Thursday, November 26, 2015

'Shock and awe' unintended consequences

My short stint with anthropology was brought to focus in part by one of the tutors telling us that her interest was in unintended consequences of a action due in pursuit of something. In the field of medical anthropology, Arthur Kleinman from one of the East Coast Ivy League universities made a name for himself by a few innovative observations and seems quite a 'grande man' in this field. One of his papers 'The art of medicine  Four social theories for global health' has the unintended consequences down as the the first social theory.. 'this theory holds that all social interventions have unintended consequences, some of which can be foreseen and prevented, whereas others cannot be predicted. Therefore, all social action needs to be routinely evaluated for unintended consequences that might lead to the modification of programmes, and even, if the consequences are serious enough, their termination.'
Apart from creating jobs for anthropologists, it seems strange to me that a country could be so disjointed and not consider the step after invasion.  This became apparent when the Iraqi lower-classes started invading museums and the 19yr old-never-left-his-insular-hometown-Marine stood by and let it happen... setting a precedent for the mayhem that was to follow for years later- so it was no real surprise to read this article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/inside-isis-the-first-western-journalist-ever-given-access-to-the-islamic-state-has-just-returned-9938438.html - that is - the World is still suffering from the fall-out of an ill-considered 'war' which followed another internet article about US military blundering: http://www.sott.net/article/306793-Former-drone-operators-say-they-were-horrified-by-cruelty-of-assassination-program
Makes you wonder about who really makes these decisions which affect everybody's lives.
In the absence of depressing reading here is a local cartoon to sum it all up:

 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why it's exhausting live in Guyana... 10

Pre-emptive raises.
So after kicking out the 23yr old somnolent Government with accusations of nepotism, favouritism and despotism by its World-crowned Champion of the Earth-leader, the new champions immediately revived the National Awards Scheme to reward both their traditional and non-traditional supporters, doubled the number of Parliamentary positions and in a later classic Snowball move (Animal Farm) increased the said Parliamentary salaries by 50% a mere 5 months later..stating that it would be cheaper for the country than the large-scale corruption of the past lot.  If this new lot were better educated and had a proven track record I might not be so dubious about the wisdom of this move.
A Boxer-like character (Animal Farm) said to me ..at least the City was cleaner-- I went to the market yesterday and the vendors from Parika were most unhappy about being summarily moved-- as one said-- it was the way the City constables spoke to them-- like they were dirt-- maybe because the said vendor looked like a non-supporter of the current Government?- but even the ones that did, had their grumbles.  Gone will be the idea of open green spaces as the mysteriously-funded high-rise buildings have hogged up regular commercial and even housing spaces-- ignoring the sensible British rule of 10 feet from the fence and a limit on the height of buildings-- leaving the unfunded perceived Government supporters with only the Public spaces on which to start-up small businesses--- presumably ignoring all health and safety rules and regulations.
So 'small-man' drives his cows to graze in my neighbourhood every morning, a semi-permanent structure has been set up a few yards from my gate for someone to repair shoes and make me feel extremely uncomfortable as it overlooks my back yard, and the food vendors who have moved a block closer to me are doing so well, they set up a portable toilet to throw a Party one night and proceeded to blast the music up to 11pm or so, louder than their regular Friday + Saturday night happenings-- needless to say when I rang the Police Station to complain-- I was made to feel like the criminal-- having to state my name, age, occupation, race and address among other things-- being an exercise in futility as even ringing twice resulted in no action by the said Police.   One of the new ministers live in my area-- but when I rang him he gloomily informed me this was why all the educated people were leaving!  As luck would have it, I happened to contact the chairman of the Local Council who informed me that his family did business with me and who suggested I get up a petition...all the residents agreed that the food vendors' music was a nuisance but were scared to put their names to paper!  So it goes in Guyana, word got out that a petition was to be formed and the food people sent away the vehicles with the sound systems...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hyprocrisy on a Sunday

