Every month of the Western calendar – January to December – has some extreme significance to some individual, home or community, to some country, to the world. (Your own birth month, after all, is of some importance to you).
But let me focus on the month of March in the context of Guyana – as a nation fighting to attain and maintain some measure of political and economic independence (really a myth); struggling to be recognized as a distinct cultural entity located amidst both a Caribbean reality and a South American geography. (I know you’re reading this just after March 2012 – actually ENDED).
Cheddi Jagan who rose from the depths of the Port Mourant sugar-plantation — logies to the heights of a United nations – recognized international Statesman for his New Human World Order; to become an American trained medical professional, Soviet Socialist – oriented trade unionist, politician, legislative activist, Premier and President, WAS BORN IN MARCH AND DIED IN MARCH.
The observances and celebrations related to his life and work on behalf of the masses of Guyana have just wound down. However, they have ignited renewed interest and study of this Great Guyanese Hero and the legacy he has bequeathed to a nation.
HUGH DESMOND HOYTE, lawyer, reluctant politician and President of Guyana (1985-1992) was also born in March. His was the task, after 1985 when Forbes Burnham passed on, to dismantle Burnham’s autocratic and suppressive institutions and policies.
With a little, effective nudging from the establishment democratic Donor Nations, Hoyte lifted the bans on lots of importation and on the besieged local press. He was obliged to introduce an Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) which, despite its hardships and deficiencies, did attract some lasting, large-scale foreign investment.
It was on MARCH 06, 1964 that female sugar-worker KOWSILLA (called Alice) became a martyr and heroine when she was crushed to death as part of a protest against the Leonora Sugar barons’ employment of scab labour to break a legitimate strike. The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) steadfastly commemorates this woman’s heroism every March.
THE MANY “DAYS” – AND GUYANA’S POLITICS
This March, as usual, accommodated numerous U.N. -designated Special Days, attracting Guyanese observances and participation. From World Water Day and International Woman’s Day to International Day For The Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to World Poetry and Story Telling Days, other UN Agency “Days” were packed into March.
Oh, but for Guyana and Guyanese, this March just ended witnessed the intensification of political gamesmanship as the Opposition’s new majority in Guyana’s parliament precipitated unwanted confrontations in and out of the Assembly. After the President’s inaugural Address, there were toss-ups concerning the constitution of several Parliamentary Committees; the legal; challenges as to whether the highest Courts could enquire or pronounce upon Parliament’s business and, generally, the “politics” of tripartite Party talks about approaches, including the fashioning of the nation’s Budget. This financial and economic blueprint was to be presented by the government on Friday 30th March.
Lots of what transpired in March 2012 will reverberate throughout the other months of the year.
Oh, and amidst all the legalities and politics of local cricket administration, the sturdy Guyana team managed to do remarkably well in this year’s WICB Four Day Tournament.
That’s just a piece of MARCH MONTH IN GUYANA. Hope you were not FOOLED on APRIL 01.