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OPINION: A look at the 2020 landscape

by GHK Lall

I must be optimistic; I have to be, or there is nothing. So what do I say and share with my fellow Guyanese, countrymen and countrywomen all? To be blunt, as we put the holidays behind us, I really don’t know. Or more precisely, I am at a loss as to where to start. But again, I must try.

I must find it within myself to hope that men will put the interests of this country first. There are a lot of new voices and new faces, but they fall short. I trust President David Granger to be the man and leader, who could take us places. The others are not even a pale shadow in comparison. And by that, I mean his peers and his competitors. I like Messrs. Ramkarran and Jonas, but as for the rest, I am troubled. They have too many of their own troubles. I will go with Mr. Granger, because I believe his heart is in the right place and his hands are not sticky. Both are imperatives for me.

I have been privileged to serve this country, and I will say it again: I thought I knew a lot about this country and how it operates and the people, who make things happen. But I am still astonished by what and who I confronted. And confront I did. Some was won and some lost. Yet, I am the wiser for it, in a tenure that is looking into the sunset. When I talk about agendas, motivations, conspiracies and conspiracies within conspiracies, I have seen the works and then some more. This country, in the time honored and most accurate words of one minister, is a mad house. And I have been privy to peer into the charnel house that is this mad house.

I wish anyone well, who thinks that he or she could make a difference. But on this one thing I must be absolutely clear and unequivocal: this country needs—demands—moral and ethical leadership of the highest caliber. There is talk about transformational leadership, but it all means nothing if the people driving the bus are devoid of the core principles that make for a good husband, a good neighbor, a good friend, and a good patriot. This is not negotiable. If not, it is lost. If not, it is more of the same. If not, the oil will be gone and so, too, will we be. I think that if we somehow manage to manage ourselves in a reputable manner, are ready and willing to make the personal sacrifices needed, then we will come out alright. The other day, a man of widespread reputation shortchanged himself by allowing himself to succumb to the wiles of the dangled temptations of political craftsmen of the worst pedigree. I regret that loss.

I would hope—against my better instincts—that some of the new people are made out of cleaner, incorruptible cloth. I am struggling to find a bright spot in the midst of readying for 2020 and beyond. The air is ringing with promises of visions, of plans, and of commitments to do all that is good and righteous for this society, but the proof will be in the living. There are untold millions that will be in the offing and there will be those who cannot resist. I regret to say that many have stumbled, and then it is all downhill, because in a for a million, then why not a billion? After all, it is just a number, a couple more zeros. Some people looked at the ExxonMobil contract and seem to slowly and excruciatingly come to the point that I have pinpointed out from day one: that contract is sacred; it is inviolable. It will not be abrogated nor set aside by any court. I repeat: any court. But I digress.

Again, I firmly believe that Mr. Granger and Mr. Ramkarran (both of whom I have met) leave with a sense of purity and patriotism of the rarest heights; Mr. Jonas, I do not know, but I think his head is in the right place. And that is good enough for me, or at least for this place. I have studied Mr. RGC Trotman, close up, and I think he brings many intriguing considerations to the realm of the probable; I am encouraged. For him to have reached out of nowhere for a nobody like me to render a hand speaks for itself, and that I have been able to respond in kind tells me where we can go as a people. As for the rest, I look at their stories, and it is not positive. Not positive in their possibilities, their characters, their grandeur of the things that may—just may—make us great.

And while I am it, the opposition is absolutely the worst thing that this country has to offer and should be placed in a back room and out of its misery. That is, unless, there is the opportunity and strength from within to rise up and say: not this way; not this one; not this life. I would then be compelled to take the newcomers, the same people who I consign to political Newcastle.

Because of this, and in spite of all of it, I look forward to 2020, a pivotal year—indeed, a make or break year—and salute my fellow citizens, and say that I think we can rise and be better than ourselves, and we have been all along. I think we can gather and grow. I say that we can even be great. I look forward to this.

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