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OPINION: Cause for optimism or more Guyanese political torture

By GHK Lall

Media reports are that there is some hint of leadership movement on one issue: chairperson for Gecom. It should be cause for optimism, that a pathway is being recognized that has to be drilled out of the chronic constipation. The Guyanese people are encouraged to harbor such optimism. For my part, I am more inclined to view this as another part of the compelled choreography that is such an integral aspect of what is now a state of perpetual Guyanese political torture.

I confess that this is ironic (perhaps tragic) coming from me. For I freely admit to urging continually that leaders be open to meeting and discussing and finalizing consensus arrangements. My position has always been that the longest journey begins with the first step; no matter the nature of the journey; no matter the infinitesimal, undetectable nature of that fateful first step. Has to be tried; must be believed. And yet here I am, unimpressed and unmoved. Such is the degree of skepticism, the overwhelming disgust. I have no problems being alone on this, for I see this spare, opening gambit as nothing more than what it really is at the crux of considerations.

That is, mainly, the first letter in the first syllable of the first word in an unending story. In other words, it opens the door to nowhere. Leaders have been that dense; that unmoving. I sense it is one more theatrical episode that takes the citizens of this country for yet another ride: positions are too steely; visions too selfish. I ask this no: given this development, what is next?

To ask and answer, I offer this as a prediction: there will be some methodology (sure to be painstaking, maybe even intractable); some names (certain to be the joys of going around in circles again); and those two first steps, if ever collaborated on, to the newest Guyanese incarnation of a Messiah: a chairperson. The Israelites waited thousands of years for that arrival; and, according, to the Christian version, promptly disowned him. What kind of savior is this one? This is the jaded, disbelieving state in which I now reside. And from the interferences on my antenna, I not alone. Far from it.

Because when this country and its leaders somehow manage to emerge unscathed (and still listening to each other; listening not necessarily trusting) from the ordeals of a chairperson process and selection, then it is on the next labor of Hercules: establishing some baseline, seeking some middle ground, and locking in some convergence on that next fabled undertaking: a list. Oh yes, a mutually agreeable electoral list. If selecting a chair has resulted in the political afflictions and political turbulences that have set back a hundred years, then I do not anticipate any easy, early, embraceable electoral list. As a reminder, and another hard position of mine: this country has proven repeatedly that it has had no political Hercules. Narcissus, yes; Machiavelli, most assuredly. But the herculean to get the political labors executed, absolutely not.

At this time, and proceeding forward, I expect the usual shabbiness, slickness, and sicknesses from the nation’s politicians. They have earned these accolades. These enemies of the people (and state) are obsessed with one thing and one thing only: power. Monopoly governance power. And that list holds the keys to the kingdom of Guyana. If that is suspected to have some kind of relation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I say go to the head of the class for perception alone. Look at what is involved here; look closely at the (to put matters politely) the petroleum patriots and their personal plans for this land. That is enough to drive to a northbound plane, or to hard liquor.

Next, in this trinity of the tawdry (chair, list, and date), there is that tantalizing issue of a date. Because an early date signifies a troubled list; and a later date, an identically unappealing one. All political calculus aside, I foresee somewhere around mid-October to early November. Sounds like a strange and unwelcome Christmas surprise to me. This country is so backward that a date causes it to go into convulsions. What kind of people are these?

Then, the real Guyana is unfurled before an astonished world, through something of a process called election campaigning, voting, and last counting. I do not think for one moment that Guyana is ready for that scheduled brain surgery with a potent chemo drip as the anesthetic. And, as if all of those are not enough, there is announcing results and accepting and conceding accordingly. In civilized, intelligent societies those are routine matters. Well, this country and its leaders and peoples are anything but; I suggest that there is frankness and honesty with ourselves to acknowledge these norms.

Those who wish to believe (or challenge) go right ahead and do so. I have read from afar and observed first hand, the same songs and dances election season after season. This follows script and long-established blueprint. It is 2019, and there are the same postures, same arguments, and same inconclusive and unsuccessful visions and arrival points. Nothing changes. With this kind of mentality, this nation is gone with the type of people that it has in its political brain trusts; and those all-important supporting councils. It is doomed.

I wish I could have said otherwise. I just can’t. Now let the games begin. More finitely, the next round of what is going to be a marathon encounter: a combination of those ancient prizefights and WrestleMania. Nothing is off the table; nothing is below the belt. Nothing is outside the limit. Guyanese better get ready for the longest of long hauls.

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