While grappling with the nuances of Project Management, I made the fatal error of switching on the TV to see what 60 Minutes was featuring and it made my blood boil with a feature about a French priest dredging up the past German crimes and how the number of Jewish people killed was probably in excess of 6 million as there were unrecorded killing/mass shootings in little European villages.  Still no mention about the 'others'- the Roma gypsies etc-- all based on German records and a race to interview older villagers before they die.  He did say that he was dismayed about the complicity of the non-Germans to the murders of people whose only crime seems to be that they were Jewish.  I reflected on the Jewish tradition of interbreeding amongst themselves and thought of the new migrants currently invading Europe -- same shit... different day --- had watched an German documentary and the German teacher was looking very puzzled that the Albanian children born in Germany refused to adopt German ideas about freedom and the Albanians themselves were dismissive about being 'German' and following the German constitution.
But what was making my blood boil was that earlier in the week I had read about the British destroying documents about the destruction they had visited on their Colonies and its peoples, even the Americans had blacked out certain parts of now released documents on Guyana -- well after a distance of 30yrs and feeding the image that they are upright and proper:  it must come as a bit of a shock to discover grandpa was worse than a Nazi -- I understand terrible things were done to the Kenyan Mau Mau and I make a silent prayer for all the African women who were made to 'breed' in the New World. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/18/britain-destroyed-records-colonial-crimes?CMP=share_btn_fb In fact, traumatised people just keep quiet and don't dwell on the Past or else it would paralyse them - and I thank my illiterate grandparents and two tough great grandmothers who probably had to endure worse traumas than I can imagine.  Why don't 60 minutes do a documentary about THAT-- and how the First Peoples in North America were systematically destroyed??  Those numbers would far exceed 6 million and frankly...apologies to any Jewish friends... the behaviour of Israel to the non-Jewish people who occupied the Land before them is worse than the Nazis-- enough already!

Friday, September 18, 2015

My sympathy for the Balkans

I am compulsively clicking on the BBC's website at all hours, noting with dismay that the Balkans have been left with the refugee problem on their hands without resources... forcing basically decent hospitable people to show their harsh side as they have to deal with a problem that Sweden and Germany has forced on them!
I was privileged to Interrail in a era when one could chuck a backpack in a locker at the Train Station and wander around a town while deciding whether it had enough attractions to warrant spending  further time.  In spite of the trains and services deteriorating as one moved further South, I enjoyed the then Yugoslavia the best and was charmed with the old cities of Sarajevo and Dubrovnik so when War broke out it was very saddening to me as I had met many poor but friendly people on my stay there. I remember we had strange connections to get back to Austria and wandering around Belgrade (grim + gloomy) and Zagreb at night with backpacks and meeting such friendly people, never once feeling worried about safety as I did in South of France with a creepy North African guy following us back from a restaurant one night.
So it is with regret to see the countries playing a form of Russian roulette -- pass the migrants/refugees along as soon as possible so as to not be burdened with the problem... tens of thousands is too much to handle! I have more sympathy for the Hungarian farmer whose greenhouses and crops were damaged and human excrement distributed in his fields and left to clear up the mess and annoyance for the UN secretary-general being critical of the Hungarians for putting up a fence-- hey it was effective-- look how quickly the message got around that that way was closed! Now it makes me sad to see that Croatia is bussing people to Hungary before another fence goes up and creating dissension between neighbouring countries: Austria may refuse further people and Germany stands to be overwhelmed-- if there is a harsh Winter as predicted even Teutonic efficiency may be overwhelmed.
Also I note that these refugees are not cowed people ----looking at right-wing clips on YouTube-- demonstrating in Greece and Hungary and quite vocal-- and this is BEFORE they have the right of abode in Europe-- good that they have a voice -- shame they could not find that voice in their countries... personally I think the countries in North America that started all these upheavals-- the elites and their 'agencies' in North America should be footing the bill and taking in all these people.
My understanding was..Western Europe was getting inundated with the Eastern Europeans.. now this... if I were one of these immigrants, my goals would be to learn the language and have a European child to strengthen my case, as soon as possible.  Realistically--- can they physically send back tens of thousands of people?  I think it is outrageous that those richer countries of the EU are now forcing countries who do not want people with different cultural values in their society to accept said migrants... for heaven's sake... AND the migrants do not want to go there either... how is that an acceptable solution when you made it Public that migrants are all welcome??
Check this out:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHFnvFbThDE

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bingo!

