by GHK Lall
“Step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.” That’s what His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew announced that he was going to do. In these politically disinfected and perfumed times, that’s the sweet syrupy version of what went down last week. I believe this royal rogue was “fired” by his mother. I really have little patience and less interest for the antics of the rich and useless, who live off other people. But I am prompted to use this development as context and say: if from Buckingham Palace why not State House? If from over there, why not here and from every house with a voter inside? Just fire all of them and let’s start from scratch.
First, I humbly recommend that the president go public with his own discontent (the supporting platitudes can be safely ignored) and fire comrades and squaddies, who have let him down, while betraying oath and nation. I have said this before. Of course, there will be no firing, but I had to get that out of the system. By the same token, I suggest that the cohort of qualified people still left in the opposition band together and give the tip of the boot to those two in the forefront, who are busy palavering and making utter fools of themselves, and a whole army of supporters. Now who is fooling whom? For truth be told, that, too, is not going to happen. With approximately 40,000 Venezuelans expected next year things around here are making a start towards looking and sounding like Kuwait. And from my perspective, I foresee untold numbers from that same source flooding here in short order; I don’t mean ten years hence, but in less than five. Get ready, Guyana!
Now, enough with the venting already. Did I just say that – I must be losing my mind and going native? Anyhow, since the good people, who vote for mainly the PNC and PPP (don’t worry with the other partners) are unmoving from their known positions, then something has to give, or it is the same old, sad story repeated: more of the same, the unchanging nature of change, as defined here in Guyana in 20 year cycles. Having said this, I would like to believe that there are 20,000 Guyanese somewhere out there, who say they know to read and write, which means they possess some degree of understanding, however minute that may be. I extend the benefit of the doubt, though I am braced for news after March 2 that brings the opposite.
It is because I think that, with such a small number (around 5% of the eligible electorate, depending on whose list is final) of supposedly disgusted and outraged Guyanese voters, the basis for wedge politics could be laid. Admittedly, it would be tiny, but with the appropriate degree of resolve (no coalition, as I have heard, but which I have trouble with) this could represent the small beginnings that point and reconfigure the future along different lines. But do we have 20,000 Guyanese, who would bite the bullet and abandon their settled racial voting comforts? To ask and answer: I say, no!
In the interest of openness, and using myself as an example, in 2015 I voted for the first time. As a first-time voter (anywhere) I did not vote along the usual race-centric patterns, but for the PNC. This was what it is at the bottom, isn’t it? In 2020, come March 2nd, if I do venture to vote again, I do not see any reason why I should vote for other than the PNC. Other than ANUG, I have not been presented with a sufficiency of persuasions that my paltry electoral contribution would be well-spent by going another route.
I recognize that I open myself to a number of charges, but so be it. I think that, as much as I would like to do what Queen Elizabeth did and fire this government, I recoil from the mere thought of the main fallback option. And to repeat my earlier contention, I do not believe that the others have the quality of character (most of this country lacks it), or credibility of objectives for me to be otherwise.
Last, I think that this government is due one more chance, because of the moral leadership I sense that it possesses.
In a wiser, more issue-oriented society, in a place where the people and leadership were less tribally obsessed (with power, too) I think the whole kit and kaboodle would have been banished to some remote Siberian wasteland.
Unfortunately, nobody is getting fired here: not government ministers, not opposition leadership, not the band of crass political hustlers waiting for their turn at the trough. Just business as usual, including what follows after March 2. Good luck! Guyana.
Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.