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OPINION: Guyana’s prime ministerial tussles – just like the TV political parody

by GHK Lall

The word is that the PPP’s number two candidate will be named this weekend. The first thought is that may this one be on the table, where all can see what is going on. The bigger issue is this: does it really matter? Quite frankly, it doesn’t to me, but it is good to stir the national thought processes.

Clearly the prime minister portfolio has transformed from a backwater placeholder to top gun prestige, given the struggle in the coalition and now the tussle within the opposition. Of the three black Guyanese (this being Guyana, how can it be otherwise, to balance the optics of an Indian in charge) identified and vying for the choice runner-up position, I rule out one immediately. Apologies are extended to the man of the church, who I eliminate; nothing personal, merely my reading of the lizards’ livers. He is too heavily laden with baggage, and this brother will not be carried by the progressive people, who used him well and prappa. Sure, he worked diligently for the position, is a recognized insider, and executed all that was asked of him, including every undesirable job. But he is now a liability; hence, discardable.

It is heartless to rule him out, no matter how gently. But it is a risk to add him to what is already a suspect ticket which when scratched is blankness exemplified. Nothing present: no heft, no inspiration, only controversy (and distaste). I refer doubters to that now iconic Old Year’s day headline picture in SN and KN: there is a candidate frightened out of his skin and looking like a deer in the headlights; a candidate content to be led, spoon-fed, and being put to bed. That is why I say the good Bishop is better off tending to the spiritual flock and leaving the secular realm to the sawdust political people. Try to sing some new songs; a few hymns should help. The churchman did well while it lasted, but he became the wrong man in the wrong place among the wrong people. Lesson: stick to Jesus, next time.

Now that leaves two. I never heard of the man from Linden. So, there is little that I can offer about him. Is he Guyanese? I did hear, though, that he has a very influential neighbor. Why not try this youngster? He has the story: real qualifications; the right color; and an appealing demeanor. I can hear his powerful rabbi whispering in the wings. Having said that, I must make one thing clear immediately: forget this nonsense about crossover voters. Nobody is bringing any crossover votes with them. Nobody is following anybody anywhere. If some voters intend to abandon their traditional parties, they are not crossing over to anywhere. They stay home; or they cast their lot with the new people, who must distill to a maximum of two groups from that crowd of electoral aspirants. ANUG is an already established presence; there is room for — maybe — one more.

With that little digression out of the way, it is back to the two candidates, now effectively reduced to one. Remember I said, I am going in blind on the stealth candidate from the university. On the last man that I believe would be left standing in true generalissimo fashion, I have a few things to say. I am surprised that a man of his context would even consider being a part of this political horror show. I guess I really don’t know him, either. Sure, I know about chain of command, following orders, and all that textbook stuff. But there are limits as to whom certain people are willing to take orders from, or to be part of their scorched earth (destroy the village to save it) program. Yet I must admit, again, no matter how much I think that I know this country, I really don’t know it that much.

I would have extreme difficulty following any directive from those two higher fellows, but here is a former general who says that he can and will. It would require a court order for me; and if that is not forthcoming, then out comes the other passport. I suppose I lack the requisite ambition and visions for myself. In what is a comedy show, a peep show, and a dog and pony show, all rolled into one, there is now a full-chested army man saying I have no problem being part of such a show. Look closely at this: start with a farce for a presidential candidate, and what could be added as PM, but a UFO (the “F” is not flying or foreign). If this is about governing an oil producer, give me grass.

I think that, as this prime ministerial business climaxes, it is best summed up by that hilarious British political parody titled, “Yes, Prime Minister.” For the unfamiliar, it was where this band of bumbling political dunderheads thought they were slicker than everybody else, while the truth was that everybody was on to the joke that was them. I recommend it for quality television watching, though not for real life, even for the farce that governance has always proven to be in this society. What an exciting year this is going to be!

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