By GHK Lall
With each new development and every passing hour, it seems that we are heading down the slipperiest of slopes through counting down to some form of national catastrophe. The international arbiters have begun to depart from us, as our own senses signal that they, too, have left us. I submit this because of the following reasons.
From my perspective, a national recount offers the opportunity to start fresh and clear away, to some extent, the disputes and debris that have blocked any forward movement. At the very least, it succeeds in clearing the air of some of the fog and haze that have prevailed with intensifying passions and immovable thickness since March 2nd. Yet, whenever I think that there is an opening for a way out of the murky and tangled impasses, there are these reality checks of court orders that inhibit rising from the swamp, if not from the dead realm in which this nation has taken up full-time residence. These tactical maneuvers are jarring and rock back on the heels—at least to me. They leave us in a worse position than before, and with dwindling options.
Still, I sense a vision imbued with recklessness that knows no bounds, and a corresponding determination to push ahead and cast aside the repeated cautions, if not increasingly ominous and menacing language, of powerful foreign powers. It as if there is daring into the unpromising, to see what reception will follow, while willing to pay the consequences that could swiftly come. I think that this is the height of miscalculation and patented foolishness. This country would be crippled, and this is thinking of mild or limited repercussions only.
Country might be an abstraction and anachronism for leaders and supporters. But it involves many trapped souls, who would experience the brunt of the fallout from any pressure applied; it could come from many fronts, and through an array of strokes that would definitely paralyze movement towards progressing. I take the time to remind those paying attention that the world is different today. It is not the decades of the mid-20th century; there is more emphasis on observance and fidelity to democratic norms and operating within broadly-accepted standards and practices. Today, there is little by way of condoning, through the old wink and nod charade, or old time distancing. The international reach is long and wide and deep. This society could be made to pay a harsh price for the misjudgments of its leaders.
Already, the US has upped the ante and in no uncertain terms. Objections to the manner in which matters have started out and unfolded in the local arena from the ambassadorial level. Things then progressed where a ranking official with hemispheric responsibility went public to utter grave concerns in strong, but still muted, language that certain courses of action should neither be thought of nor implemented on the electoral ground. It would seem that those repeated, but still careful, urgings have fallen on deaf ears.
Well, now no less a personage that, Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, took to the air to “warn of serious consequences for elections fraudsters here” (SN, March 17). If anybody is listening, that warning is as blunt and clear as any could be. Nevertheless, I have to believe that all of this is water on a duck’s back as far as current local leadership is concerned. I say that is asking for the hammer to fall, and it will.
We cannot go on like this; we would be unable to function beyond the barest minimum, with prosperity a forlorn hope, with what could come down the pike. Currently, at a time of serious national alarm over COVID-19, this country is suspended over a kind of no man’s land. It operates in an environment and reality that may be charitably termed as limited government. When we need a guiding hand, a strong and comforting presence, we are prostrate though division and inaction. Look carefully, and the leading figures in the public health sector are either absent or silent. They are too preoccupied with more pressing matters to be bothered to give the time of day to what may already be a national emergency.
And yet daring men tempt the gods. The problem is that their hard fall usually means a harder landing for us caught in the middle.
Mr GHK Lall is a Guyanese author, columnist and former financial analyst on Wall Street.