by GHK Lall
The West Indian composer of that song said it best with those lyrics that can still electrify: “yuh ain’t nuttin but ah teazah, ah dirty, dirty teazah…” I am so energized that I am thinking I should have gone out and formed my own political party and joined the fun. Because that is what most of these newcomers embody: the catchy, rhythmic lines from that pulsating song. They are also about fun in the sun when they announced that they were going to run.
At the beginning, I kept largely quiet, if only to give the benefit of the doubt and a hearing. This was due to them; it was fair and appropriate. There was some faint, guarded hope. Hope that they were serious and deep. Hope that they were different and could contribute on a principled and comprehensive basis. Hope that they could be spoilers and icebreakers and change agents for the good of the greater public. Well, that hope has largely dissipated and, now, how quickly, and along with it, all the chatter about the priority of the national interest.
In a mere matter of less than a calendar quarter, perhaps as little as a few scant weeks, they are in disarray, split at the seams, and generally falling apart in an undignified and disheveled heap. Perhaps, that was where they belonged, in a heap of a certain kind that the Old Testament — those harsher, blunter translations from earlier — condemned the erring; it had something to do with dung. The newcomers just can’t get their act together.
Already, they are tangling up themselves and falling over their feet and flat on their faces in one revealing sprawl after another. Truth be told, with what has unfolded in this camp and that one, they couldn’t tell their elbow from that other covered part of the anatomy, except that with the developments it is no longer clothed, but shiny with a bright nakedness, like that of a newborn. And that is how they emerge now, as newborn babes in the woods and out of their depth.
Some are scrambling around for partners, some can’t even get people to receive them and accommodate them, and some just can’t get their story straight, and when they think that they have put out persuasive ones, nobody falls for the patented inanities that are hand-delivered to the Guyanese voter. I am uncertain and loathe to go near to one of the newest announcements, but I must essay a gentle lob, if only to caution: do not test the intelligence of the fickle Guyanese populace.
I would think that given the publicity hullabaloo and fanfare over local elections and (parliamentary) criterion relative to who is a Guyanese and who is eligible to compete, that all contestants would—should—have known from the beginning that they have to reconsider, since they were going against the tide, and the settled; it is an offshoot of the no-confidence fiasco. I would also think that individuals would be most familiar rather early that they have a restraining, negating factor that inhibits the kind of participation envisioned. Thus, I believe that it is more than what is shared and stuffed down the voters’ throats. Like I said, there is more to it, and disappointment from those who may have considered casting a supporting lot on March 2nd.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that citizens went about this elections business half-awake, half-dressed, and half-assed. Now, during this week, there is going to be this spate of behind-the-scenes dramas of who wants to marry whom (looks like a ‘sweet man’/‘sweet woman’ arrangement) to me) and who is seeking lodgings under any roof that they can find. This is the stark reality in electoral arrivederci land; it is a barren space. By Friday, January 17th, that territory would become even more desolate. In view of what we know today, I assert that any votes ventured in the direction of the new people would now amount to a wasted ballot. It would have been better to not turn up, or deliberately create a spoilt ballot, or exercise the franchise to favor one of the two big, bad, mad dogs.
On another note, I am asking myself this question: if there was no oil, would the new people be anywhere on the political and elections horizon? To ask and answer, I would say that easily more than half of them would be on the sidelines and silent and disengaged. So, if the oil is the determining element (to get near to it), I am compelled to conclude that they were positioning for their own enriching dip in the gravy train, once they did mislead and get past the Guyanese voters. In effect, there would have been an extension of the PNC and PPP, and all their still suspect and, still unanswered, financial dealings across the board.
As I reflect on all of this, there is a sense of regret; regret that the very new, the relatively young, the supposedly fresh wave of the future have mostly petered out to this bedraggled, distressed bunch that now has very little by way of believability, and less of traction or momentum. It was good, while it lasted, despite inner pings of concern about character, about authenticity, and about durability. Well, it is back to the tried and the troubling and the torturing. Those two majors must be having a field day.
Like the singer cried: yuh ain’t nuttin but ah teazah, ah dirty, dirty teazah….” And on this occasion, it is the implications of the song and not the singer.
Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.