable of handling.
Barbados is not Australia. And Australia has one of the most rigorous immigration systems in the world. However as rigorous as the Australian immigration system is, its officers are highly trained, professional, courteous, respectful and sensible.
Maybe some professional training needs to be conducted for Barbados Immigration Officers. The region needs to denounce this kind of atrocious unprofessional conduct of this female Bajan immigration officer. I expect all the women's rights groups to rise up and denounce this dastardly act carried out by one woman to another.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Congratulations to Parkside Steel

Parkside Steel Orchestra arguably remains the modern Guyanese steel pan music standard bearers who continue to redefine musical excellence with their every performance. From its humble beginnings downstairs of the Department of Culture building which was located at the back of the National Park, Parkside has become the top steel band in the country.
I would like to congratulate the men and women of Parkside Steel for winning the recently held Republic Bank’s 2011 Mashramani Steel Band Competition. Parkside showed its dominating excellence by convincingly winning the competition by an astounding 36 points, beating their opponents by a wide margin.
As they enjoy their success, I would like to encourage the performers of Parkside to continue raising the bar for steel pan music in Guyana. I believe I can speak on behalf of all former members of the band who at some point would have contributed to the sweetness of the Parkside sound when I say we are exceedingly proud of your achievements thus far.
Republic Bank must be congratulated on their continued corporate sponsorship of this genre that so fittingly reflects the rich musical culture of the Guyanese people. It is hoped that other corporate sponsors could be so moved to support and develop this aspect of our national heritage.
Keep the notes sweet and the chords harmoniously rich with the musical genius and complexity that can only be produced by Parkside Steel.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dictatorship is finally broken in Egypt

There is a saying that goes like this: ‘Unity is strength and strength is power’. On Friday afternoon the world witnessed the powerful effect of Egyptian unity when their dictator Mr. Hosni Mubarak stepped down. It is important to note that at the best of times, Egyptians are a divided people. This division is either by religion, tribe, or just geographical location. Egyptians from Cairo often snob their Alexandrian bothers, Muslims and Christians are often at odds with each other. But over the last 18 days, all these differences were put aside as together Egyptians stood shoulder to shoulder in Tahrir square and demanded that there be an end to their three decade dictatorship. Over the last three weeks, Egyptians had one enemy and that was Hosni Mubarak the Dictator!
One of the many moving scenes from the Egyptian protests was the number of young people present. All these Egyptian youth know is dictatorial rule. The older protester can probably relate to the 60s and 70s when Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar el-Sadat ruled respectively. But the concentration of the crowds was young people who could not be dissuaded by Mubarak’s excuses for wanting to hold on to power. They had enough of him and wanted him gone. 
As the cries of Egypt is free, Egypt is free rose from Tahrir square and other parts of the country, great expectation grows in the hearts and minds of all . What will be the future of Egypt now that dictatorship has fallen and fled? Egyptians have demanded democracy, they have fought for change.
The events from the last few weeks carry lessons that can be learnt by other nation-states around the world. There are serious implications for some political leaders who believe the tyranny of their rule will continue forever. Oppressed masses need to be inspired by the events in Egypt and recognize that together much can be achieved.
Political change cannot come from the feeble voice(s) of one, two or five lone individuals. There needs to be an awakening where hundreds and thousands of people can unite around a common issue like elected dictatorship for example and work together to bring about change. Those who suffer under regimes that exercise blatant, brutal power to intimidate, silence and punish citizens who dare to criticize the corrupt and incompetence governance under which they struggle must be inspired by the events of Egypt.
After winter must come spring. The wintry days of dictatorship are over for Egyptians. As the spring of democracy blossoms, Egyptians will be living the change they fought desperately for with a unity never seen before.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egyptian dictatorship is quickly expiring

The people of Egypt are demonstrating that dictatorship has an expiry date. Their refusal to let up in their protests against the three decade dictatorial rule of President Hosni Mubarak is a sign that Egyptian society has had enough of his repressive rule. While the world watches the growing power of the Egyptian people that has taken to the streets of this past week, the sobering actions of the Egyptian Army is what is most stunning.
The huge demonstration which took place on Tuesday that saw several hundred thousand people taking to the street came on the heels of a crucial statement released by the army in which it vowed not to use force against the protesters. "The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people," read the statement. It even went further by calling the protesters’ demands legitimate.  "Your armed forces, which are aware of the legitimacy of your demands, are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirm that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody."
The army statement also warned people not to resort to acts of sabotage that violate security and destroy public and private property. The statement seemed to suggest it would be playing a role akin to the police. It said that it would not allow outlaws to loot, attack and "terrorize citizens".
It is heartening to see that the Egyptian army taking a firm stance against any form of political interference in the execution of its duties. Too many times in situations like these the coercive arm of the state is used by governments to stifle freedom of expression.
No one is being arrested on trumped up charges and being harassed unnecessarily because they choose to protest for political change. Very strong language is being used and yet no one is being arrested and thrown in jail for treason.
The Egyptian people are demanding change! And the delicate international political/diplomatic position in which Egypt finds itself with the West has most Western leaders hoping for a peaceful end to the Mubarak era. The US is threading very carefully on the matter.
Guyanese need to take note of how people in repressive societies collectively rise in unity for change. Muslims and Christians are side by side shouting for political change in Egypt. Tribes are uniting and calling for change. As one Egyptian analyst said on Sky News, “not even football has brought this kind of unity among Egyptians”.
The world is watching closely to see how this all ends. But one thing is sure: the Egyptian people are resolute in their demands for Mr. Mubarak to demit office immediately.
Democracy is in demand. According to the great Mahatma Ghandi, “people must be the change they wish to see in their world”. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Can the Guyana Police Force really justify making in front of Hotel Tower a No Parking Zone

