by GHK Lall
I thought that this government had hard and heavy matters with which it is wrestling strenuously. I thought that this government had serious—very serious—priorities on which it was determined to table and see through to successful ends. And to do so, despite all the obstacles and forces arrayed against its efforts. Apparently, I am woefully wrong on all those points. That is not easy to absorb.
I, a supporter of this government (I am still wondering why after so many unthinking developments), concede that I could be labeled as stupid for so doing. But this latest snafu in parliament by the government over the recognition of one of its own, is a bigger stupidity than anything I (or anyone of its wiser supporters) would be able to muster. It is the absolute height of stupidity, of recklessness, of dangerous dabbling in matters that are bigger than its field of vision and interests.
How (add pound sign, number sign, dollar sign, and percentage sign before the word that follows for emphasis and as expression of the wrath and disgust that flows) asinine can this government be, when it does something like honoring Mr. Abdul Kadir in the august house of the people? I repeat: how asinine? When the government contemplates and then actually engages in what has to be an irresistible attraction for assorted mockers and scorners, it not only brings itself and its existence into ridicule, the very sanity and sagacity of its people are questioned, and rightfully so.
Worse yet, it leaves supporters with an empty hand (an indefensible and tricky one) with which to play along and essay some feeble justification. For that is exactly what is happening now. And that is precisely how I regard this matter. I am not too keen on what is, or would not have been, the reaction of the United States. It did not require a dimwit or a halfwit to anticipate and then discern that a response would be sure to come, and it would neither be pretty nor understanding. Well, it has, hasn’t it?
Since matters are so politically delicately poised in this country, the government does not need this kind of attention and condemnation at this time. With parliament held hostage to the no confidence motion, the judicial processes, and stormy political conflicts, the very last thing that this government (any government) should have wanted to do was to introduce something that was sure to arouse immovable controversies and severe turbulence. As matters turned out, this was not some insignificant obscurity, but now the only thing that is recalled and discussed furiously. This was one to be left alone.
To be brutally frank, in view of what is accepted by one and all as to the magnitude of the charges, this parliamentary recognition ought never to have happened at all. Not when parliament reconvenes for the first time, not some next time down the line when the dust is settled, and not at any other time. How does this society benefit from what was prioritized? How does the man himself now exhumed and skewered once again before all? I venture that he would have been better off staying in his stilled state.
By way of a quick digression, I ask indulgence to share some of the personal. As a frequent business traveler in and out of the US, I have used JFK International Airport on hundreds of occasions. There were those fuel tanks targeted that were part of the complaint lodged against the departed Guyanese brother now lauded posthumously. I think of the potential for damage; and not to be squeamish, I have reflected on the probability and irony of having been incinerated through the handiwork of a fellow Guyanese; one now making the honors roll. I am taking this one on the chin and for the team. I do so unwillingly and angrily. There cannot be more of this appalling and unparalleled idiocy. It is untimely and unsavory.
Think of this: the times and temperatures are so overheated that any issue degrades into hard, bitter partisanship. This one required no effort whatsoever to reach that ugly state, the now unalterable norm. Still, I believe that issues more routine, more neutral, and more palatable could have been easily finalized for parliamentary passage and national digestion. Clearly, the government does not need an opposition in parliament to kick it in the teeth and the behind; it does so by itself, which is in and of itself a spectacular achievement. I shake my head; hang it, too.
If something had to be done, then honor the son of the soil in Linden. Recognize the comrade at Congress Place. I may even overlook giving him some lower level national award for long and faithful service in the struggles in the political arena if party sentiments are that passionate and overpowering. I must admit that a national award, however obscure, is asking for trouble and stretching the envelope perilously. But in the great game of politics in Guyana, I think that this would have slipped under the gaze. Now there is the hedge of regretting interpretation. That is piling nonsense upon nonsense. Means nothing. Serious damage done.
With the Americans quietly leading the charge from carefully constructed shadows for political conversation, political balance, and political consensus and resolution, this government has the edge for that powerful nod on the way ahead. Now, I think the government shot itself in the foot while applying the screws to parts of its anatomy. There is no more sensitive, upheaving, and enraging issue for Americans than that of terrorism. Some fence-mending and bridge-building are needed.
Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.