June 27, 2017

His master plan – the indications!

Dear Editor,

The 27th of April 2011 saw poignant scenes the likes of which have never ever been witnessed on the face of this earth: the mahasamadhi of an avatar was witnessed the world over by a number unmatched in human history. Tears flowed unbounded. Being in the world at this point in time was such a cleansing experience, for the whole atmosphere was washed with tears – pure, selfless, love-filled and grateful.

They were sufficient to wipe out all sins committed by all humanity, it seemed! A lot has been written about the mahasamadhi of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and a lot more will be written, for this is ‘History! But here is a little thought I think worthy of sharing.

The amount of prayers that have gone on in the world has been tremendous. The name of Sai filled every conceivable space, for it had been enshrined in a billion hearts. Bhajans, service activities, and spiritual sadhana of unprecedented proportions pulsated on Mother Earth. At the physical level, the best man and the best machines worked tirelessly day and night at the temple of Healing that He Himself had built. His most dear students constantly were by His side and aware of every breath He was taking.

The sheer magnitude of the combined effort of every devotee was enough to bring life into an inert stone! And yet, the Lord took Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

This thought had plagued me when I realized that prayer is not an act of asking God or telling God. It is silent communion with Him. When we either ask of tell God, we make the preposterous and utterly foolish assumption that we know better than Him. Swami often told us the story of two farmers – one who prayed for rain for his crops, the other who prayed for a dry day so that his daughter’s wedding could go on uninterrupted. Whose prayers should God listen to?

Should He listen to the one who cries more? Or to the one who pines more? Should He give precedence to age, or should He give precedence to status and influence?

It is everyone’s experience that we feel some intuitive urges. And then these urges just manifest themselves. Let us know that these are instances when we have been in communion with Him. And when these intuitive urges have manifested for me, I have felt the thrill of experiencing Him. I see Him, hear Him and feel Him, and He speaks to me! I feel the thrill because I ‘know’ His plan. And I know His plan because I have been able to be in sync with Him for those precious moments.

It happened on the evening of 20th of March. Swami had not been ‘keeping well,’ if I may use that term. His darshans were few and spaced between. And yet, on this day, He took two rounds of darshan. He called all the students who were seated for blessings and poured grains on their heads. (about 40 students were blessed that day).

He distributed a few sweets, and smiled at all present.

He even called the tiny tots from primary school and blessed them. In the words of a very senior singer, “Today Swami seems so hyper active!!” There was rejoicing. And when He received Aarthi, everyone was thrilled with His tapping His hands rhythmically. And then it happened…

As the Samastha Loka chant filled the air, Swami raised His hands. But it was not the familiar Abhayahastha. He had FOLDED HIS PALMS IN SALUTATION! He seemed to send a beautiful message, “Salute all, for God is in all”.

The Vedic chant “Sahasra sheersha Purusha” resounded in my heart. (That hymn says that God has thousands of limbs, heads and sense organs symbolic of the fact that God is in all.) In the Bharatiya custom, this is how one takes leave after a visit!

And today, just seeing the pictures is so relieving and enthralling, for it told me that Swami knows His plans. Even when He was fine and was a week away from being ‘admitted’ to the hospital, Swami had shown us His decision. And in showing us this decision, He also showed us His expectations. He wanted our lives to be His message, and one of His final acts of benediction teaches us that we should see Him in all just as He saw Himself in all. We should bow to Him in all just as He bowed to Him in all. We should love all and serve all just as He did.

And in order to share the experience, insight and blessings from Swami that day, I post the following five images.

Let us pledge to Him that we will, in our lives, imbibe His message of pure Love for all. And as a teardrop makes its way down my cheek, a firm resolve flows in my blood – a resolve to Love Him and see Him in all!

Yours sincerely,

Aravind Balasubramanya

Sasenarine Singh should stay clear of criticism of the PPP/C, since he clearly lacks the moral fortitude to do so

Dear Editor,

Reference is made to recent letters published in the media and purportedly written by one Sasenarine Singh. In his letters, he speaks about the cries of Guyana’s children, especially those abused and assaulted.

He blamed this on the PPP/C and labelled the party and government as uncaring.

It is important to note that, while it is acknowledged that Sasenarine Singh and any other Guyanese is free to express themselves and share their views in a public space, at the same time they should not be allowed to distort the facts and disseminate half- truths.

First of all, this man and his other cohorts, who are just trying to gain political mileage for the AFC or whichever party he claims to represent, needs to come back to earth and stop writing from space. The fact is that everyone knows that sexual assault against children — and generally, sexual abuse — exists in all parts of the world, and long before the PPP took office. The actual fact is that, after the PPP/C took office, society became more aware of these issues via education by the government and the media. The countless initiatives and policies instituted by the PPP/C government are also responsible for many of the perpetrators of these acts being brought before the legal system; this has resulted in Guyana being the Caribbean and Latin American leader on Child Protection policies.

