By GHK Lall
The day and selection day farce for the PPP/C presidential candidate is now over. Quite candidly, it did not matter to me who emerged as the winner. For I think that one would amount to, at most, the main puppet of a puppetmaster who is, in turn, subservient to the dictates of a foreign ideology and foreign hands. All I see is a continuation of what has not worked, what has injured grievously, and what will hurl the peoples of this nation into a perilous position. On the other hand, and if by some miraculous development, the victor somehow turns out to be his own man (and it appears to be undeniably so), and someone genuinely committed unflinchingly and unswervingly to reach out, to heal, and to bond this fractured society together, then I will pause, give the time of day, and even arrive at a philosophical place of either neutral waiting and weighing, or lending a voice that encourages as positive developments unfold. As defined and expected by me, positive and expected narrow down to two unambiguous words: national unity. In this selection postmortem, however, I say this: there is absolutely no chance that that candidate can rise above personal limitations, above leadership strangulations, and the aggregate demands of the job: nuanced, statesmanlike, honorable, inspiring. The coalition has gotten a late Christmas gift.
Next, towards the end of this month, according to the news reports, the acting Chief Justice has indicated the handing down of decisions related to no-confidence cases. On this, my position is identical to that as to who is now triumphant as the opposition’s presidential candidate: zero interest; less attention; even lesser patience. For however the learned Chief Justice rules, the loser is sure to appeal to the CCJ (although the government should manage overconfidence). That is a restatement of the obvious, and draws and quarters further and longer the helpless and hapless Guyanese populace held willing hostage in this decades-running political charade. At the core, it is a charade focused on power, personal aggrandizement, and the self-serving and self-enriching. Again, whichever side is successful when all the tiers of the judicial processes have been explored and exhausted will be faced with the same insurmountable issues that have rendered the parties supine; and progressive governance comatose. Race is first. Healing and reconciling are appendages. None seems willing beyond the trite platitudes.
Let this be faced head-on and unsparingly. If the opposition should prevail in the courts and at the polls, I do not foresee a slim majority in such a situation, given that presidential selection. If by some inexplicability this were to occur, the problem is this: how is it going to rule? In which country? In which one of the counties? This has been observed and experienced before, several times over. Now after 23 years of pent-up animosties incited by the previous government’s rule, and less than a short 4 years of the current government’s stewardship, I do not envision a sober, thoughtful, or conducive post-election climate. The negative energies and all the usual passions are too much to be contained, even if such were to be the interest of calmer, more conciliatory minds. When the still swirling and continuing controversies surrounding the background and now reality of the no-confidence vote (and its determining complexion) are added to the volatile tempers held in abeyance, temporarily, then the worst has to be feared. In sum, I foresee, to a high degree of probability, an ungovernable situation of enduring proportions, and extra layers to the antagonisms permeating this land.
In the next instance, should the existing government win in the courts and in elections (whenever held), it would be one that is closely hobbled and severely weakened by the economic and bureaucratic realities on the ground, and some of which have been duly noted and definitely lived. In its less than 4 years at the helm, the experience has been: nothing is secret; not much of substance gets anywhere or gets done; not many can be trusted (including its own supporters, and let it be said: its own kind); and not many deliver anywhere to anything expected. This has been my partial experience in a grueling slog, and my understanding is that such is widespread. On the economic front, the odds are stacked against, with the players knowledgeable and not hesitant to attempt sophisticated (or crude) squeezes. A good example would be foreign exchange. Unless a wholesale purge (read cleansing) were to occur, then more of the same is bound to happen and to a greater degree. Of necessity, such a purge would have to include many of its own. No house, no family unit, no business, no community, and absolutely no country can function at any level of efficiency and productivity with such overwhelmingly undermining circumstances arrayed against. As in the situation of an opposition government, the incumbent one could not and would not be able to function at any applaudable level. That is, to govern effectively. Something has to give; some sense, some iota of sanity has to surface to persuade one and all that the old winner takes all (or all or none) structure is over. History. Caput. Gone. Regardless of presidential candidates. I would hope that the incumbents do not come up with their own laughable equivalent, of which are more than a few.
Last, and on a different note, ANUG had its launch on Saturday. It is even more welcomed, given some powerful commitments I read. I salute such stirring promises (which aligns with something I wrote recently elsewhere. I do not know how many were there overall, but judging from the newspaper pictures, and from what I know of that specific area within Moray House, it may not have been several hundred. This alone is telling. That something different, something promising the unheard of, and near revolutionary, generates such a modest level of interest from a supposedly dismayed and disgusted citizenry. I think that that trumpets in no uncertain terms the mood and resolve of the voting public. It is: we are where we are, come hell or high water; and even if the former were to freeze over. And we are not moving. It is why I have said before and I do so again, as much as I recognize the potential of ANUG, I do not believe that the voting public will be moved. That is itself part of the continuing tragedy of Guyana’s political reality.