alan fenty, Stabroek

Education apartheid’: His Excellency -Not murder, just slaughter, lesser count

 By   stabroek news july  13, 2018

-His Excellency is not retiring!

Hello. Read on to appreciate that this is bound to be a brief offering today.

I wrote some months ago recalling that our country’s President, His Excellency D.A. Granger – when Opposition Leader – had surprised me significantly when he revealed his personal knowledge of students at secondary schools engaging in sexual misbehaviour.

It was at Camptown, Campbellville G.T. venue where Rudy Bishop usually celebrates the achievements of Camptown and the Chronicle Atlantic Orchestra. It’s now that I also remember that His Excellency had also used the term “education apartheid”. He was lamenting the disparities both between public and private education offered by the two “sectors” and the reality that saw the financially-comfortable parents accessing educational opportunities that the more-challenged working-class folks could only hope for in some future. As Opposition Leader, His Excellency was hinting that any responsible government should strive to provide quality education for all – especially those children whose parents are financially challenged. How that ball has now bounced into His Excellency’s court! Just another of his major “domestic issues” after three years.

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“Free Education” realities

Regular readers would know that I usually quote the taxi-driver-father who picked up his daughter from Christ Church Secondary. He swore to me that the five hours daily at school could not/never satisfy his daughter’s teaching/learning for upcoming exams. Extra (private) lessons are therefore a must – for his family’s budget. Hence the private lessons industry. We old folks marvel now at “children going to school in August”. That’s an old-time joke which is now also a reality.

School books are expensive. “Single-parent” ladies will approach me for exercise books soon. Kudos to His Excellency for his uniforms assistance.

Of course, after the recent NGSA (Common Entrance) results Education Minister Henry – still herself currently a student – remarked on the dominance of the private schools with respect to the top performance; and about the underperformance of boys – amidst a whole range of implications the results raised.

But there is structured hope. Teachers must and will receive their improved salaries and conditions soon. Then the remedial and scientific approaches will be implemented. But do you realise that both pupils and students must utilize the internet as part of learning these days? Poor parents must pay for use of community internet cafes even as ICT “hubs” are being established.

As an old teacher but current dinosaur where ICT is concerned, I salute those who are implementing “E” this and “E” that – and the STEM and Robotics programmes for our youth. Dr Jagdeo’s worthy laptop computer share-out became mired in dissatisfaction. Let’s get a replacement. I hold out hope for the right to education. For all.

From murder to manslaughter

Well the Kaieteur News daily columnist beat me to it just this Tuesday. I refer to my layman’s outrage at Justice Kissoon accepting the “lesser offence/count” of manslaughter from a savage-like accused who murdered, raped and mutilated a nine-year-old boy. I say “layman” because I’ve always wondered when, why, how judges decide on manslaughter when the prosecution was advocating for guilty of murder!

Okay, I know that some killings are accidental, are not pre-mediated and some are even “lawful”. But I hold the view, Frankly Speaking, that many criminals take life these days because they know that even if they face judge and jury their planned killing will undergo reduction in court.

Right now a Corentyne man who pleaded guilty to beheading his female neighbour in 2016 is awaiting his Probation report before being sentenced at monthend. Will he be deemed mentally incompetent? Another fellow, Ramesh, on death row who killed a 17-year old just had his death sentence set aside. Legal technicalities like peas! So could some public service attorney explain why/how murder becomes manslaughter? Thanks a lot!

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His Excellency for President!

Look I really wanted to leave my old PNC party’s business alone. But this jockeying for PNCR Chairman with a view to replacing His Excellency, perhaps in 2020, irks me.

Who says His Excellency is going anywhere? Look, the man outwitted his rivals to become PNCR leader. He then constituted a dubious political outfit christened APNU; then embraced his one-time rival Berbician Moses and Trotman’s AFC. Now, Frankly Speaking, His Excellency is enjoying the presidency – naming and re-naming ministries; getting his name on buses, boats and bicycles; and willing to correct his regime’s huge missteps on oil-and-gas negotiations.

I suspect the traditional PNCR members will reject arrogance at Congress – whether from those military men or from the cocky Basil. Volda will win.

And His Excellency is overseeing big infrastructural works at his Vlissengen Road Office. He is not planning to move by 2020. Moses will bow out because of health issues.

But His Excellency plans to stay on! His Trinidadian doctors just told him he is okay. He does not plan to retire in 2020.

But after the PPP wins this year’s Local Government polls – NDC creation or demarcation or not – what will happen in 2020?

His Excellency, his GDF, militia, police, cadet corps et al will maintain “order”. And secure 2020’s oil!

’Til next week!

(allanafenty@yahoo.com)

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