A few nights ago whilst channel surfing to see what the
competition was doing I saw a group of persons on GTV rationalizing the
introduction of the metric system, the callers and the hosts of this show
talked about globalization and all sorts of nonsense without once understanding
the fundamental repercussions of this ridiculous law. So I decided to check, As
of the 1st. of January 2002 this country by passing legislation order
number 4 of 2001 modifying the weights and measures act of 1981 made it illegal
for anyone to use the old imperial system of measurements. The act declares
that and I quote it "from the appointed day [January 2002] the metric system
only shall apply in Guyana and the imperial system shall cease to have legal
force and validity" signed minister of trade etc. Goofy Da Silva.
Of course the government were given Grants in US dollars
from the European Union to conduct courses, seminars etc. to effect this change,
and after taking these huge amounts of money from the EU they had to show that
they did something with it, so, with the usual total contempt for the nation, they
set about to introduce this system by legislation without proper consultation
with the public to rationalize the receipt of the grants.
The metric system is by far a better system of
measurement than the imperial system we have grown so accustomed to, it
operates in multiples of 10, 100, 1000 etc. there is for example the centimeter
instead of the inch, 100 centimeters is one meter, 1000 meters is one kilometer,
instead of 12 inches making a foot, 3 feet making a yard and 5280 ft making a
mile. Same with weight, 1000 grams making a kilogram and 1000 kilograms making
a tonne. Instead of 16 ounces making one pound 112 pounds making a hundred
weight and 20 hundred weights making a ton of 2240 lbs.
But it ends there, because I don't think in metric and
those of us who are my age, NEVER WILL everything I ever learned and which
guide me in the decisions in my life is based on the imperial system, the Vresailles
tower is 300 ft, the VCR is 1/2 inch VHS, two inches of rain is a lot, 88 ft
per second is 60 MPH, the list is ENDLESS.
A perfectly shaped woman has the dimensions of 36, 24, 36.
so what is this 91.4 x 60.96 x 91.4 centimeter crap, the woman sounds like a
blimp to all of us. Now men one of your friends calls you on the phone from New
York, he tells you that he is getting married you ask him to describe the woman,
he tells you that she blond is 5 ft 7 inches tall, weighs 128 pounds is 38, 26,
36 and you say wow!!! Imagine him calling you and telling you that the woman is
blond, 160.18 centimeters tall, weighs 62.14 kilograms and has the measurements
96.52 x 63.5 x 91.4... from the way we have been programmed to associate measurements
from the cradle, this guy is marrying someone from outer space.
The Europeans have always used the metric system it was
designed in France in 1790 and believe it or not by 1897 the British parliament
decided that it was a better system and that they would implement it, after endless
attempts, up to and including today, it has not been completed, because they
were of the opinion that they did not have the right to force people to use
metric against their will and so they are doing what the Americans are doing,
they have a dual system and it will be phased out over several decades. None of
this Guyana executive lawlessness nonsense, they tell us that this is now the
law so WE all must now think metric, well gentlemen YOU think again.
The transport for my land says so and so square feet.
The neighborhood councils, the district councils, the regional
councils, the municipality of all of our towns, still deal with yards and feet
and they have to do so, because all of their legal distances are set by statute
in the imperial system of feet, yards, miles and so on. Are we all now breaking
the law because our transports which are measured in the imperial system now
have no legal effect because Da Silva says so? Can anyone tell me what will
happen in this country if all of our transports which are measured in the
imperial system no longer have any legal effect? Simply putting up a sign
saying that the speed limit is 30 kilometers an hour is nonsense if the
statures do not support it?
I will not even attempt to go into the problems this
poses for rice farmers who have no idea what a hectare is and who own lands or have
transports or leases which are described in acres and who use 165 lb bags to
take the rice to the mills. Or the sugar industry field workers who do job work
based on the imperial system and which are enshrined in all of the union
There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of legal
agreements in this country which are established using the imperial system; do
all of these agreements no longer have any legal effect?
How come it is only a few poor shop keepers and commercial
manufacturers who must now change their scales etc to metric to confuse themselves
and the population and to satisfy the European Union because they happen to be
sitting ducks for this kind of nonsense. The British metrication board after
implementing every possible programme of consumer information campaigns,
composed endless pamphlets on the matter over the past 100 years came to the
conclusion in 1980 that and I quote "we little knew that the die was set for a
further 20 years of waste, confusion and argument they did nothing to refute
the big lie, namely that Britain was being forced to change because of the
European Commission. In fact during the past 20 years European politicians and
businesses in continental Europe couldn't give a damn whether Britain changed
to the metric system or not, Because Britain was shooting itself in the
economic foot maintaining a dual system" end quote and so were the Americans.
Almost everything we buy comes from Britain or America so we benefit from this
dual system of measurement. Unless the Americans and the British comply fully,
there will never be globalization in terms of measurements, so why should this poor
country go to the huge expense of making this change with all of the
complications it carries with it.
Notwithstanding that the law has been passed, no one
will be taken to court for breaking it, since any half decent lawyer will force
the court to agree that the implementation of the metric system in such a
lopsided fashion is discriminatory and probably unconstitutional. This law must
be withdrawn, now, before it leads to total chaos, this country has problems
There are manufacturers in this country who have very
expensive machines which makes zinc sheets, wire fences, pipes etc. all calibrated
in inches, feet and yards, what can these men do if they can no longer deal in
the imperial system? Throw away all of these expensive machines? And what about
me, I decide to replace a zinc sheet on my roof, I go to Gafoors or Toolsie or National
Hardware I tell them that I need one zinc sheet, the old one is 8ft by 4ft what
are they supposed to do? Tell me that they can't sell me an 8x4 sheet because
of this ridiculous law and that it must be identified in metric measurements? Or
sell me something in metric that cannot fit. Same thing with Pipes, we all have
in our yards and houses pipes of every description all ½ inch ¾ inch, 7/8 inch
1 inch, 2 inches etc. is there one person in this country whose house has pipes
measured in centimeters? What are these huge manufactures/suppliers supposed to
do, sell me a pipe in centimeters which may have a small difference because of
the decimal points between the imperial measurements and the metric one and all
of it is mismatched and leaks. It is a recipe for disaster. Same with Lumber...
we and all of our tradesmen are programmed to think in 1x4 inches, 2x4, 1x12
and so on, what happens now? 1 by 4 will now be 2.54 X 10.16 cm??? I kept
asking myself which genius thought this one through? GUYWA hooked me up LAST
YEAR in 2001, the transition year to metric, and they asked me if I wanted a ¾
inch pipe connection or 1 ½ inch pipe connection, were they breaking their own
laws, and listen to this one, the west Bank water system was designed and built
by the European Union.
And more and more wrong interpretation will inevitably
lead to skullduggery on the street between vendors and the public. Can anyone
imagine what it means to buy what was once one pound of beef but is now 453.6 grams?
Or one pint of oil which is now 473.2 Mls. Does the Guyanese housewife not have
enough problems looking over her shoulder to see which thief is coming to rob
her when she opens her purse?