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OPINION: Elections 2020: the perfect vision of the usual right down the middle

by GHK Lall

On occasion, I am prompted to believe that I am the wisest one around here, and since that is far from accurate, I will settle for the sanest. For in the past few days of this New Year, this pivotal year of 2020, there came confirmation of things that needed no confirmation. None whatsoever, because as is so obvious, they are characterized by so much of what is of mere commonsense.

First, there was the coalition leadership entourage in full regalia at their kickoff proceedings. It was rousing, electrifying, and there was one more thing: there was a crowd of people: raucous, excited supporters, thousands of them, from what I read and heard. Did anybody, any Guyanese, require that kind of confirmation? I certainly didn’t, which is why I said from the get-go that this political contest has only one manifestation.

As if to provide proof—more than adequate evidence—of my immovable assertion, the opposition PPP held its own ceremonies on Sunday in Kitty and drew, according to the media reports, hundreds of well-wishers. This is in Kitty, for as can be anticipated, when the party treks over to its sacred shrine in the Ancient County, they will come out in droves, as in matching thousands to what was displayed at D’Urban Park in the coalition’s production.

I think that Guyanese—even foreign observers—should, by now, appreciate where I am heading with this. In the event that it is unclear, let me clear any residual cobwebs or psychological resistances: it is straight down the middle. It is right down the middle with the PNC (coalition) and the PPP occupying pride of place as I have been insisting all along and have gone out on a limb asserting all along. I did this, even as I made clear my support for the coalition and my belief that it is due another term to continue the few positives, and to be given the time and opportunity to make good on so much more. I stand there.

But what about all the others who were making noises to the contrary? Where is the youth voter? The educated voter? Where is the constitutional reform and whatever other reform voter? Where is the anticorruption voter? Where is the clean governance voter? Where is the disgusted and voter in search of, in desperate need of, the change so lamented about in this town? I say it once and for all, and hopefully for the last time: forget about them, all of those manufactured species of voters. They do not exist. They were and are a mirage, a hoped-for manifestation of some gumption and separation by stricken Guyanese voters from the umbilical cord. But that, too, does not exist.

Perhaps, there was some stirring, some shaded inkling of hope for some apparition called the youth vote. But the youths of this country cannot think for themselves, or on their feet, or maybe even at all, come to think of it. I say this because when they are in the bosom of the hearth, tradition and family and history take over and reduce them to blubber. It is the pallor of good intentions taking on the anemic. In creole of sorts, it is where ancestors work diligently to remind their offspring not to stray from the fold, not to betray their political birthright, not even to contemplate abstaining, as that would give a notch to the hated and dreaded other man from the other side. These are the across-the-board conversations that count.

I would concede that I overestimate and overemphasize the influence of ancestors and the home, but the genes run deep in this country, and it comes down to this simple formula cum equation: black fuh black, and brown fuh brown. And that’s that, with no more left to be said. If anybody wishes for more, their existence ought to be questioned, as well as the utility they bring by being on this earth.

It was why that even as I examined the flurry of arrivals of this new group and that one, I shook my head and asked myself: who is fooling whom? Who is living in some space bubble somewhere out there that is detached from Guyanese political, social, and racial realities? Clearly, there were some genuine people (I will give them that), but shortsighted in the extreme, I would contend. They came late, they arrived short of breath (and cash and votes), and they fell from not even grace, but from electoral consideration almost from the inception, since minds and hearts were already given over to the regulars, and irreversibly locked there. Thus, there was nothing for the new political people who, with one exception, represented the usual passing ship in the night.

But this is not about the new people, or about how well or not well-equipped they came to the electoral amphitheater that is Guyana. That was irrelevant and moot from the first day. What I write about today is that no matter how much we cry and wail and lament and beat our breasts in anguish over the evils and terrors of the PPP and PNC, they are beloved. They are cherished. They are unconquerable, and they are only undone by the other.

So, now that the die has been cast in terms of who is left and where matters finalize, it is down to the usual. The squabbling in the trenches (Laing Avenue and Sophia, with more likely), the senseless corner-shop pastimes, the harsh community animosities, the thunderous rhetoric representing the rancid and the deceptive, and the waiting for the result, and the stormy aftermath that is in the making.

Everybody (including yours truly) have come forward to postulate that this would be the mother of all elections. That is only partially accurate, as after March 2nd that would be behind us. And that is when the trouble, the real trouble starts. On this one, too, I am unswerving and unequivocal.

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