Singh, like Khemraj Ramjattan, is so out of touch and blinded by his ignorance that he cannot see that these are issues which are receiving worldwide attention, particularly by the United Nations bodies; he yet argues non-issues, and always misrepresents the facts. It is my advice to Sasenarine Singh and his cohorts that they stay clear of any comments/ criticisms of the PPP/C, since they clearly lack moral fortitude.

Regards,

Todd Morgan

What is the agenda of Ottis Gibson and the West Indies selectors?

Dear Editor,

The West Indies selectors came up with a squad for the current series against Pakistan, and their three most senior batsmen couldn’t find a place in the team. Ernest Hilaire responded to the public outcry by stating, “We are rebuilding a new team for the future”, and the chairman of the selectors, Guyanese Clyde Butts, indicated that the goal is to gather “a mixture of players who will take us through the next five to ten years.

Chris Gayle

Are these two gentlemen speaking the same language? Mr Hilaire, if we are rebuilding a team for the future, are you saying that the discarded senior players have no place in the rebuilding process, because of a poor World Cup showing? Mr Chairman of Selectors, what mixture are you actually talking about? A “new look team” without the most successful Guyanese batsmen? We are rebuilding without Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. These gentlemen can make any other international team in the world, except the West Indies’ “new look team”, yet the coach, Mr Ottis Gibson, is throwing his support behind captain Darren Sammy who cannot make any other international team in the world based purely on merit. If Sarwan is too old at age 30, what are we doing with Marlon Samuels? This is the same Samuels who turned down the WICB offer to replace Dwayne Bravo at the recently concluded Cricket World Cup.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

We are also replacing arguably the best wicket keeper in the West Indies, Denesh Ramdin, with the “youthful” Carlton Baugh, who was tried and has failed many times over in the past. Is this what Mr Butts and company call “rebuilding for the future” with youths? Or is it the ‘one size can’t fit all’ ideology? Gayle, the saga boy, is so out of favour with the WICB that he had not even been invited to do a fitness test. Is it because there were no “fruitful discussions” about retainer contracts between him and the WICB, as there were with Pollard and Bravo?

Was Sarwan’s omission based on his World Cup performance, or the recent rumours of ICC’s investigation; or because he is now the Secretary of WIPA? I know it was not very wise for him to be involved with WIPA administration while still an active player on the West Indies cricket team, but this should not be a factor for the selectors.

Whatever happened to the “rock” called Chanderpaul? Has he now been tossed into the ocean like a pebble? This is a man who was carrying on his shoulders the West Indies’ batting in both forms of the game for a decade or so, but because of a dismal World Cup performance, he has now been dropped. We cannot blame the “Tiger” for his World Cup performance, since Ottis Gibson and the captain chose to put him to bat up and down the order, eventually dropping him for two matches leading up to the semi- finals.

If the West Indies Cricket Board is looking to rebuild after the mediocre showing at the recent World Cup, officials can start by appointing a captain who can make the team purely on merit, and find themselves a new coach who knows something about batting.

I appeal to all Guyanese to rally behind our cricketing heroes and let the chairman of the WICB selectors, Guyanese Clyde Butts, come up with some answers that make sense to the public.

In other words: team members, let your performance speak for you. In that case, there is very little room for excuses.

In closing, I would not be surprised if the game in Guyana is watched by an empty stadium. It’s time Guyanese and their cricketers are respected for their contributions and performance in West Indies cricket.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Harry Singh

Two great accomplishments of Bharrat Jagdeo

Dear Editor,

There is a well funded machinery in Guyana bent on destroying the reputation of President Jagdeo. The agents of this machinery go after the president night and day – in the newspapers, on TV, and on the internet. The people who do this compete for the prized trophy of coming up with the most outrageous accusations against the president and his cabinet. They also attack the president’s party – the PPP.

But try as they might, and notwithstanding the damage that they might do for electoral or personal reasons, they won’t be able to erase some of the accomplishments of this president. I will deal with only two of them today.

The first of these is of immediate relevance. In a few short months, President Jagdeo will demit office and a new president will be sworn in. The event will look natural, as if it were a well entrenched fact of political life in Guyana. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Let me make this clear – it was the PPP government, and specifically President Jagdeo who signed term limits into law in Guyana. By doing this, Mr. Jagdeo enabled a constitutional instrument that will always allow for the changing of the country’s political leadership at the very top. The opposition in Guyana has never had it so good.

The second issue is actually quite mind-boggling, and takes us back to the media in Guyana. Despite the daily attacks on the PPP and on President Jagdeo, the head of state has insisted on press freedom and the unobstructed right of the media in the country to practice their craft. He is uncompromising about it and does not even entertain any discussion about limiting free expression. Any suggestion to the contrary would come from the same hostile anti-government media, or from political wanabees who know not of what they speak. The proof is, after all, in the pages of Kaieteur News on a daily basis.

