Internet Radio

OPINION: To political aspirants who hedge and delay: count the cost

by GHK Lall

I observe the behaviors of one new contestant or another in the run-up to elections, and there is much that is incomprehensible, so much that is of the undesirable and the distasteful, to put things mildly. From studied antics to forced last-minute decisions and delayed announcements, there is worrying as what the future holds. They throw the public a bone to see if that will allow to get by.

They want to compete in the elections, and that is welcomed. They come with the glowing and the arresting, but that is all they are able to get right. Some of them can’t get their stories straight, or their timings right; already they speak with forked tongues. Those forks have numerous prongs, all sure to deceive further.

First, there is the matter of citizenship, with ongoing questions as to who actually did relinquish completely versus who held on to it on the side and on the sly. If outright falsehoods are uttered from day one, then the outlook as to presence and promise is most discouraging, very grim. Because when candor and truth are fractionalized, then I submit that there are only scattered fragments left. Fragments about authenticity of intent, immaculacy of objectives, and cleanliness of character. It always comes down to character, for if that is straight and honorable, then these asinine games about what is surrendered, and when, and to whom, and where things stand, do not arise. They are all put to bed and with finality.

Second, and not unrelated, there is word circulating of who has good reason to maintain foreign citizenship. I say that is not an overnight development nor an overnight consideration. The wise and practical would measure the pros and cons, and if and when it becomes clear that serving the motherland conflicts with personal circumstances, then the latter comes first; the personal transcends the national. There is nothing wrong about that; it is merely the product of commonsense, of what is responsible, and of what is expected of men, who harbored interests in leading. If that is handled poorly, then there is only fooling of self; and stretching oneself too thin in a vain effort to serve two masters. It would not work, for there is bound to be falling short.

As an aside, I left here to return in ten years to give back. I was woefully wrong, as I had underestimated my readiness to be able to do so by twenty-one years. I had failed to account properly and totally for what was involved. And I was not aiming for the heights, such as the National Assembly or State House, but for the routines and demands of the invisible, inconsequential trenches. The point is simple: men and women—whether possessing dual citizenship or only local one—must count the cost and have a most comprehensive idea beforehand of the associated demands of the endeavor being embarked upon, with all of its sacrifices, setbacks, and heartaches. Trust me on this one: they are there by the busload.

So when I see men venturing forth to lead this land somewhere, I ask that if a true awareness of what is encompassed is not present, then where is the required depth of studying, breadth of thinking, and height of planning for that which is national in scope. Clearly, it is lacking; for what we have been presented with are only the self-serving commercials, the seductive soundbites, and the usual songs and dances from the minds and mouths of the uncertain, the unacceptable, and the unbelievable. It is disappointing that men would dare to think that the Guyanese masses are so gullible, so backward, so cheap, as to fall for their continuing farces.

I think of this: across this globe in most civilized nations, when a man steps up to stand as head-of-state or to serve as national lawmaker, then his whole life story, complete with the positive ingredients (and hopefully no bothersome deficits), becomes public property. It is better if he had no secrets and, particularly, those that were craftily withheld; if there were those, the recommendation is to come clean with them upfront. Yet in this awful place, men arrive on horseback to ride over us like so many plantation overseers, while only giving us part of their stories, the part found attractive and sales-worthy.

It is a lamebrained and tangle-footed way of addressing this calling for morally-transformational leadership, ethically-clean governance, and exemplifying what is needed here and what will be delivered, come hell or high water, including force majeures, acts of God, and circumstances unseen and unimagined. If not, it is the same ugly, dirty, sickly that has inflicted so much damage here and appears to be gathering momentum to do so again. That kind of individual madness was there before, now the oil has only exacerbated the storms battering heads.

I submit that we have enough political scoundrels here, we do not need any more. I have interest and use only for those who exemplify what stand as genuine articles, real patriots, clean leadership prospects. Comes down to one word: trust.

Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.