…Because one thing leads to another
We are today stuck in resistance to embrace what has become obvious, with respect to the innovative potential of the latent and active potential of the humanity that rests within the borders of this nation. When COVID-19 became a lethal invasive presence, from the first masks to face shields appeared on social media and as features in some newspapers. No authority places its focus on small innovations that can expand into meaningful permitted-stamped for usefulness.
One young lady had displayed face masks on Facebook and she had not been advised that her product should be standardised, because about two months or more later I stopped by a tailor I at times use in Bourda, and he was making masks, copying the same colour schemes as the young lady, except that his masks were all over the place, and the reams of fabric scattered on the ground, inevitably it would be stepped on. That’s the danger of the copyist, the focus is getting the product to the market, not the safety and quality of the product, simply because the state of mind of the rip-off differs from that of the original.
I know creative minds in jewellery and in craft production whose frustrations and helplessness at copyists have forced them to retreat and seek other more pedestrian areas to generate survival income when these people had the potential to create a ‘brand’ that would have generated extended employment and thus, reliable GDP-income. Copyists exist because of laziness or desperation; they don’t research, experiment or even explore the trade data in the areas that they need to earn income in. It’s easier to steal a design, produce an inferior copy and sell it cheap, make a raise and kill an idea.
Thus, we remain stagnated. Guyana is a pariah (in respect to the Caribbean music producers). I worked in the local Entertainment Business, I can recall taking Buju Banton, on a show-around towards a show at the National Park, we entered the top local cassette shop against my advice, his film crew instantly refused to take the footage, on the grounds that all the music in the entity was pirated. I told them if the proprietor didn’t work this way he would be out of business, they understood, but they couldn’t justify doing the footage based on what I said, to the label the artist was contracted to.
We need an existing council to access areas of innovative sparks. I’m not referring to folks from the slates of political parties, I’m referring to persons accomplished in their fields, whether Industry or Arts; to be able to determine shelf life value and relevant application towards industry or entertainment platforms, we have got to begin with what is available in our population, and the potential is surprising. I have said it before, a few years ago, that a significant portion of our business sector will revolve around home run small businesses. I’ve supported some of them, and they provide prompt delivery service, not all are in Georgetown, but I haven’t been disappointed yet. Technology is providing opportunities as technology has taken jobs away. Advertising, boutique shopping, some areas of electronics- without even opening an outlet here, Amazon and other sites have moved into our market and our online shopping facilitators can be considered new options. But not in the local job-count volume in comparison to the jobs lost, and will continue to be liquidated.
Guyana is not without expertise, self-taught, tertiary educated, natural talents, but the realisation of the world that is engulfing us, oil or no oil, if it is not paid enough attention to, the result is that we will be engulfed with the hopelessness we have known before. It will take in-house investment and never before collaborations and application based on pure logic against engrained custom practices to relinquish naturally marginalised areas, that cannot evolve with the mere appointment of authority, with absolutely no relationship with what they have to administrate. We have the understanding enough to perceive the necessity to change to remain relevant, but it will require hard ‘administrative’ human relationship adjustments to change a fossilised repressive colonial/Cold war ideological economic and political mandate, sustained for too long, because I’ve witnessed the hostile reactions to small changes before, and even recently.
The potential to develop new creative business endeavours that will have no impact on our natural environment is tremendous, however, whether we embrace, be it film, graphic magazines, video games, branding for other merchandise, etc. Two elements are crucial, the legal status of any product and its distribution hub, two elements that are necessary to protect and to enable us, which we don’t have now, with distribution to my knowledge none of the CARICOM group has this going for them in-house, or from the collective group.
These are areas we need to begin discussing across the political borders as its content and potential is not exclusively riveted within political loyalties, but instead project, protect and define the aesthetics and ethos of the Guyanese ‘being’ that has languished, lacking the assertiveness common of nations, not through its incapacity of talents and skills, but through the confusion of how to arrest this aspect of the national nature that is both ‘Independent’ and ‘Mysteriously revolutionary’ in many ways, within a political and bureaucratic context, the Subvention to Cultural Industries paid in 2019, though awarded in 2017 is a great case study for what was achieved and what was necessary to be understood by the bureaucracy mandated to execute what was a landmark positive breakthrough towards an existing fledgeling group of industries to another level.