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OPINION: I call upon President Granger to change course, to lead from the front

by GHK Lall

I refer to the caption, “Mottley says, ‘it is clear that there are forces that do not want to see the votes recounted’” (SN March 18). I think all right-thinking Guyana should applaud the Honorable Mia Mottley for stepping forward to share her thoughts and speak her mind. That her message comes across clearly and unambiguously, despite the restraints of diplomatic verbiage, speaks to the level of disgust and alarm with the disreputable overtures that have taken hold here.

However looked at, “forces” is not a euphemism. It has all the bluntness and bludgeoning sweep and power of a battleaxe wielded angrily. Ms. Mottley is angry. I am angry and disturbed that we can even think of some of the shenanigans and outrages that rule the roost of electoral evils. And that is what is reigning here now: electoral evils. Whenever extremists and hardliners seize control of vision and underlying strategy, then only tragedy ensues. I can only foresee terrible traumas ahead.

For what we have at work are these “forces” committed dangerously and unwisely to what reeks of political fundamentalism: it has to be us. I have always hated with a passion anything related to the prejudicial and the partisan. This is what prevails here now, what powers the next steps, the narrative, the mindsets: we have to win, by any means and at all costs. That is supposed to be good, very good, for them. But what is alluring and empowering and enriching for them would be traumatic and tragic and immeasurably impoverishing for us.

There is only one side currently at which the fierce assertions are directed. And that is the coalition. While there are solid and unmoving suspicions and contentions by both sides of what took place at the hands of the other side in almost all of the administrative regions contested, those are as irrelevant as they are meaningless at this specific point. I say this because what is before us is a word given through an agreement that binds towards opening of those boxes and starting a recounting process. The clashing claims and counters could have followed after that pass had been scaled, through whatever mechanism deployed. But word was given and signature was attached to observing a process overseen by regional agents. That has fallen apart in most dismaying circumstances.

The president is not looking well in any of this. But no matter how poorly he appears, he has to take responsibility. He must resume control. Of course, the concern and problem take on a different light, if what has emerged is his thinking and vision and strategies being implemented at the tactical level by those Machiavellian “forces” which are being blamed, perhaps incorrectly, for each new circumstantial atrocity. For these are nothing but atrocities, and this is by the most benign of standards. I seem to recall that, at Nuremberg, the favored fallback defense and excuse of the field marshal—foot soldiers—unlucky to be apprehended was that they were only following orders.

Whether this is happening or not at the local level in this now most unresolvable of Guyanese elections, the bottom line is this: all roads, all responsibility, all attention point to and lead right back to President David Granger. Even if the political and racial fundamentalists have hijacked the process, Mr. Granger has to step forward and restore some semblance of authority and credibility to what may no longer be called a process, but an outright perversity. In fact, I would dare to say an unending series of such.

Time is running out; and so, too, are the smidgens of patience and understandings and tolerances for what has surfaced and succeeds in seizing and sullying, beyond repair possibly, what started out fairly well, but is now doomed to contradiction and confrontation. It is the worst of places and the worst of times for this country. It has—had—the remarkable positive of oil at its fingertips. That is now severely buffeted by market descent, and dissipating before our eyes, and still political insanity overwhelms. All the talk about we are a nation of laws and not men are now put before the most demanding of tests. What will it be? And which will our controlling leadership be at this perilous crossroads at which they—and us—are precariously positioned?

At this time when there is a potentially existential crisis presented through the confirmed arrival of COVID-19 in our consciousness and everyday realities, we are scrambling for some form of authoritative and cohesive response. We are paralyzed by and prostrate before our electoral burdens and to which we keep heaping more of the untenable and calamitous.

It is at this time, we have to show what we really stand for, and how we are at the core. It starts with sagacious and the most responsible degree of leadership: ethical leadership, moral leadership, transformational leadership. I say, without hesitation, without quibbling, without fear: this starts with President David Arthur Granger. He must embody and epitomize the best of what this hard and fateful hour now demands.

I humbly and respectfully call upon President Granger to take control, to change course, to let the chips come out as they should, wherever and however they surface. Ms. Mia Mottley has manifested the honorable. So, too, must we. It begins with His Excellency.

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