By GHK Lall
There has been a sporadic drumbeat relative to some mechanism for shared governance as the way forward. I offer a high-level view, as to why this is the only measure that facilitates some movement out of the political and racial gutter. I now identify some of the pluses and disadvantages of such a shared apparatus, whatever shape it takes.
First, the negatives. I foresee this as being displeasing to the hardliners, extremists, and racial purists; in some instances, those overlap; in others they are mutually exclusive. For it is unpardonable sacrilege to be made to share with the dreadful, despised other. Minds are that distorted here.
Second, there is less to spread around to the victorious, partisan waiting. Meaning, that though there is the same number of patronage plums (jobs, contracts, housing, land, scholarships, and so forth), sharing leads to where the divisor is larger, hence the resulting rewards for the expectant (and demanding) loyalist are lower; or not at all.
Third, this makes for unhappy supporters, and more of them in total. They are not accustomed to being denied. After all, the primary objective of the game (effort, intensity, association) is to collect, and by the bank vault. Waiting (or receiving less) is not acceptable.
Fourth, the disappointed bigots and fundamentalists find ways to undermine and upend, to the detriment of the greater good, any possible future upside.
On the other hand, there are the pluses which, by being ignored and discarded, have been lost, in the haze of what could have been.
To begin with, there is the sense of mental, emotional, and psychological stake and ownership in governance. There is no value that could be placed on the racial and social goodwill that comes from broad involvement in such a condition. Doing otherwise and expecting otherwise is a fool’s game; a sorry, decimating one: No energy; no spirit; no support. For incremental marginalization (real or exaggerated) in time transforms into settled exclusion (alleged or experienced).
Next, reciprocal trust would still be in short supply, thus there is keenness in monitoring new partners for the known trickeries associated with the self-help of the personally and politically tawdry. Brother’s keeper, it is called. Or to put still differently: two cats watching and guarding the same milk. In sum, there is less room for sinister (and suspected) Fifth Columnists to function. As opposed to indifference and malaise, and waiting to condemn, there is obligation to make the vision work. Stakeholders’ interests.
Moreover, a derivative effect of such vigilance in the boardrooms of awards and trenches of execution is the integrity of process, and quality of delivery. Recall: everybody has meat in the soup. Therefore, the age-old laments of failures, biases, and generalized political and bureaucratic skullduggery should ease. To manage expectations, this is the best-case situation seeped in some degree of pragmatism, reasonableness, and allowance for human nature; neither perfection nor eradication of ills. People will be people.
Later, and though shrugged off unwisely through the years, because major projects are delivered cleanly (hopefully) the accumulated debt burden is lessened, along with future per capita tax burdens. This society could experience some semblance of that rare state: real value for money. Instead of harping and condemning ad infinitum of who is incompetent, who is slack (teef), and who is unfairly favored, that same energy and focus is now redirected to coordinated stewardship.
Further, the waiting for tangible forward progress could be shorter. This country could find footing. It has been on its knees (if not face) always. Even further, all the proposals decried and fought bitterly over, should experience some improved level of consultation and partnership.
Trickledown effects could include improvements in local content competencies; corruption index; meritocracy; social ambience; and political stability. A divided house hurts; just look back. Coherent, cooperative approach to crime, oil (OIL!!!), racial reconciling and healing, among many other bitterly divisive issues. Instead of waiting to ambush any developments from whichever government, there is participation and contribution to process and products. Arguably, a shared governance mindset enables substantive constitutional movement; has not happened in any single-party governance era. Never in the best interests or priorities of governors.
I readily admit that this paints a shiny picture. I make accommodation for sabotage by: 1) the dejected; 2) the new coalition of official crooks; 3) warring political seniors. Here is the bottom line: Guyana and Guyanese can’t go lower and slower than both are currently; country and countrymen can’t be worse off. There is nothing remotely resembling the scientific or logical in the preceding thoughts and articulations. Only the wisdom of commonsense and practicality. Of political columns and crossbeams aligned, if only temporarily.
Otherwise, it is the conflicts of the usual political Catch-22. You win; I lose. And with all the accompanying harms and ugliness. Negatives are quantitative: felt immediately and where it hurts; positives are qualitative and slower in emerging. The benefits are more enduring, distinctively broader; less sickeningly partisan; more constructively national. I see this as more about Guyana, and grievously wounded Guyanese.
I substitute “Guyana” in Augustine’s long-ago tribute to Jerusalem, if only to instill something sacred in leaders and citizens: Guyana with my heart stretching out in longing for it, Guyana my country, Guyana my mother. It has only functioned as the wickedest stepmother in the last half century plus.
Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.