Guyana has never established an institutional body that deals with parking. It seems that the Guyana Police Force is left to deal with most issues of parking in and around the city. Unfortunately with the consistently large influx of vehicles into Guyana over the years, there still are no established parking lots available for persons to park when in Georgetown. On-street parking remains unregulated. There is no underground parking or multi-storied car parking facilities in Georgetown or anywhere in the country.
The decision to disallow parking in front of one of Guyana’s oldest hotel is astounding as it is asinine. Where is the documented evidence that parking in front on Hotel Tower impedes the free flow of traffic when compared with other parts of the city? If one were to believe the words of Traffic Chief Neil Semple, then there should be the eager expectation that parking would be prohibited in front of a number of places. Some of these businesses are John Fernandes Ltd, Republic Bank, Fogarty’s, GBTI, and many other businesses on Water Street since to my knowledge and experience, the free flow of traffic on that street is reserved only for Sundays outside the Christmas season.
I empathise with Mr. James Manbahal proprietor of Hotel Tower who has invested millions of US Dollars in Guyana’s flagging tourism industry and is now being given the unfair treatment of the state. With this kind of treatment meted out to current investors, it will only adversely affect the way potential investors view the eco-political climate of Guyana.
Hotel Tower’s parking facility cannot have a greater impact on the free flow of traffic on Main Street than other businesses on that same street that allow parking in front their premises. The Guyana Police Force needs to commission a certified scientific time and motion study that highlights that the Hotel Tower ‘parking lot’ is affecting the free flow of traffic on Main Street more than other businesses on that street. Unless that study can also showcase the Hotel Tower ‘parking lot’ impedes the free flow of traffic more than other areas in front of other businesses in Georgetown, then the Police need to allow parking to continue in front of Hotel Tower or disallow parking in front of business places on Main Street altogether.
Like many Guyanese, I know that there is a greater obstruction to the free flow of traffic in other streets in Georgetown that should have attracted the attention of the Guyana Police Force.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dancehall reggae needs to regain its authenticity

I read with deep interest an article in the Wednesday January 12, 2011 edition of the Jamaica Observer entitled, Reggae sales slump in 2010: poor marketing sales to be root of global decline, in which a number of contributory factors were discussed attempting to plausibly explain the reason for this dilemma in reggae’s profitability.
The article mainly argued that a lack of robust global marketing strategies might be the contributory factor in the decline in reggae sales. While I agree that indeed more vigorous marketing can result in some degree on improved sales, there might also need to be an equally enthusiastic approach towards the quality of the music being produced.
This emphasis on quality of music applies more daringly to dancehall reggae which of late continues its morphology into a genre that is overloaded with hip hop influences. While I will agree that maybe this new generation might find their musical gratification in the new direction in which dancehall reggae is heading, I also feel that the genre is somewhat losing its authenticity.
During what I always refer to as the golden era of dancehall: the 90s, dancehall artistes did flirt with numerous cross over riddims as was evident in some of the recordings by Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Cutty Ranks and a number  others. However, dancehall still managed to remain ‘pure’. I’m afraid that with a product not being what it ought to be, it would cause great difficulty to its marketers to convince customers to buy it.
The international market want dancehall reggae not convoluted synthesized keyboard chords being often overpowered by robotic drum loops. Dancehall reggae gained notoriety worldwide as a rhythmical genre that bore with it the authenticity of its place of birth: Jamaica.
A good point to note is that whenever there is a glut of any product existing in any marketplace sales will be severely affected. The proliferation of dancehall riddims that are churned out almost on a weekly basis cannot help the dancehall cause. Maybe the emphasis really needs to be shifted to the quality rather than the quantity of dancehall reggae being produced.  
Late last year Sean Paul performed to a huge maddening crowd on the beach in Abu Dhabi and the pieces he chose to perform are what I considered his dancehall standards. The crowd simply soaked it up. Mr. Paul might have himself been surprised to see that so many people in the Middle East turned out and knew all of songs. It was a very special moment for me to witness the effects of this powerful genre.
I sincerely hope that 2011 bring better prospects for dancehall reggae and reggae album sales as whole.