by GHK Lall
The CCJ has signaled that, if it has to, then it will take full advantage of the 90-day window allowed to hand down decisions on the matters that Guyana escalated before it. Approximately a third of that clock has expired. Notwithstanding that loss, if not lost moments, I believe that truly patriotic and nationally-minded leaders have an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their interest, vision, and priority to embark upon the road to an authentic nation-state, as opposed to the bitter, incompatible fragments that now exist.
I am unmoving in the conviction that calculations of electoral triumph have now totally blinded myopic political leaders. Thus, there is the impasse that compels waiting on the CCJ. And though there are only some sixty days left, space and opportunity dangle. To manifest courage and sagacity as to what could give some strength and will to untangle the gnarled and rusted knots of Guyana, all but seized up.
My thinking is that the CCJ needs that extended period to ponder the frailties and complexities of an insufferable, unfathomable, and barbaric people. I think, also, that the CCJ’s calendar, is subtle suggestion and astute invitation, for leadership self-reexamination of what rates uppermost on the scale of values: to take the first steps, stutter the first words, and totter into some growing experience. If there is overarching national passion, there will come the willingness (maybe) to submerge (partially) craven self-interest (somewhat) for the supremacy and success of the state, and the probability of greater success for each group: greater inclusion, greater visibility, greater ownership. And greater peace. If only a start is made, that would be progress.
Every leader and supporter, who wait—breathlessly, nervously, expectantly—for the writs of the CCJ, should have sufficient sense to discern that somebody is going to fail and come up empty. In some way. Neither sophistication nor any extraordinary legal and political acumen is demanded. By so doing, I make ample allowance for human infirmities and human chicaneries. The mere ordinary is enough to appreciate and admit that the finality of the CCJ’s holdings will lead neither to zero sum result nor domestic tranquility. No solving the equation. Only resumption of the status quo ante.
Because, needless to say, no leader and no group is readying to let go, to concede, to submit post-CCJ. Not with the imminent convergence of prosperous economic times and circumstances. Hence, the continuing appeal is to Guyanese leaders for them not to make, not to commit to, the fatal error of calculating and envisioning that the road ahead could be traveled alone. That would be a cardinal misjudgment, and one from which it would be extremely difficult to extricate. Or to reverse.
What I foresee post-CCJ is that, unless a certain wisdom comes and prevails, then there would be the slow deterioration towards mob democracy, be such palpable or phantomic. The long frowned-upon (and distanced-from) national motto is now consigned to wish, prayer, and dream. And even then in only a sturdy, pious few. It is why I believe that the 90-day window of the CCJ presents men of maturity, leaders of goodwill, and patriots of unquestioned authenticity to initiate quiet but determined steps (required secret steps) towards crafting a whole new constitution. A real and relevant, working and meaningful, balanced and visionary document that would rise to the sacredness of scripture, because it has things in it that matter for everybody. Including unbelievers. A start could have been made—should have been already—towards something that would, in time, be treated with the reverence that the Israelites bestowed on the Ark of the Covenant. Indeed, a holy writ despite being touched and soiled by frail, even suspicious, human hands.
I think the road to national redemption begins with putting the constitutional sanctorum in order, to pave the way for inclusivity, towards a reality that is truly of One People and One Nation, with one planned destiny. Such a constitution would be far from perfect. Still, it gives impetus in the days to the CCJ for the two major parties to consider a different way of life for this nation beyond the life support on which it is now precariously attached. Nothing of comprehensive substance could be concluded in sixty days, but there is place to reconsider and rebalance politically and socially. A unique, encroaching future makes such outlooks and movements mandatory. Only unprecedented statesmanship and the highest patriotic ideals, untried and untested, will prepare this society to greet and hug that future. Otherwise, it is the Banquo’s ghost of past miscalculations and past failures returning to haunt all Guyanese for a long time to come.
Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.