In pursuit of Health Promotion, came across a brilliant book by a couple of Aussies: Promoting Health by L Talbot & G Verrinder, after seeing a YouTube video by the latter.   Unlikely to get my grubby paws on a copy easily, I was very grateful that they whetted a potential buyer's appetite by giving a random chapter for free (it's amazing what you can do with technology these days!) - I got Ch5: Community development action for social and environmental change where I was introduced to Arnstein's Ladder of Citizen Participation:






Of course their diagram was nicer -- this diagram was from Arnstein's original paper in 1971-- I thank the wonders of the internet that these things are accessible.
So in a nutshell,  the two forms of non-participation are where people are placed on committees to enlist their support (bingo! -Guyana) or people are involved in group activities to change their behaviour... but not in a nice way-- I think both smack of manipulation and neither gives the community any involvement in decision-making.  The next three steps- called tokenism - because people may be heard but there is no guarantee that their ideas will be acted upon because they have no power-- (this was the case of the IDB Landfill project behind my housing Scheme) -- also a bingo moment in illustrating Guyana to a T! unless of course .... said ideas are stolen and are repackaged as a brilliant idea by the lazy scunt carrying out the exercise!(not the IBD thing I hasten to clarify)  The higher three rungs are not applicable to Guyana, yet, sadly, in any public sphere.
So the Aussie authors go on to note that  those with little/no power are most likely to be suffering from ill health as a result of little access to, influence over structures impacting negatively on their health-- termed structural violence in my anthropology class. Then comes another bingo moment: 'If people are not skilled in articulating their needs, or believe they are unlikely to have them met, then they are not likely to express them.'  Mmm...  this could also be a huge contributory factor to Guyana's high suicide rate: notwithstanding people jumping on the bandwagon and forming numerous NGOs to hog up a bit of the action... all talkshop with no discernible positive results.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Syrian refugee crisis

So it's been a fairly emotive exchange between FB friends... now that I am studying 'the wider picture' of Public Health...support systems-- such as housing, schools/trained teachers and other social niceties just don't appear miraculously... it takes evaluating, projecting, budgeting and efficiently using scarce resources to provide even basic services.  Having just returned from to UK I was a bit dismayed to see most of the 50-yr olds are exhausted and heartily wishing for an early retirement as the workload has increased and the pay decreased.  A couple of friends had medical problems and were given routine appointments in a few MONTHS!  This is the system under stress that is being asked to absorb much more?

Yet ironically, things have got much harder for the young... entry requirements into established universities require As and it is not unusual for a first to be a requirement to further studies!  There is no guarantee of a job afterwards-- one that isn't utterly-soul-destroying..no wonder those 'locked-out' feel a sense of rage [http://gtobserver.blogspot.com/2015/07/more-to-come.html]. What and where will Europe do with and place all those hopeful displaced persons?  France isn't doing such a great job with ghettos of North Africans, and I wonder how many children of Turkish descent born in Germany are happy with their lot?

An interesting article surfaced that certain parts of Syria had been suffering from a severe drought the past 5yrs, forcing people to move to the urban areas which did not have the capacity to absorb and provide for the extra thousands..leading to social upheaval which the Assad regime responded to with brutality stirring up more problems and the mass exodus. I just saw an Afghan man complain about the brutal treatment by the Serbian police-- preventing him and his family from proceeding and wondered that the same treatment would be meted out if the boot was on the other foot..and in fact how responsible is it to leave the relative safety of Turkey to head to Greece in a dinghy with young children.  In fact, mind-boggling to me is that none of the wealthy Middle-Eastern countries who have ready funds to promote Islam have taken ANY refugees/migrants who are Muslim - even those who were providing arms to the countries experiencing these upheavals of people....such a strange justification of funding!

Interesting if the ultimate bottom-line was the basic human need to be near available water.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Perspectives

Funny how Life goes --- found myself on the Greek island of Delos a couple of weeks ago, being guided by an archeological student.  She was very good at describing Life in Delos during the 5th Century which can be described as the Golden age of Greece, with philosophical musings in Athens and the mainland Greece. Here in Delos however, due to the harsh conditions resulting from limited water availability the people were forced to become more creative and she told us that it would appear to be an important trading post being located in the mid-Mediterranean --in fact to signify its importance to trade, she indicated that it was probably the first Jewish synagogue built outside whatever Jewish people called their homeland at that time... I think it may have been around that time various factions started annoying their Roman masters who encouraged eviction.
 She mused that one of the more upmarket homes had depressions in its marble window frame, indicating possible bars in the window and speculated that the house could have belonged to a moneychanger of some sort as various peoples did business (representing a teller window of some sort) and maybe it was the beginnings of a banking system of sorts.



