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Wednesday Ramblings
The Phone Call -A dramatic re-enactment of the events surrounding the phone call to President Jagdeo in Austria

Background: A call to President Bharrat Jagdeo in Austria on Saturday failed to break an impasse between parliamentary opposition parties and the ruling PPP/C on the verification of the voters list and as a result the opposition has signalled it will take to the streets to press its demands.

At a mass rally held at the Square of the Revolution on Saturday evening, Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin said that one of the opposition nominees at the talks, Winston Murray indicated that he had had an important telephone call from President Jagdeo in Vienna. (SN May 15 2006)

Act I

In the castle of Sir Robert Aroundtoolong

Sir Winston Murray: My Lord, we are only hours away from the gathering of our people in the square and we do not have a position on whether they should take to the streets in protest. The last time we called on them they hardly came out. That's why we took the position of being against street protests for two years. How can we rally them? Or is all hope of shutting down the city lost?

Sir Robert: Fear not, Murray, all is in hand. Pray tell me what issue separates the people of this country as clear as the Stabroek Clock in the noon day sun?

Murray: (thinking) Brian Lara captaining the West Indies? This year's calypso final…?

Sir Robert: (sighs) What is a man without wise counsel? The Voters List!! You nincompoop!

Verify or not to verify, that is the question. And indeed it will be the answer to our quandary of heading for a fourth electoral defeat.

For months we have been harping on and on about the list and how it is flawed, full of false names and dead persons. This is despite there being natural safeguards including a claims and objections period where any name can be challenged; polling agents at each polling booth; indelible ink; ID cards.

Despite the chances of any co-ordinated fraud being impossible, we have insisted quite absurdly at first but now with increasing credibility that the list must be verified. This seemed initially to be an extreme position based more on obstinacy, but it proves the point that if you say something enough times people will believe it. Now the PPP/C look like the obstinate ones.

And we have cleverly worked to make our position sound reasonable. In the last few days we have relented, and hinted that instead of verifying the entire list, selected regions could be done. Those would be Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne); Five (Mahaica/West Berbice), Four (Demerara/Mahaica), Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) and Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam).

Murray: But my Lord, that is almost 90% of the electorate - and does not include Linden, our stronghold, how strange…

Sir Robert: Tush tush, it is still a compromise of sorts and party activists could have checked the other regions where the population is sparse on a house-by-house basis…

The time has now come. Our people are now so thoroughly brainwashed or just so sick of the subject that we can embark upon our final deed …. Come hither and let me whisper this ruse into your ear. Verily I say unto you before this day is through, we will be seen as the champions of democracy and Jagdeo a globe trotting despot. Our 28 years of rigged elections will be washed clean.

Act II

The bar of the Imperial hotel in Vienna, Austria; the leaders of South America are carousing after a day at the EU LAC summit. Cigar smoke is billowing, drinks flowing.

In the centre of the gathering is Brazil's President Lula da Silva, to his right Argentina's Nestor Kirchner, Peru's Alejandro Toledo; and to his left Jagdeo, and to the extreme left Chavez and Morales who have just got up to dance.

Toledo: Look at Chavez and Morales in each other's arms before the media doing the Viennese waltz. How obscene is this socialist love fest! What an embarrassment to our continent! Young Jagdeo, pray tell us where do you stand on nationalizing your industries?

Jagdeo: Well err we sell them off cheap and use the money to pay down our external debt and for poverty alleviation

Kirchner: Ha ha! Still paying down debt? You are such a goody two shoes! Why are you being so timid? You are the ruler of a sovereign state.

Jagdeo: The IMF won't like ….

Kirchner: To hell with the IMF! Look how in Argentina, I stood up to them and made them accept my terms…

I previously said 'There is life after the IMF, and it's a very good life…Being in the embrace of the IMF isn't exactly like being in heaven."

You need some cojones. Hugo has a pair to spare!

Waiter: Excuse me President Jagdeo, an overseas phone call…(hands him the phone on a silver tray.)

Jagdeo: Who? Who? Winston Murray? ….Yes I will accept the charges. Winston, how did you get my number?

Murray: Remember we privatized GT&T.

Jagdeo: Let me call you back, it will be cheaper…(to the gathering) Excuse me gentlemen, urgent matters of state.

Lula: (Rolling eyes), Uh oh domestic problems! Waiter, more wine!

Jagdeo: (to phone) …Yes Winston what is it you want?

Murray: A little matter, your excellency. You are aware I am sure that the opposition is holding a small rally later today and we want to know your position on recommendations for a compromise position on verification being sent to GECOM?

Jagdeo: Right now?

Murray: Yes, we need it kind of sharpish?

Jagdeo: Is there some deadline I don't know about?

Murray: Not exactly, your excellency, but the opposition is "demanding that they have an answer before the rally"

Jagdeo: Oh I get it. This is the dramatic phone call.

Murray: Yes, it's the dramatic phone call. Only one scene in a far larger play. We are mere pawns in the geopolitical game of the US/Russia/China which has been ongoing for 40 years. Your government has become too cosy to the Russians by giving them the bauxite resources, has accepted gifts from the Chinese and been perceived as recalcitrant on the war on drugs.

America is concerned and seeks to move against you so as to install a regime sympathetic to its continental ambitions. This is much, much bigger than you or I and we must simply play our parts.

So, in what style shall we undertake this crucial scene, your Excellency? Shakespeare? Pinter? Beckett? Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Jagdeo: (in soliloquy)

Beckett is too sparse for sure

Pinter is correctly absurd

But Webber just plain kitschy.

Anyway I could never sing.

I am just a King

Only Shakespeare will do.

After all, my tragic flaw has always been

To respond to every phone call,

Every criticism, every deranged fool.

Even when I am thousands of miles away.

Why can I never stay above the fray?

Is it simple human curiosity?

They will use what I say at their rally

And hang me by my words.

Murray: Your Excellency are you there?

Jagdeo: (tired) Say that I was against any proposal going to GECOM. Now leave me in peace. I'm in freakin' Vienna.

Act III

(Enter Murray rubbing his hands)

Murray: The deed is done my Lord! King Jagdeo said he is against any recommendation going to GECOM. So we can now make a giant leap and say his response "signified that the battle was on to ensure that there would be a clean voters list."

Sir Robert: Good work, there will be a ministerial position for you anon. Let us hasten to the square and spread the news that "the government has thrown down the gauntlet and urged support for street protests." I know that does not make sense but that is what was in the freakin' newspaper.

The End


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