by GHK Lall
As I prepare to exercise the franchise in the fast approaching elections, I share with fellow Guyanese for which group my vote is to be cast and why. I do this publicly, before all, whether those of like electoral mind, those who stand on either side of the fence, or those on the fence.
My elections choice has nothing to do with oil; pays scant regard to the soapy promises embedded in glossy manifestoes and violates racial voting taboos. It is not influenced by who has lambasted their political opponents more accurately, more piercingly, or more ingeniously. It is not based on who has recruited and let loose the greatest number of the loudest, most raucous public parrots pretending at intellectual analysis, political cunning, or the inhuman insights of spiritualists.
Though most of those have their places of honor in this country, they matter not to me. This is because they all fade rapidly before what is special and uppermost to me. I think they are best articulated in a handful of questions that have extraordinary significance for me. They should mean something outside the ordinary for those who place emphasis and priority on such elements. Here are the questions as I survey the voting horizon, consider the possibilities, and envision the future.
First, who to believe? Second, who to trust? Third, in whom to have enough confidence to cast my precious vote to favor? When these are sifted and sorted through, these are the objectives of my thinking: which leader holds the keys to the way forward? A peaceable, positive, upbuilding way that is suffused with an inclusive, diverse future? Which one of them surges ahead and why?
For me, this is where all roads, amidst the cacophonies, lead. This is where (and for whom) that fateful, sometimes vastly troubling, decision and mark of an “X” lead to and mean in essence for me. Today, I would have preferred not to dwell on character and ethics or the moral and transformational; but I must. My choice has nothing to do with race; I wish I could be moved to vote for the one new group, more the person, that I find appealing: that would be the former speaker. But I think that would be a wasted vote, given my assessment of probability of success; the others flay about and flatter to deceive.
My choice and my “X” have all to do with who has what it takes—deeply and genuinely within—to be more and do more for what is good and needed. It is about which group, through its leader, is of the contemplations and visions that are of citizen and country, all of them and all of it respectively. And here is the crux: and intends (repeat: intends) to fulfill. It is less of the group and more of the man at the head. The one with the caliber and calling to view citizen and country not only as votes for self-empowering and self-enriching; but to see both as a sacred trust to be handled and cared for in the best traditions of prudence and an all-encompassing wisdom.
I do not think, I am unable to perceive, that the opposition possesses any such leadership elements. I am of the view that the sitting government—warts and all, weaknesses and all, and woes and all—does have in its leader, what is required. This leader or the other could arguably have better management or political skills. But they matter for naught, if the sinews of truth and character and caring for the people were historically lacking and are still palpably absent. Because if the configurations of personal, political, and national character are not there, then there is nothing. All the grand plans wither and die on the vine, because they hold only tainted, poisoned promise. The last thing that this country needs now is a craven opportunist pretending at being a born-again reformist, though remaining an incorrigible recidivist.
Pardon me, but I do not believe anything that seeks to portray honesty and integrity, as such originates from the opposition; its leadership ranks have zero credibility. I believe that the coalition intends to deliver on some — some — of the promises made by its leader. If I am wrong about the man, then this society is doomed. I take this stand for the man (hence my “X”) because I sense that the man himself stands for something different, comrades notwithstanding, lack of flair and fury and fullness of self notwithstanding. I detect that he stands for God and family and country; and if a man does not have those things, then for what does he exist? Unlike opponents, and rather ironically, the man from the PNC does not have the dark ambitions, the incomparable viciousness and vindictiveness present elsewhere.
These are non-negotiable things on which I am unwavering. Like I said earlier, this is not about political savvy and glorious manifestoes (Mao and Stalin had them in spades); it is about what is at the core of the political creature.
At the end of it all, matters condense to this: who do I believe? Who do I think could deliver in the heats of things to come? I say Mr. Granger.
Mr. GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.