Purely by coincidence, I started reading The Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson; and was startled to see Delos mentioned as indeed an important trading post-- for trafficking human beings! In fact, Mr Wilson goes on to describe Delos as having the largest slave market as the Greek Islands were so barren that piracy was a logical choice of occupation. In fact, I read later that he said that slavery became the foundation of Western civilizations/business/economy! How about THAT?  So before we got to the Sanctuary of Apollo-- apparently he promised prosperity for the dwellers of Delos as they gave sanctuary to his mothers Leto who was one of Zeus' many mistresses and hiding from the wrath of Zeus' irate wife Hera - there was a long stretch,about a mile, that the Guide said was a market place but she omitted to say what was the main thing being traded!  Mmm, now how can you miss out that piece of information?
Interestingly criminality was stated as an 'inevitable consequence of the development of intelligence' - the flip side of creativity...and also the childish tendency to take short-cuts. He later talked about the dangers of no checks and balances and cited Roman emperors who were fairly harmless before becoming Emperor but became depraved characters-- sexually and otherwise when they had absolute power with no checks and balances.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Lion and the dentist

So thanks to better mass communication, global outrage over White Privilege in the form of an American dentist paying an average US household income to shoot a Lion in Africa.  It must be saying something about the mentality of a person to have a skill and use it for hunting large predators who are not attacking him in any way but merely trying to eke a survival in an increasingly difficult environment of encroaching human side effects.

Several good things for me has emerged from this case... it would appear that the majority of the American people themselves condemn this action and have effectively used their communication skills to far exceed the petition numbers required to get the White House to pay attention-- yaay democracy and the American people! Better communication has also enabled the new 'chattering classes'- the literate with access to the Internet - to also weigh in and lend support to put pressure so that the story just doesn't die down.  I am amused that media damage control brought out other injustices to throw the internet hunters off scent and chide them for making a 'big thing' over a mere lion while there were other injustices to go after (the killing of black American women taken into Police custody over minor infractions in the US and the immigrants waiting to get into the country and abuse the Social Service system in the UK....the rest of the World don't really count!) and the past few days the media have been reassuring anyone who cares to read that no, Cecil's lion cubs would not be killed and in fact be protected by his brother-- sort of merging Disney with real life-- my most likely failure in Anthropology in a recent class isn't helping my cynical outlook on all this!

This incident has also been good for Robert Mugabe, the aging racist dictator of Zimbabwe, that the white-ies are the clear baddies in this case. I was pleased to read that the Land Owner would also be held culpable as he would be held responsible for allowing poaching on his Land-- well ..Well Done to whoever dreamed up that rule, but again I hope it isn't racially-motivated if and only because the Land-Owner is white.
I think the most heinous thing about the whole incident is that White Privilege could not be arsed to actually do the hunting ... which can involve many hours looking for a target (many Guyanese hunters return empty-handed after spending the better part of the night looking for prey) using tracking skills but in fact with the infantile American attitude of instant gratification.. just wanted to shoot the damm thing and get over with it--- so money buys luring a protected animal out of a sanctuary and making it suffer for 40 hours just so you can be able to say that you enjoy the great Outdoors!  Totally throw the book and everything else you got at him - if only to deter the nouveau-riche wannabes from countries transitioning up the scale like the BRICs.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

More to come...?

So keep pondering about the Tennessee young shooter...young, eager to join the workforce and unemployable due to no fault of his own... how many times will this story be repeated?  Add the ready access to guns and you have a rise in criminal activity due to the frustration to 'get on' with life. It is sad that the ones he killed were also struggling to make a living like him --and a shame he couldn't/didn't target his frustrations on those to whom these lives-- both killer and victim mean so little.
Here is little Guyana, it is sort of the same story repeated... but with a suspected racial twist. Youths with little means of earning a salary that they think they deserve turn up their noses at the jobs that are available - usually involving manual labour and are tempted into doing unsavoury things with no regard to morality.  The astounding result being both Chinese manual and skilled workers being imported, while unemployment rises and less money circulates.
On another note, a 'gang-for-hire' was picked up but unless the Police get to the root--- who is actually ordering the hit/s we will get exactly nowhere but down.
 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Aspiring to bourgeoisie-ness

