Viewpoint | In the Ring: Sherod Duncan vs Priya Manickchand – It’s Calypso Time

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The behaviour of Minister of Education Priya Manickchand has for years been a subject of public observation and notoriety with her seemingly uncontrollable outbursts and language indiscretions. Hers has not been the kind of behaviour characterised as that of a ladylike politician but more one associated with wild untamed lower animal like tendency of feralism. None other than the former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, characterised her behaviour at a public function of local and international dignitaries hosted by the United States Ambassador at his residence.
Hers was the honour to deliver remarks on behalf of the Government and People of Guyana but what she delivered was a “feral blast,” according to Luncheon, which left the guests in shock and disgust. After that unbecoming behaviour, herself and Gail Teixeira were caught on camera leaving the Ambassador’s residence with gleeful looks. Mission Accomplished. For months the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) heralded the person whose address they referred to as a “feral blast,” elevating her higher on the pecking order. Priya became the symbol and image of acceptable behaviour a la PPP/C style. The party has created a monster section of society now finds fodder to caricaturise.

The PPP/C seems comfortable using the manic one in a role that we in Guyana would define as a bad woman role. Society remembers only too well her unbecoming and disgraceful behaviour in the National Assembly, when she got down and ordinary screaming “rape, rape,” as a smokescreen to avoid being held accountable to a higher standard of decorum, which necessitated the Police being called into the august building to restore order to a ruckus she was the centre of , when the party was in opposition. Rape is not a word to trifle with given its criminality of the behaviour, the violation of the victim’s body, physical and emotional scars which could be life-lasting if professional intervention is not sought. Yet Priya, in drama queen fashion, sought to trivialise this heinous crime and disrespect those who have been so violated.

She has desecrated Guyana’s highest forum of decision-making with her bad behaviour and there is seemingly no end to such display. During the 2020 election impasse she was caught on tape referring to her fellow Guyanese, of a different political persuasion, as “subhuman.” She has set nor upheld no standards of decorum. She is also using her Facebook to verbally attack and assault others, including seeking to bring a noble profession into disrepute by calling teachers “miscreants.” She is earning the reputation of being a ‘buserine,’ cussing out all and sundry who she is not pleased with.
Priya’s behaviour is representative of what most of us were cautioned as children by our parents not to display. Whilst there is an agreement with Khalil Gibran, the poet, to “Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit” one needs to go a little further and stop them. Government supported feralism must stop. People are sick and tired of Priya’s unbecoming behaviour. People have grown tired of the display of a wild porcine quality and some have decided to call it as they see it.

If Priya’s behaviour has not been the subject of public condemnation, sufficient to cause her to desist from such then why should those who chronicle these in song and chants be subjected to condemnation? The PPP/C has a history of linguistic dehumanisation of their political opponent even as they often seek to play the victims. In Addition to what Priya is doing the PPP/C has called political opponents “mobsters,” and “hooligans.” It is time they recognise that they are only reaping what they sow.
Minister of Education Priya Manickchand holds an important role in moulding the minds of Guyana’s children but unfortunately, she continues in actions and words to deliver the type of moulding older generations were taught to shun. She perhaps does not recognise that her role as minister goes beyond the academic or is finding great challenge to function in a becoming manner. She needs to recognise her behaviour provides rich material for social caricatures, poetry, storytelling and the Caribbean artform of calypso. In this realm she has earned her stripe. It is well deserved.

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It is not surprising therefore the calypso and translation of Priya takes hold in society, the messages depicting her behaviour have found fertile ground in society who have witnessed these firsthand and have been victims of her feralism. It appears the organised responses to the calypso commentary, being played on Sherod Duncan’s “In the Ring” hurts, but it displays a double standard from those now speaking out, attacking the creative Guyana’s linguist, as they ignore that the manic one’s behaviour is what fodders the response. Don’t attack the artistes for their brilliance and may a thousand more bloom. Attack the inappropriate behaviour of Guyana’s Minister of Education.

The entertainment “In the Ring ” is hype with Priya Manickchand ‘The Feral One’ vs Sherod Duncan ‘The Fighter.’ And whilst many like the feralism, many find the behaviour distasteful, unbecoming, and unladylike. People will take a ringside seat and watch the fight until the referee declares a win, loss, no-contest, or TKO. It is in Manick-chand’s hands to change the dynamics by improving her behaviour and displaying qualities befitting the portfolio she holds.



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