OPINION: Bobby, bikers, bilingualism, and brutalized women -Guyana’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 November 2023, 9:37 by Denis Chabrol

By GHK Lall

I agree with the Hon Minister of Natural Resources, Dr. Vickram Bharrat: do not discredit Bobby Gossai; please leave Bobby alone.  Nothing fatal inflicted on Guyana’s standing.  I am surprised that integrity, transparency, accountability, and democracy now all languish in this local winter.  I remind all citizens, Bobby did the heroic, he followed orders, like a true soldier.  If anyone should be discredited, there are enough Field Marshals and Little Corporals on whose heads the hat of discredit fits better.   A straw hat it is.  I think that Dr. Gopnath “Bobby” Gossai (his will not be honorary, or imaginary) should receive the highest medal Guyana could give.  The citation should read thus: he knew how to keep his peace, keep his cool under fire, and keep his place among the buzzards.  While I am at it, I respectfully urge Mr. Alistair Routledge, Exxon’s Viceroy in Guyana, to recommend Bobby for an American award also.  If it cannot be a White House affair, at least a Texas Chamber of Commerce would be in order.  In this instance, the encomium should read like this: never has someone taken so much flak, fallen so softly, and lived to tell the tale.  If I were Bobby, I would still be on guard though, for he is now the man who knew too much.  Unlike Jimmy Stewart who always rode off into the sunset, our Bobby could be looking at the moon from below the jetty.  I call it the romance of oil.

Our bikers seem to have this romance, a fatal one, with speed and style, the daredevil kind.  They are dying tragically, as they run into immovable objects, fight losing battles with steel, and fail to realize that bobbing and weaving through traffic often pushes physics too far.  Newton’s laws takeover and things crash down to earth.  I encounter them now and again threading their way through the eyes of traffic needles, spiraling with their wheelies, flaunting their no-helmet rules (Guyana’s police must have struck this off their list of violations), and zipping within a hair’s breadth of causing problems for drivers observing road rules to the letter.  Rules derived from local law, not local culture.  The sad frequent readings are of those who provide good business for spare parts men, medicine men, and, worst of all, the mortuary men.  Though I know this is a ‘hard-of-hearing’ country, my own head is hard, so I persist in counseling: slow down, settle for what is sane, strive to stay alive.  It would help if there were some police folks to teach them the error of their ways; of course, that calls for eyesight and foresight, viz., reckless bikers are endangering more than themselves, they endanger public safety.

Talk about error, and why are Stabroek News, Kaieteur News, and Demerara Waves carrying ads in Spanish?  That was okay yesterday, but not today.  In the event that Messrs. Anand Persaud, Nigel Williams, and Denis Chabrol didn’t know, this is an English speaking (and reading) country, I inform them for the record.  No excuses, no pleas of ignorance, none of this growing national fetish for Spanish.  I am a supporter of bilingualism, but not today.  Like the American insurance giant, State Farm, I am a good neighbor, but Spanish is currently non grata.  It might be good for some ad dollars, but not worth giving gullible citizens the impression that all is well, and Spanish is kosher.  It is not; may not be for a long time at rate which Venezuelan leadership fevers rage.  If these people will not abide with court orders, then clearly, they make their own laws (and draw their own boundary lines).  Pease get rid of these ads, the Spanish parts of them.  One more thought on this linguistic flexibility and hospitality.  I recall reading that Excellency Ali had directed GECOM to burnish its Spanish skills.  I respectfully differ; recommend that His Excellency reconsiders, and withdraws that Spanish command.  It does not register well that Guyana’s Head of State should seem to be lending aid and comfort to aliens of a certain disposition.  No mas, jefe, por favor.

Now, the worst is addressed last.  We are killing our women.  When the love is gone, the steel comes out.  A Guyanese woman severely wounded here, another killed in the worst way in some other place.  Women are not safe in their homes, or their workplaces, or their travels.  It is not just rum drinking men brutalizing women, but ranking ones and schooled ones, too.  I shudder to ponder the kind of homes, and the quality of life, most of these chaps came from, especially the ones not touched by dirt poverty.  I have no choice but to wonder when our women will be safe, be made to feel safe, and not have to live looking over their shoulders.  Or waiting for that fateful, if not fatal, footfall; and from a friend, no less.

Weighing these four issues (Bobby, bikers, bilingualism, brutalized sisters), it is painfully obvious that Guyanese have grown jaded and numb.  Nothing surprises or upsets them anymore.  Certainly, none of these four developments identified here.  Insensitivity and imbecility have gone to our heads.  Guyanese have now gone to the dogs.  Those are neither pedigreed nor manicured.  Uncivilized, too.