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OPINION: David Granger “allows too many crass venal comrades to besmirch his visions for a clean Guyana”

by GHK Lall

As I continue my self-appointed role as Granger watcher, I confess to uncharacteristic uncertainty, traces of hesitancy.  There is much to dissect, more to parse; and even after those, I find myself coming up short and wondering. Perhaps I am analyzing too much, thinking too much.

A start is made at revisiting the elusive elements of a figure, still mysterious after three years at the head.  I take a gander at the man by focusing on him through three areas: politician, leader, ethical presence. It is best to begin in reverse order; it brings the positive and praiseworthy.  David Granger as ethical presence is a gemstone amidst the choking weeds and thorns of Guyanese stewardship. Rare, priceless, unprecedented are some of the descriptions which I easily attach to this aspect of his role.  There is a problem. The surrounding weeds and thorns are so widespread as to obscure the lonely gleam of his efforts, if not negate almost entirely his worth. To be ethical in this country is like Horatio on the bridge: last man standing before the inevitability of falling, and eventual dismembering.  I think that this is where the president stands, in spite of his most valiant endeavors, his heartfelt commitment. Ethics and ethical people in this country has as much use to Guyanese as water to the Dutch. It is considered undesirable, threatening, and dangerous. So we continue to descend and decay from every height and all sides.  Things now get bleaker.

As a leader I find President Granger perplexing.  At first blush, this may not be such a terrible thing.  I recall most of his predecessors, with emphasis on more recent ones, and the curses come fluently.  And I abandoned that degrading weakness decades ago. Aside from polite muted swearing, the best I can summon when recalling past leaders is distaste.  On this leadership score, Mr. Granger does not do too well, and for some not dissimilar reasons as the chiefs who went before. Friendships, baggage, betrayers, plunderers (most times one and the same) have to be separated from and publicly dismissed and damned.  Easy to say, easy to write. I know, too, that this is textbook, perhaps corporate, sometimes obvious, and even absolutely necessary. Except that it is not politics. It is not the realpolitik of down home, deep-down, decadent Guyana. This has been injurious to the leadership profile of the president.  Truth be told, Mr. Granger has lost so much face in this sensitive area, through the well-known notoriety of bosom comrades, that his countenance is that of a year-round omelet. There is that much egg on the leader’s visage due to the cravenness of colleagues and trusted ones, exuberant patriots all. As the leader, Mr. Granger has not made the hard hammer-like decisions.  The regular beat goes on: same rhythm, new dancers, old sport; and the same story just as old. Nothing has changed under the lush revealing Guyanese sky. I humbly recommend that the president seriously reconsider his live and let live attitude. It drags him down; he allows too many crass venal comrades to besmirch his visions for a clean Guyana. It is gutter and sewerage down there.  All of this hurts us too.

In terms of being a politician, my assessment is simple: now that his feet are soaked, Mr. Granger wishes that he was somewhere else; that he abhors the less noble elements so intrinsic to this calling, which is so irresistible to others.  He does not do too well here; uneasily waits the head for the next hat to rest. A crown of spikes, it is; and as he has discovered to his chagrin: poisoned, too. Take a close look and it is clear that Mr. Granger is neither operator nor glad-hander nor propagandizer nor monger or dealmaker nor nutcracker (interpreted anatomically).  Yet he is around and now appears determined to stay the course. He is just what he is and somewhat contented. For some unfathomable reasons this is enabling to his candidacy, though imperiling to his presidency; and deleterious to his legacy. He persists.

Perhaps these things do not matter to His Excellency.  But they do to those few who long for a principled progressive Guyana.  I hope that Mr. Granger’s gatekeepers will be honest enough and bold enough to share this with him.  It might register (again) how the conscientious on the outside perceive him and prompt the interest to take some remedial action through iron-hard stances.

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October 2018