It is important to keep in mind that unlike many countries like Canada where press freedom is a given, in Guyana it is a recent practice. The same is true with political succession. In countries like Canada and the U.S. prime ministers and presidents are replaced with great ease. In Guyana we are only now getting used to the idea of a head of state being succeeded through the ballot box.

No matter what the anti-government extremists write, they won’t be able to take these basic facts away from President Jagdeo.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Randy Persaud

The PPP has selected a man with the right vision to lead the party and Guyana

Dear Editor,

Mr Donald Ramotar was recently selected by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to lead that party at the upcoming elections, due later this year. The PPP could not have chosen a better person to be its presidential candidate, and there is no question of Mr Ramotar’s ability to discharge the duties of the office to the satisfaction of the entire electorate.

I believe that he has already walked half that journey, having been at the helm of the largest political party in the country as its manager first, and later as the party’s general secretary, following the death of former President Dr Cheddi Jagan.

I think there are two more battles left for Mr Ramotar. The first is for his party to win the elections, which according to his party’s lieutenants is made easy by his selection as presidential candidate. If his party wins the elections, then the other battle will begin in earnest. The other battle is that, should his party win, then he will be required to lead the entire country.

We know for a fact that every individual has his or her own leadership style; but whatever style Mr Ramotar chooses to adopt, it is hoped that he recognizes that the interest of the people of this country takes precedence, and that he will continue to be the selfless fighter he has been characterized by members and supporters of his party.

He has always struck me as a person who could lead from the front, and the nation at large would be looking forward for astute leadership from this humble son of the soil, should his party win the next elections.

Cooperatively,

Samuel Clarke

Disappointed with Hilaire’s response to Dr Anthony’s letter

Dear Editor,

It is with disgust that I read the response from Ernest Hilaire, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), to the letter in the media from Dr Frank Anthony, Guyana’s Minister of Sport.

Mr Hilaire seems to have underestimated the intelligence of cricket fans in Guyana. Firstly, let me remind him that the first time Sarwan was dropped, Clyde Butts made it clear that the reason was the player’s fitness, not his age or performance. The chairman of selectors was at pains to make it clear that the batsman’s ability and performance were unquestionable. In this case, the reason has now shifted to age and policy. Can I ask what is the policy guiding the selection of Darren Sammy, and further, making him captain? For your information Mr Hilaire, Sammy would not even make my village team in Guyana. I urge you to stop playing games with the Guyanese people.

Secondly, in Chanderpaul’s case, you skilfully evaded addressing the method of requesting Chanderpaul to retire. It is highly unacceptable and rude to treat a man who has given his life to West Indies cricket in such a disrespectful manner. Can you answer why this talented player was used like a yoyo in the side? I emphasise the term USED. Look at his average and at his commitment and tell me under what condition he was dropped.

Finally, with regard to the exclusion of Chris Gale, have the selectors gone mad, or are they just vindictive, carefree and unprofessional? All around the world, this man is sought after, and here in the West Indies he is dropped.

Let me say that these three men and Jermaine Taylor are the core around which the future West Indies team must be built. In addition, Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan are the leadership combination that should be used.

Yours truly,

Name and address withheld

Guyana’s art and craft industry making progress

Dear Editor,

No doubt, Guyana has a very creative and fascinating art and craft industry. The talent in this field is endless. I am happy to say that Guyanese craft is known to be the best in the Caribbean. And I am extremely pleased to read that the Tourism Ministry has declared the government’s commitment to working with the Guyana Arts and Craft Producers Association (GACPA) in ensuring that the industry is further developed.

I do not think many local persons know how productive the art and craft industry is. GACPA’s membership is now 250 persons in total, with members coming from all ten administrative regions of Guyana. It is good to know that the tourism industry plans to set up an office for the association in Georgetown, as this will be another source of support for local craft producers.

Editor, the association should be recognized for its success in collaborating and networking with several entities in both the private and public sectors; as well as in participating in exhibitions in places like Brazil and Barbados, where a lot of interest was generated.

I read in your newspaper that GuyExpo is expected to be bigger this year, and the GACPA promises a huge participation at the event. This news got me excited, because I am a lover of art and craft, and I want to go to one location and have an abundance of arts and craft to choose from; and I am sure many others feel the same way.

Also, the ministry is looking at the possibility of hosting an annual international arts and craft show to promote, showcase and market our local products of high quality. Tourists know what we have here, but I hope locals give a little more attention to this phenomenal talent.

Further, I urge the government to continue to create a suitable environment for the industry, to enable it to develop further. A large number of arts and craft producers fall within the small business category, so I hope the Tourism Ministry will seek opportunities for these small business owners by providing incentives that would propel the growth and support of their businesses.