As I get older I begin to appreciate God's actions as read about in the standard Bible ('So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,  Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!) ....the most available book when I was growing up... I was always puzzled as a child that He was reported as a loving and merciful Father to everyone and everything and yet periodically swooped down and wiped out virtually everyone in fits of pique, apart from a few favourites who were left to breed up the next generations of humans (as if he didn't KNOW that they were going to screw up yet again!).
On reading today's SN I freely confess to feeling the same way --- wipe out everyone and start with a new slate. The jokey-ness continues but is far from funny. So the new and apparently clueless government -apart from witch-hunting the previous office-holders- sent the accountant who okayed the monthly cheques to the then Guyanese ambassador to India, to India, in order to audit the accounts - the said diplomat had a monthly allowance of U$8500 in addition to his GY$1 million salary but get this (if correct as SN has a habit of exaggerated reporting as regards the previous administration and ignoring the 'beam in the eye' regarding their government of choice's mistakes) there was apparently an allowance for his children's tertiary education.. now to give credit where it was due.. his daughter topped several National Exams and made it to one of the better universities in England-- then got married and stayed there!  How on earth does THAT benefit Guyana--- these were the same people who were appalled on assuming office to discover that Cedric Grant had written his contract for U$10,000 a month back in the early '80s and mouthing on about how the then entitled middle-classes awarded their children scholarships to the ABC countries who never bothered to come back to serve their country.
Amusingly, the never-made-it-to-university, well-connected close relative of a well-placed person in the previous administration, who managed the feat of being fired as a messenger-boy would always manage to make a snide remark about 'you bourgeoise' (well aware of my barely breaking-even position due to unenforced regulations) to me, has gone far and beyond what any reasonable middle-classed person would do- not being in a position to produce anything..like the majority of Guyana...reduced to selling National Assets!  So now, with 'full pockets' and young children the family needs a 'safe' country-- at this point I would like the hypocritical ABC countries to enforce all their stringent Laws and walk the walk instead of talking the talk, but then it looks like prejudice when they haven't done so for the other lot!   All monies being brought into their countries MUST have a paper trail and due taxes..  Work needs to be done on how under-valued National Assets sold below the going value would be assessed and what method to use to work out what is due to the country and whether it can be regained.
Whatever poor syntax occurs above is due to the steam coming out of my ears, totally fogging up my brain!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A wing and a prayer ain't cutting it

Now enjoying the temporary respite from exams, left wondering how on earth to apply what I've learnt to the Guyana situation.
Absolute tragedy in the making ... a mother of six, ages ranging from 26 to 7yrs is dying.  This being Guyana she/they haven't even been given the courtesy of a diagnosis of what is wrong-- or maybe they are not saying. I can only surmise that perhaps she got gestational diabetes from the last one which developed into the full-blown disease and with the characteristic lack of information attended the local rural clinic on a regular basis for 7yrs and ended up with damaged kidneys.  The rural clinic referred her to the district hospital where she languished for a couple of weeks and where they thought she had cancer but as she was experiencing abdominal swelling and the consultant from the Capital City  never turned up, she was transferred to the main Public Hospital in the said Capital city, having to make her own way down.  Appallingly, she was made to sit in a waiting room chair of the Emergency Room for over 36 hrs (unbelievable!) then they were unable to diagnose the condition, cancer being the main suspect.  She finally got some form of relief when they drained the fluid from her cavity wall, then the family was told they had to pay for a scan-- which they were unable to afford.
After a day or so, it was discovered that because she was from an indigenous tribe they would waive the fees. In the meantime, the two daughters were kept on their toes getting foods that she was used to as the hospital food was not to her liking.  Distressing for me to hear was that the woman's simple request for a cup of hot water was a problem for the nurses who had both a kettle AND a microwave at their nurses' station at the end of the Ward... how inhumane.. I can't imagine that being such a problem-- and being that this is Guyana .. the assumption for this unfriendly behaviour was rooted in racial terms.. but in fact, it was an institutional idea handed down from the early 20th Century-- that patients follow rules convenient to the staff and not rooted in any clinical reason.  The nurses offered the patients a hot cup of tea when it was convenient to them-- our patient made her daughters get her a flask so she could have her tea when she wanted-- the nurses were a bit annoyed to provide the said hot water so it meant one daughter lugging in a flask of hot water every evening after work so as to 'not bother the nurses'!   Likewise, (and I am in agreement with our patient) she didn't like eating cold food, but apparently the simple request to warm the food brought in by the daughters in the nurses' station's microwave was not met with approval.
 So feeling better having the fluid drained and apparently not finding anything on the scan, the woman was discharged! With instructions to attend the local clinic if the swelling occurred again as there was nothing else the Public Hospital could do.  She went back home and got accumulation of fluid after about a week-- the presumably inexperienced doctor (one of the many Cuban-trained ones) was wary about doing the procedure and only did a partial drainage meaning that she had to disrupt the family's routine to revisit the clinic more often.   I wondered about the communication and transfer of patient files and whether the Georgetown specialist had given any advice to the doctor in the rural clinic?
As I write, she has not eaten for two days as she is finding it hard to swallow down anything and has lost a lot of weight... stomach cancer? failing kidneys?  I don't think we will ever know but the human tragedy of the loss of a mother is one being repeated many times with its ripples of expanding unhappiness.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dis is Guyana!

