(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 29 Dec 2005)
As I gracefully enter the large stone entrance to the throne room in a long, flowing gown that has been custom made for me, I adjust my diamond-laden crown slightly and pause as several servants scamper about to open doors and bow as I prepare to ascend the gilded throne that awaits me at the other end of the ornate room.
Whoa! Hold up just as second. I am no queen and I live in no castle. I was just pretending, like most of us like to do from time to time. I admit that as a writer, my creative mind takes over sometimes before I even know what is happening. In spite of this, I am always quite aware of the distinct line that separates fantasy from reality.
However, I am not so sure that my old chum Smart and Sharp Robert Persaud, MBA (his name is just getting way too long now) has the capacity to separate the pretend world from reality. I came to this conclusion after reading his column in Kaieteur New’s special Christmas Edition.
When I read Mr. MBA’s column, I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed (you get the point). I sometimes wonder if he writes these types of articles just to give me a good laugh. In any case, I feel compelled to make sure Mr. Smarty Pants has a firm grip on reality, so that’s right folks – it’s reality check time again for the PPP’s poster child.
But first, let us start with a good point from his column, as a positive reinforcement for the Information Liaison to the President (we don’t want him to feel like we are negative all the time). On Guyana’s diverse population Persaud said, “Many commentators are inclined to present this rich diversity as an obstacle rather than an opportunity for us to make Guyana a bright model of tolerance.”
Bravo, Robert! Have you been reading my columns and learning something? I made the same point in my column on December 15. To be exact, I said, “Ethnic diversity is an attribute that makes Guyana beautiful. It should be celebrated instead of despised.” I have lots more where that came from, if you ever need any more help.
For now though, we should start our reality check examination to help you find your way back from La-La Land. Before we begin, I would like to ask the reader to please indulge me by inserting the proper background music when reading the quotes from Mr. MBA. I will cue you each time there should be music.
Persaud said, (cue flutes) “Overall, the country has achieved remarkable success, especially in light of the devastating flood of January which, expectedly, will seriously retard economic growth.”
Smart and Sharp Robert, you are not acting very smart. Firstly, the flooding continues despite all of the international money that “flooded” in to remedy the situation. Secondly, each time it floods, more homes and businesses loose money and property. Thirdly, I think the term “remarkable success” is highly inflated.
Persaud continued, (cue brass section) “Notwithstanding, we see more investments, better opportunities for our young people and a country, which is affected by crime, still continuing to make incremental advances in a hostile world economic environment a la the EU sugar price cut for ACP countries and a drop in international development assistance to all developing countries.”
Stella says, “More investments? Better opportunities? Where?” Honestly Mr. MBA, do you really think people believe there are more investments and better opportunities?
We cannot say there is an increase in investments simply because a couple new businesses opened, because when one takes into account the investments that fail because of the lethargic economy or go overseas for a better investment climate, the end result is not an increase, but the exact opposite – right?
Persaud then said, (cue clarinets in a lively beat) “Our pensioners have just received a whopping 75% increase, followed by the public sector payout of 7%, additional support for the rice industry and a special bonus for our Disciplined Services.”
Isn’t it just great that the 75 percent increase was handed out just in time for Smart and Sharp Robert to include it in his end-of-year summary? I am not going to complain though, as long as more people have more money and fewer homes are going up in Pradoville.
Persaud then said, (cue a singing guitar rip) “In fact, Guyana continues to be a place where good things are happening and still many brighter days lay ahead. Look at every single community and there are signs of progress.”
This is where I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. If crime and flooded streets are Mr. MBA’s ideas of progress, then the signs are in abundance and the PPP should receive a standing ovation.
I wish I could pick apart each sentence since Persaud’s column was brilliant piece of propaganda. I’m sure it made the single woman feel warm and fuzzy when she looked at her four children who didn’t even have food on Christmas day, much less presents.
However, the one sentence I want to highlight is when Persaud said, (cue drum roll please) “But we must see Guyana like a bed occupied by different people. In so doing, we must then reflect whether we all share the same dream. Is it a case of same bed, different dreams? I hope not!”
Oh my! This is just too funny. Can you picture Jagdeo and Corbin in the same bed? I don’t even want to think about certain pedophiles in the same bed with the whole nation! The mental picture this phrase invokes is hysterical, sensual and disgusting all at the same time.
I simply do not care to share a bed with certain people. In fact, I am quite sure that my husband would be highly upset if I crawled into bed with the entire nation. Of all the figurative phrases that the Information Liaison to the President could have used, this is the one he chose?
Mr. MBA, no thanks, I would rather have the same dream in different beds. Methinks your imagination got away from you on this last column, Robert. It is time to come back from La-La Land and get back to work for the people. I don’t want to spoil your fun, but we all have to come back to reality sooner or later – and in your case the sooner the better for the rest of the nation.
Remember that prior to 1992, the PPP was in the role of what you termed, “pessimists and doomsday preachers” as it pointed out the deficiencies of the sitting government. You can go ahead and try to convince the nation that Guyana is a shining example of good governance and a thriving economy – and I will continue to serve you reality checks from my solid gold platter of truth.