Last Updated on Wednesday, 1 March 2023, 23:34 by Denis Chabrol
by GHK Lall
I am appalled about the direction that the PPP Government cherishes. It is clearly bent on pursuing certain dogged visions, regardless of who says what, the alarming appearance of its actions. I do the government a favor which, coming from me, would be received in the poorest grace. I persist.
When the President and others practice going after those who honestly disagree with them, object on a principled basis to their programs and actions, then others beyond Guyana are watching. When President and Vice President allegedly orchestrate manipulations and devices that degrade or bypass standing democratic governance structures across Guyana, then the continuum at work becomes painfully obvious, frowns grow tighter overseas. When President, government, and party make it a duty to look for areas seen as obstacles to their total control and domination, then more than locals are alarmed. Outsiders do more than pay attention, they now sit up and start gathering facts and circumstances, which either confirm increasing malpractices, or discard them as being without footing. I think that the evidence of the former is present locally in trumps, and at swollen proportions. Overseas watchers grow restless.
The media is dominated by PPP operators, and the few independent planks remaining, or self-financing, are targeted and surrounded, to back into tight corners and cow into silence and compliance. Or, in terms of the latter, the rewards of buying quietly into the government’s program; one that has many elements that don’t stick when combed through with a broad-tined rake. This is what the local terrain embeds and projects. The few who speak their minds, usually to what is in the national interests, the truths of them, are branded with a star on their foreheads: naysayers, dissenters, troublemakers. Words to that effect have come from the nation’s head-of-state himself. It indicates the dark, insecure place in which his head rests. Democracy, I remind again, is not oneness of thinking; does not distil to this: it had better be public harmony or there will eventual be social jeopardy. That is, singled out for denunciation and dismissal, like two civil society activists were recently on the matter of the EITI suspension. If those two today, then who else is honored for lining up tomorrow? Against what, and with what injurious solution in mind?
I caution that this leadership and governance culture only serves to straighten the backbones of those standing in conscientious objection. I caution further that no quantity, no category, of leadership and governmental command can coerce and control the consciences of some, an unbowed few. Meanwhile, those committed to be steadfast watchdogs in overseas locales on these matters take their notes, compile their files. They have resources and they have reach, and they are not short of will. Remember that one involving State ads.
Now, I point to Village Councils, and other arms under the umbrella of Regional Democratic Councils. They have been gutted or reengineered, so that only the Government’s way of thinking, mode of operations, and self-serving, controlling agendas take hold, become the acceptable standard. The record is of this repeating itself in rural opposition communities across the administrative regions, and in the remote Amerindian areas. It is the either the PPP way or the PPP handpicked agents, or it is no way at all. The rights of indigenous peoples are of interest worldwide, and with people who raise hell when those rights are violated.
Further, most clearheaded Guyanese have their conclusions about the Guyana Police Force, and the state to which it has been brought. All eyes are now on the judiciary in this march towards creeping totalitarianism, (addressed before). In a swift recap: media, democratic organs, dissonant citizens, law enforcement, and the judiciary to come have all been degraded, with significant institutional segments left unaddressed. The picture is not appealing, does not reassure.
As quick departure, the PPP leadership, and its single-headed brain bank may comfort themselves that because party and government are all for American oil interests, that they have transformed into sacred cows and holy bulls. I recall Forbes Burnham erring similarly. Of conspicuous note is how gingerly the Opposition has articulated its oil narrative. I discern a local political group presenting itself as a more viable alternative for the Guyanese people, with a careful bow to American interests.
With all this as context-the overflowing proofs of the PPP Government and its leadership to steamroll all in their path, coerce all to their whims, and tyrannically control the whole domestic roost-I come to this place. It is my belief, my position, that the more these machinations come to light, the more foreign entities are likely to make funding arrangements for Guyanese rightfully and properly dissenting from the norm, raising their hands and voices in spirited confrontation. This happened during the reign of the PNC. Take heed.
This mad, crude quest for total control, total silence, and total acquiescence will backfire and blowback. Rejection of its ways will only grow stronger; resistance to its visions gain more traction. Western organizations exist for this very purpose, and they have what it takes. Activists will benefit. The PPP will have a fit. A bigger, unusual, one. It either adjusts, or seriously risks weakening itself.