OPINION: A growing military bureaucratic complex

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 January 2020, 11:00 by Writer

by GHK Lall

There is increasing concern for that which is taking shape in this society.  Taking shape runs the risk of some understatement, as foundation, superstructure, and roof are all in place, and poised to experience reinforcements.  For in 2017 Guyana, there is already something of an aberration in operation, and an oxymoron in clashing encroaching stride; and if it is neither of these, then there is a specter in flesh and blood, and fatigues, too.  I am talking about a bureaucratic junta, a goose-stepping civilian junta in military clothing on the march.

This one is all counted and accounted for in the records and SOPs (remember those?).  There is no use of force; everything is by the book, except there is no palpable text, no precedent, only a reputed apocryphal version.  My position is clear: there is some need for this colonels club; but not this legion of consuls and widening phalanx of generals.  In a big, affluent, settled society, there is space, even embrace for them.  But not in this small, suspicious, easily incited, and (still) poor place.  This edgy, divided realm does not possess the capacity of resiliency, or the sturdiness of objectivity, to accommodate so many so quickly, and with such relentless consistency.

Again, and from my view only, I see room for them at Civil Defense, Civil Aviation, anti-narcotics oversight, and Office of the President.  Since the president himself is formerly from the General Staff, I can understand his inner circle of advisers hailing from that rarefied echelon, that fraternal military pantheon.  Thereafter, I must draw a line in the clear Guyanese mud: no more except in critical areas.  As said earlier, this society has neither the digestive system nor the nervous system to absorb so many with eagle and star insignias swooping at low altitudes, and invading civilian airspace; or to greet any more of the brigade lined up in expectant waiting regimental formation.

From all the evidence and announcements, this has progressed beyond the night of the generals; it is their day also.  Some believe that this could be-and ought to be-an unfolding glorious age of them.  Time should be the best judge of how glorious (or far from such) are these knights of the green table; that same one over there in that inner green room.

Separately, though not unrelatedly, this influx of military migrants impairs and skews advertising, screening, shortlisting, interviewing, selecting, and appointing processes and standards.  Truth be told, a mockery is made of the marched upon and stealthily mined HR management field of operations.  What used to be a demilitarized zone is now a highly contested, let it be said, theater of war.  In some respects, HR management is now reduced to warring operations (believed unfair) where Geneva Conventions on personnel matters do not apply.  Some highly qualified casualties bear marks of neglect, official mishandling, and arbitrary mutilation.  Unsurprisingly, premeditation in selection points to a damning prearrangement in appointment.  This is past the stage of going through the motions; it is at the level of acute motion sickness.

Now citizens are complaining of seasickness; this one is.  Thus, I venture to urge the administration to agree to a halt to the ongoing mobilization and surgical insertions.  It should be clear that a numerical and psychological Rubicon has been breached.  I salute what these veterans bring: harsh unyielding discipline; single minded focus; probable strategic sight and tactical touch; and dedication to duty.  Yet I say: enough is enough.