Yours respectfully,

M Ram

UG in a mess! Whose fault is it?

Dear Editor,

Too often, the PPP government is blamed for the current decline (a mess, really), that is a feature of the country’s premiere educational institution – the University of Guyana. In fact, in ‘Kissoonian’ parlance, Mr Jagdeo is guilty of ‘micromanaging.’ Now it seems as though that very accusation, if true, would have been UG’s saviour. Please take a look at these academic crimes.

Grades for semester one courses have not been made official and, of course, cannot be issued to the now perturbed students. These students are in the latter stages of their second semester and still they do not know their first semester status. Suppose a ‘failed grade’ would have changed their academic direction, what would they now resort to? It stands to reason that no student should move over to a new block of work, unless and until their examination results are known. The whole thing is ludicrous. But it is even worse than that.

Students registered in certain 2010-2011 first semester courses are still attending classes for these courses. These courses all started late, and the reason is that the assigned lecturers just did not see it appropriate to act ethically, academically and professionally in accordance with the statutes and expectations of the university. This really needed some kind of ‘micro-managing.’ Don’t you think so? One hopes this chronic nonsense comes to an immediate cessation.

Another mind-boggling issue is that of the milieu of the Turkeyen campus. It seems as though this is just another hang-out joint. Students parade with their cell phones, talking loudly. If it is not the talking, it is the listening to music from these modern cell phones or their lap tops. This, too, is an established practice. One can now add to this the noise nuisance from the hire cars traversing the main entrance. There is no silent zone at UG, and classes adjacent to this road are always obnoxiously interrupted by these cars. In fact, some visitors and private taxis have picked up on this, and so they have stretched it even further: they use their sophisticated stereo system to make sure that all on campus are entertained. What a generation of scholars is forthcoming!

Instead of nit-picking, the Freddies of Guyana and other maligners should highlight these problems and lay these gaffes at their appropriate feet.

Finally, here are some suggestions, and these can be so readily implemented. Since the minibuses have their point of boarding and disembarking, should not this rule apply to the hire cars? Also, will it be so terribly wrong to declare the campus a silent zone? The cell phone crisis is of such that even the library is now characterised by the ‘student-cell phone inseparability. It is a shame, and one hopes that, since the UG administration as a whole seems incapable of correcting their own misdemeanours, they would let the Jagdeo-led PPP ‘micromanage’ the University of Guyana.

Name and address provided

Freddie Kissoon’s hypocrisy is astonishing

Dear Editor

Freddie Kissoon continues to spew his untruths daily to the people of Guyana. His double-standard cannot be overlooked, as he continuously chastises the Jagdeo administration for theirs, and urges Guyanese to judge with him the shortcomings of the current government.

Kissoon has no moral decency. It seems his only concern is seeing his name in print and hearing it uttered from other people’s mouths. Craving this attention, it seems that he needs it desperately in order to survive his day and be able to write the next day’s “Freddie Kissoon column”. I understand that it must be a lot of pressure on him to produce a new column every day; but this is no excuse for him to present an impulsive, improperly researched pack of lies over and over again to Guyanese, and hope that nobody picks up on those lies.Had nobody come forward to discredit his recent piece, ” I know why the government did away with prescriptive rights”, in the Kaieteur News of March 22, 2011, we would never have known the truth at all. All of Guyana would have been left to believe that this Freddie feature was true. This feature was so hateful towards the government, and so dedicated to defaming the PPP administration, that Freddie would never have disclosed that he barefacedly conjured up such a lie and knowingly allowed it to be carried in a paper of such high circulation. Yet, he was not sanctioned in any way; neither by the newspaper, nor by the government that he continues to label a “dictatorship”.

Yours sincerely,

Raymond Edwards

Amaila Falls hydro project is good for Guyana

Dear Editor,

I read in your newspaper that the construction of the Amaila hydro project would start before year’s end; I must say this is great news, considering the heavy criticisms the government received for this project. Personally, I support anything that is environmentally friendly; hence, this project sparked my interest from the very beginning, and I am quite sure many other Guyanese feel the same way.

So, when some persons were expressing negative views regarding the government’s motive for this project, I was not that bothered, because I know my taxes were going towards a worthwhile project. Now that the project is scheduled to start soon, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Editor, all in all, I believe this hydropower project would be beneficial, since it represents a more dependable and less expensive source of power, which is based on renewable resources. I also understand that it will represent a freeing up of the country from the burden of large oil imports. I am convinced that this is surely the path our country should take to meet its energy needs. Not only would this project be beneficial to the environment, but it will create many jobs for citizens as well as provide more stable power for them.

I would like to urge my fellow Guyanese to be patient with the authorities regarding this project. It is only a matter of time before we begin to see the returns from this massive investment.

Yours truly,

Divya Singh