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OPINION: Inclusion in Guyana who has it right, who is deceiving

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 September 2023, 16:44 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

So, who is having a memory lapse, who is having a ‘senior moment’, and who is plain outright fabricating what went on in the meeting between officials of the PPP Government and US Congressman’s Hakeem Jeffries’ delegation?  The PPP Government side said that inclusion never came up in the discussions.  The Minority Leader in the US House of Representatives, Mr. Jeffries, said that inclusion was very much part of the exchanges.

Look, these are distinguished people on both sides of this issue about inclusion.  It is difficult, therefore, to rush to the conclusion that somebody from either side is deliberately lying about discussions on inclusion.  Or that somebody in one of the delegations is stretching the truth, seeking political mileage.  To get to the bottom, I pull back the curtains, and peer behind it.

Congressman Jeffries has been hearing it from his constituents, feeling consistent pressure, which prompted him to meet with the PPP Government.  There was one issue that just had to be at the top of the agenda.  INCLUSION.  This is what his voters have been clamoring for, pressing him about: the severe economic plights and distresses of Guyanese, especially African Guyana in this oil rich paradise.  Some in his group may have harbored ideas about oil and gas opportunities in Guyana, but inclusion and sharing in the economic pie was all that mattered.  To pound home this point, if there was only one item up for discussion, then it had to be inclusion.

Thus, for the Guyana Government to insist that inclusion was not a part of the proceedings flies in the face of reason, logic, and commonsense.  Why else would Congressman Jeffries prioritize meeting with the PPP Government?  Surely, it could not have been to find work for available truck drivers in Brooklyn, or nurses who wished to be among those to be imported by the PPP Government?  Now, the US Congressman could be suffering from slippage himself, but doubts register.  For when I contemplate certain behaviors of the PPP Government and its brass, to deny that inclusion never came up makes some sense.

First, I offer the following examples in support.  Claims of serial predations and crimes in Guyana under the PPP Government’s hand doesn’t agitate it at all, generates dismissive responses.  Point to corruption and the PPP Government, party, and vocal leadership could care less.  They know the people don’t care about corruption, no matter the magnitude.  It wouldn’t topple the PPP Government from power; it is too firmly riveted.  From the PPP’s perspective, the noises about multibillion dollar corruptions in cash handouts and contracts matter for nought, will diminish.  The mindset is why bother, for the PNC cannot do anything about it.  It is an adorable strategy.

Regarding contentions about poor governance, as in unclean and unmatched for incompetence, the PPP does not break out into a cold sweat.  Leaders and the cabals of insiders are well aware that the group is in the driver’s seat, and there is comfort in that old rhyme: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’  This is the reality of Guyana, highlights the limitations of what is hurled at the PPP Government about incompetence and its range of failures.  In other words, if that is the best, the PPP will continue with the rest.

Then, there is the one about leadership relationships, accumulations, and crimes.  Those are all nonstarters, for look at where things stand today.  The first defense is where is the evidence; the second is that citizens with a special partisan flair have stuffed their ears with cement, which has effectively closed their minds.  Permanently.  To put it differently, to point to leadership vileness and nakedness in the PPP Government is the equivalent of water on a duck’s back.  No traction.  No house cleaning.  No alarms.

But the mere mention, one whisper, about inclusion and everyone in the PPP machinery springs to attention.  Inclusion, as in lack of it, inspires statistics, comparisons to what the PNC did, reminders about how many non-Indian people the President hugged, how many pictures are there as proofs, and how many dusky faces there are in the PPP space.  The problem about non-inclusion, economic exclusion, social rejection, and racial damnation is that it stirs more than local passions, attracts sharp external attention.  The more the PPP strives to suppress such non-inclusion narratives, the louder the volume, the farther the reverberations.  This is what drove Congressman Jeffries to take a peek.  And this is what the PPP Government’s people pretend to forget to remember.

The cat is out of the bag, many of them.  Discrimination.  Marginalization.  Inequity in distribution.  And there is that word that the PPP dreads the most.  It begins with an ‘a’ and it once flourished in a place called South Africa.  Now the Congressman is booking his ticket to GT.  President and PPP Government has a hard choice: turn their backs on him.  Or give him the best spin.  The trouble with that is that there is a whole brigade of people who are going to line up and let the delegation know what their travails and traumas have been, and who is responsible.  Their experience has been of what ostracizes, pulverizes, demonizes, criminalizes.  I should know, and I am not Black.

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September 2023