Was reading the sad story of the shock of a US-based doctor coming to Guyana to find three relatives dying from sepsis - an preventable condition if sufficient care is taken- Good grief, 'they' discovered ways of prevention since the 18th Century.

http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2015/06/24/overseas-based-doctor-worried-about-sepsis-related-deaths-at-gphc/

So this is the bind the hospital administration/government is in... to criticise the staff would be adding to the demoralisation and knocking those who genuinely care and make huge efforts w ith whatever resources they have... however to ignore the problem-- such as basic hygiene due to laziness-- such as inserting a needle without cleaning the site and not ensuring cross-infection is setting yourself up for further slackness. I know GPHC have a quality-control department but wonder if it is allowed to function-- we hear so many of these stories.  I also hear of the older nurses complaining of the attitude of the younger ones and poor training. At the end of the day, no matter how well the docs have performed..poor nursing care will result in speeding up the ultimate end.

The concept of targeting the causal organism also seems beyond the reach of common medicine here and woe betide you if you have something uncommon!  It sounds like a given that the machine would be broken-- would the way ahead be some form of cost-recovery for tests needed to be carried out? I am sure people would not mind a lower fee rather than the hassle of having to get a private Lab at an exorbitant rate or not at all--- there must be a middle ground between all or nothing!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

A book that would resonate with any Third World person who had to eke out an existence in a 'first-world' country.
Her views on US society were interesting: 'In America, tribalism is alive and well. There are four kinds—class, ideology, region, and race. First, class. Pretty easy. Rich folk and poor folk'. 'Second, ideology. Liberals and conservatives. They don’t merely disagree on political issues, each side believes the other is evil' ' Third, region. The North and the South. The two sides fought a civil war and tough stains from that war remain. The North looks down on the South while the South resents the North. Finally, race. There’s a ladder of racial hierarchy in America. White is always on top, specifically White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, otherwise known as WASP, and American Black is always on the bottom'
The bottom-line is a love story that seems a perfect blend of personalities and intelligence, but Life happens and they go their separate ways..the reason that they do seems a bit contrived.. but towards the end of the book one of his friends makes this sage observation: '....many of us didn't marry the woman we truly loved. We married the woman that was around when we were ready to marry.'
It got me musing about the whole 'love' thing..both protagonists get on with their lives and have sex and relationships with other people but one rather got the idea they were 'settling' and I wonder really.. do most people just 'settle'.
Some ideas and characters were not so well formed but it was a fairly longish novel whose main purpose, it seemed was to explain Nigerian ambivalence about traditional roots and modern Western culture.


Carbon Conversations

So remembered about the lecture about 20minutes late and decided to go check it out. Didn't have anything new to say.. apart from warning Guyanese to use the revenues to invest in education and sustainable policies-- mmm-- like if anyone in the room would have ANY say in that!? A couple of 'new' ministers were sitting and still awake at the end of the talk, but seeing as the rumours that the allegedly previous holder of Natural Resources was happy to leave, I wondered if this new lot were going to follow in his very lucrative footsteps, allegedly.

Drilling for oil was assumed to be a given, and I guess as the lecture was sponsored by one of the exploratory oil companies, he didn't mention that China has done a great job on 'cleaner' alternatives: 'installed 5.04 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2015' and that the G7 nations recently agreed to phase out fossil fuel dependence by the end of the Century (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/08/g7-leaders-agree-phase-out-fossil-fuel-use-end-of-century).  Mind you he did mention that the world, as we know it, would not be able to shake its dependence on fossil fuels anytime soon.

He touched on the difficulties of finding new sources of silver and other metals required for electronics and that Guyana had potential as the world was now at a desperate level of recycling and recovering.. to the extent of scraping the walls of buildings for platinum deposits from catalytic converters.

Attendance was good but I left before the free food.

PS Nothing was said of any Health, Environment or Social Impact Assessment and afterwards I wondered if this exercise counted as a scoping exercise... limited to the few who had to means and inclination to attend the exercise at 7pm in the evening.