…of placesWhat does naming a place mean? Well, there’s the obvious one of folks being able to know what they’re actually talking about. Not in the ontological sense of “knowing” what the “thing” REALLY is, but simply to “reference” it. But “referencing” something – let’s say, a chair – implies you know what the qualities of “chairs” are.So with all that extended clearing of underbrush, can we examine what does calling Bartica a “town” mean? If Bartica on the day before wasn’t a “town”, what does the baptism mean? Towns, we know, are larger than villages and have larger populations. When, for instance, Anna Regina was made a “town” back in 1970, the Government cobbled together several villages with the village of Anna Regina to take care of that requirement. Any villages around for Bartica Town to annex?The commercial activities in a town are much more diversified and extensive than in a village – but as far as we can tell, Bartica will still be depending on mining. But if the mining is extensive enough, it can be a “mining” town – like Linden. But then Barticians better watch out, since Bartica’s existence will be dependent on that one (precarious) activity. And that’s where the main function of a town comes in: the Mayor and Town Council elected to run the “town” has to now actively plan and execute programmes to diversify its economy. So let’s all hold our breaths as we look at what the new executives of Bartica Town will be doing. “Go Green”, we’re told!Then there’s the “renaming” drive. What does re-naming a place mean? Well, for one, the name could be objectionable for one reason or another. For instance, “Murray St” named after the Lt Governor during the 1823 Rebellion, was renamed “Quamina St” after one of the slaves who was beheaded for participating in the rebellion.Then we may want to honour a respected figure. The folks at Mackenzie and Wismar decided to rename their town “Linden” after PM Forbes Linden Sampson Burnham. The PPP decided it wanted to similarly honour President Cheddi Jagan by renaming Timehri Airport after him. But President Granger seems to have a special liking for renaming places. He startled everyone when he named the Convention Centre after the first President Arthur Chung, since he didn’t seem to have consulted anyone.But there wasn’t any fuss since Chung was, after all, a notable figure in Guyana’s history. But now that he’s decided to rename Ogle Airport after EF Correia, he’s being challenged.Both procedurally, on who decides these things in a democracy and substantively, as to why Correia.Guyanese want to know what in the name!…and hucksteringWith all this talk of “arrivals” we can’t help but remember that this “vendor” situation isn’t new. Even before the abolition of slavery, it was slave women who planted the “provision grounds” and some went on to sell their excess produce on Sunday in what became markets. Markets were more than a place of exchange and like the ones they would’ve known in West Africa were centres of cultural sharing and transmission. After slavery this activity intensified throughout the Caribbean mostly by women called “hucksters” here and “higglers” in Jamaica.But when women tried to go from vegetables into other products, the British Merchants who controlled the import trade gave priority to the newly-arrived Portuguese who had finished their indentureship and entered the retail trade. The African female-dominated hucksters were practically driven out and left in the margins.The Government in 2016 has an obligation to finally bring them Ibai into the mainstream.…and “fat cats”Back in 2012, Moses Nagamootoo, man of words as he fancies himself, dubbed the PPP Ministers and those aligned with them as “fat cats” who had become “playful, prime and plump”.With the “marginal” $200,000 he added to the $1.5M monthly salary, what has he become?
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