Thursday 16 October 2014
A new commentary has been posted. It is entitled: Oil prices fall sharply: Will poor populations benefit? The commentary says a lower price for oil is good for developing countries. It should mean less costly electricity, water and transportation. Those countries that get the benefit, particularly small states, should spread the joy throughout their economies, and give their populations a breather – however briefly it might last.
The previous commentary is: Ebola: Why such indifference to West Africa?
The commentary asks:Why has the global response to Ebola in West Africa been so poor? If Ebola was spreading across borders in Europe and internal boundaries of the US, the response would have been more urgent and vigorous. Witness the media frenzy and the swift response of authorities to the announcement of the Spanish nurse’s infection, and the death of Thomas Duncan. The world quickly knew their names. But who knows any of the names of those killed by Ebola in West Africa?
Ebola and human life in West Africa
The previous commentary is: Fiji: The end of military rule and the Commonwealth's role. The efforts of the Commonwealth and successive Secretaries-General may seem to have been a great labour over a small country with a population of fewer than a million. But each of those people are entitled to live in freedom and associate through political parties of their choice. It may not have been the Commonwealth alone that ended eight years of unelected rule in Fiji, but the perseverance of the association did play an important role in ending the rule of the military junta and in the establishment of a broadly acceptable Constitution and a general election process.
One time dictator turned elected leader
Tribute to Rafiq Khan
Saturday 11 October 2014
Rafiq Khan - a Consummate Broadcaster
I learnt of Rafiq Khan’s passing on 10 October with a profound sense of sadness. He and I were rivals as we managed radio stations that competed for audiences and advertising revenue in the 1970s in an era where television did not exist and radio was the only form of electronic communication. But, we were also friends. We both recognised that added value was brought to broadcasting in Guyana by the spirited efforts we made to have our stations outperform themselves in high quality programming.
Amidst our exciting rivalry, we also enjoyed engaging co-operation. Together, we started the Guyana Publishing and Broadcasting Association to set and self-regulate high standards for the media and to draw up a Code for advertising.
Beyond that, we found easy ground on which to agree that joint coverage by the radio stations of important events better served the interests of the Guyana public.
Our friendship endured after our Guyana sojourn when he was a Communications Consultant for UNESCO and I served as an elected member of its Executive Board. Rafiq took to his communications role in the Caribbean, the same passion, vision, intellect, and managerial skill that was so plainly obvious in Guyana.
In more recent years, Rafiq lived in Jamaica where I called on him whenever I visited. In every visit our conversations resumed as if time had not passed in between, except when he lost his wife – his childhood sweetheart and life-long friend. He was never quite the same after that. But, he never lost his interest in broadcasting – and particularly in Guyana – once asking me, by email which I still have, if I thought the authorities in Guyana would accept an offer from him, Hugh Cholmondeley and me to conduct training programmes.
He was a consummate broadcaster. Possessed of a mellifluous voice, he knew that excellence in broadcasting required preparation and diligence. He was a voracious reader and his attention to detail even in what appeared to be a simple broadcast distinguished him from many others and made his broadcasts renowned. One such broadcast was the joint coverage by Radio Demerara and the Guyana Broadcasting Service of the funeral of Guyana’s Governor-General, Sir David Rose. Rafiq was the final commentator in a relay of broadcasters, including Vic Insanally and me, who described the funeral procession through the streets of Georgetown to the Place of the Seven Ponds in the Botanical Gardens.
I cite now the words that Rafiq spoke as Sir David was laid to rest. They are taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and are Horatio’s farewell to his dying friend Hamlet. They are wholly applicable to Rafiq Khan.
“Now cracks a noble heart.
Goodnight, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”.