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OPINION: A coalescing of foreign positions, with Americans in front

by GHK Lall

As I read of different utterings at different times from the foreigners, my sense is that there is a continuing shift in the wind.  It is steadily stronger in one direction only.  I would advise all, especially coalition leaders, to pay attention, to read carefully the messages being transmitted, within the limited confines of diplomatic speak.  There should be no misunderstanding as to where all roads converge.

The word from the Americans is consistent: transparent and credible, it must be.  I regret the decision of GECOM to not agree to the former during yesterday’s deliberations for live streaming; it would have gone a long way to clear the air by shining some light. No matter how blurred, I would have found this acceptable, if not most conducive to the long sought-after credible process.  To decide not to live stream is to lend more darkness to already existing darkness.  That is not a good decision; I do not welcome it.

Though I do not know in the least the now banished Returning Officer for Region 4, what he essayed left conscientious coalition voters appalled and sullied.  I was and still am.  There can be no repeat, in any fashion or to any degree, of the same.  I say this despite swirling contentions and misgivings about like chicanery in several other regions, this time by opposition operators.

The Americans have made crystal clear their position.  I am confident that the resident ambassador’s-Her Excellency, Ms. Sarah Ann Lynch-secure conversations and cables would buttress my thinking if they were to be made public today.  So, too, would those of ranking embassy officials here, and those within the hierarchy of the State Department at Foggy Bottom.  There is nothing remotely foggy about what has flowed, on more than a couple of occasions, from the official responsible for matters in this hemisphere.  Mr. Kozak is a senior man, with much weight and a voice that carries far and high.  That would be upward to Mr. Pompeo, who has shared his own positions in the most unmistakable, but still careful diplomatic, terms employed between friendly nations.

To take this to the highest rung up the American political ladder, I have to end up at the White House.  The incumbent chief executive, in spite of some on and off lapses in concentration, believes that he has a working partner in Mr. Putin, that together they can move things along.  I say this because I am pondering how and where the thorny concerns resident in Venezuela would finalize.  I make this reference, because no sitting Republican Administration (along with a partnering and controlling senate) would want to attract the stigma of “losing” Venezuela; there is the fearsome specter of losing a lot of Latin America later.  That is a mantle and monopoly of Democratic leaders, best left untouched.

To shed some light on this, I mention President Reagan and his inner circle that stuck with Ferdinand Marcos (and his political operator of a spouse) to the bitter end, because the great fear was of communist governance.  This was counter to the positions and advisories coming from powerful men in state, the Manila Embassy, and American media.  As I consider it, Guyana’s coalition government possesses few, if any, such allies at this time.  Further, Guyana does not house military bases on its territory.  Even further, the main opposition has been remarkably quiet about communist leanings and relationships for some time now.  I acknowledge that it is a well-choreographed presentation, which may have been found endearing by Americans based here with official ties to Washington.

All of this may be found highly persuasive by the Americans as they probe for a satisfying way out of the sticky and tricky Guyanese mud and gutter.  The coalition can deliver its own convincing dance card for this big local show, but on one condition only.  It must first recognize that the world has changed, with more emphasis on human rights, democratic rights, and the right to govern from a process that gives grounds on which to stand and support.  Those grounds must be clean and credible; they must be open and visible.  They must be about substance and not the endlessly farcical formulations that trigger creeping impatience and foster increasing distrust.  That is where many thinking and ethical Guyanese stand.  It is where I stand.

For the last time: the recount process has to be transparent and credible.  The foreigners are adamant.  That writing is on the wall and noticeably clear.  From the reports shared with me, I understand that a highly placed European Union official took it upon himself to get that identical message across (yet again) in recent radio program.  The way I know it, the diplomatic community does not operate in isolation; there is a fraternity (maybe sorority) there.  I think the message from the chorus was delivered.  Do this thing right.  There are not many more bites of the apple left.  Move on.  Get it over.