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OPINION: Political and bureaucratic cheating brings intense personal recoiling

by GHK Lall

When I read of one suspiciously underhand episode after another involving senior people in this country, there is intense personal recoiling. For in my book, their three-card character, believed sophisticated schemes, and too many times rickety defenses fail either to win sympathy or to garner any speck of support. Rather, there is sharp disgust for what I interpret and declare to be unpardonably treacherous.

When ministers and top rank bureaucrats succumb to the temptations of office, the lure of coin, and an insatiable greediness, they are betraying more than corrupt, pathetic selves and usually uncaring families. They betray the few comrades, who wish for and are committed to a turning of the tide; they betray party and a president, who has set the example by remaining above the rushing gutter of naked, galloping exploitation; and they betray the clean citizens in this country, who have all but given up hope, and who have settled for the resignation of numbed apathy and the safe distances of disinterest and disengagement. And they give convenient and timely fodder to the social and political cannons ready to suck up their iniquities and fire those right back in the face of the pathologically corrupt.

When the senior and powerful, almost all handpicked or retained, trample upon trust vested upon obligations placed, and upon challenges thrown down, then they are even more contemptible than the aggregation of a million Judases. They sell their naked ambitions and visions like the cheapest denizens of the twilight and the street. These fallen incur massive distaste and unending scorn for the pathetic games they play with the taxpayers’ businesses and the nation’s visions. I do not know of where anybody else stand, nor do I care, but this is the way I think and feel. All the flimsy excuses and defensive postures and evasive subterfuges fail to convince, as to rightness, logic, or good sense. These people are without character, without quality. They are low and coarse. They are not fit and proper for office, any office.

When ranking public servants ignore that longstanding adage that all politics is local, they insult a partially believing citizenry. For it does not get more local than hemmed in, tuned in, and linked in Guyana. There is no escaping, no explaining, no exculpating. And when they forget that in conjunction with the local reality, that all politics is also current, as in right now, there is a compounding of the discredit that is heaped upon themselves and a continuously agitated populace. Everyone knows, nobody forgets in the maelstrom of the political cauldron that is of now and today. Because nobody really cares about what predecessors did, or how many financial depredations they inflicted, or for how long they did so. Nobody has a New York minute to spare to point to those who now ride around holier than Pilate and, for all intents and purposes, are as untouchable as the lowest caste in the political firmament. Again, all politics is local and current.

When and who is doing what is wrong?  That is the focus and emphasis with a harsh spotlight trained on government. Government should know better; this one especially. All the alleged egregious wrongdoings of the opposition fade into the inconsequential. This should not be, but it is the reality of the political and social attention span. The forgiveness and easy dismissal of local history. The fragility of occupied and besieged collective memory, and a prejudiced one at that. All the arguments and finger pointing and counter-charges mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. Who is doing what and is doing so now is what sells, what gains traction, and which brings mirth and mockeries? It is 2019, and yet another era of loss and listlessness.

When I reflect upon all of this, I am incensed that the few positives that come from the steadfastly principled and conscientious are lost in the clamor and frenzies over the weaknesses and deformities of the countless cheating, lying, and defrauding. The work of the clean-minded and well-intentioned is overpowered and dismissed. Matters not. That has to be taken personally by those who give and give all. They really should hang the betrayers in the public square. I can think of no better and more telling deterrent. And if that is too draconian for cosmopolitan sensitivities, then I would substitute the more palatable public flogging of those who should be run out of this or any other town. Of course, I am for the civilizing influence of the cat-o-nine tails. It has a certain therapeutic ambience.

Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.