By Paul Sanders – New York, July 2020
In the beginning was the word. The writing was on the wall.
Scribbled by the PPP after its downfall, the APNU-AFC followed the script of self-destruct; conceptualized and orchestrated its own demise. From the very day of its inauguration.
How stupid can that be? A collaboration that was forged to dismantle the crookish and kleptocratic practices of the PPP became the very monster it was supposed to demolish. A partnership that was meant to lift the working class out of the mayhem of poverty became an affliction on the backs of the ordinary man.
How did that happen? Short story: the coalition went into overdrive, underwriting their own unseating.
You’d think the APNU-AFC would’ve chosen to be a part of the solution. Like they were mandated to do. Instead, they became part of the problem. They decided wisely to perpetuate the sleaze of 23 years of the PPP. Giving their ministers a fat, hefty raise just in the aftermath of the PPP’s loss was the initial blow to the people’s confidence. Bluntly speaking, that money heist was about self reward, self-aggrandizement; its connotation: these new leaders were up to no damn good. Their reaction to the public outrage was a classical “go frock yourself” attitude. And so, like the PPP’s anti-people behavior, the fallout began. Not bad for a legacy inherited from the PPP, huh?
What a con. Guyanese were confident that the country was going to make a comeback; that they were gonna feel the winds of change. Instead, they got “Mingoed” into an exchange.
Think about it. A country that was dead broke found money to enrich its ministers but couldn’t initiate any sensible program to alleviate the suffering of the masses. It was the first telltale signal that Guyana was going to be business as usual. In other words, in maintaining the status quo, the APNU-AFC was going to follow the same iniquitous path of the PPP. In the grand scheme of trampling upon the rural sugar workers, the APNU-AFC emulated the PPP by exacting the same blow: closure of sugar estates followed by massive layoffs and zero alternative except alcoholism, murder and suicide.
One of the most salient aspects of this symbiosis is the dirty business of Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton. The scandal surrounding the drug bond affair had all the nostalgia of the good days of PPP’s gangsterism. The controversy is a template from the narco state’s playbook of corruption. Ironically, it was the PPP as opposition watchdog that exposed Dr. Norton’s alleged malfeasance. Nice. Reminisce setting a thief to catch a thief a lil bit. It’ll come to you.
In their charade of hunting down the bandits of the PPP’s regime, the APNU-AFC developed SARU and SOCU – a special unit of accounting sicarios to go after the looters of state resources. The coalition spent tons of money in foresenic audits, probes and investigations and front page headlines. How did that go? How many people were convicted? The answer is that these sharp shooters didn’t want to shoot straight.
It’s the darnest of stories. Here’s why: Corruption runs deep in the Guyanese tradition; it’s in the national DNA. Understanding the vicissitudes of lawlessness is the way to go; it’s shrewd business acumen. So why are the presumed criminals carrying on, living la vida loca; guilty of nothing, not guilty as not charged? Well, that is not a question. Immunity flouts law and order, reinforced by the pretense of inadequacy and incompetence to be the maxim for the privileged.
The coalition had no compunctions whatsoever. Too dumb to comprehend the dynamics of the local government elections that went to the PPP in 2018, the APNU-AFC failed to analyze their failures and continued to tie themselves on positions that alienate the grassroots people. Complacent with political myopia, they were too blind to see the impending No Confidence vote of December 2018; too arrogant to observe that the PPP had already inhabited their blindspot.
Of course. Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP were all over the country agitating, given the increasing disapproval at the APNU-AFC’s performance – and reconnecting with the East Indian base. There was a discernible cause-and-effect political strategy here with enough astute Burnham/PNC/28 years of dictatorship demonization meant to forment a backlash. Because most Guyanese who supported the coalition in 2015 are so pissed at them for botching up the great opportunity to fix the country. The socio-economic situation made the PPP relevant all over again. The PPP was making a comeback.
The strategy worked. On March 02, the past overcame the present. For all the good reasons – and bad reasons, Guyana made a major ideological realignment of the electorate, viewed the failures of the APNU-AFC as the catalyst for change, and voted for the PPP. Yes, the vanguard party of working class that led a hooligan revolution was back in the forefront.
It was inevitable, however. Guyana remains one of the main wonders of political tautology. And you’d think it ends there.
But there was Mingo. Clairmont Mingo, a Returning Officer became a one-man reality freak show when he declared inflated numbers to give the APNU-AFC a victory. Poor Mingo. He had no idea that his chicanery was gonna open up a can of worms.
And so the racism kept crawling out and overflowed as the days advanced. Exalted as the controversy sharpened; the APNU-AFC perfected the art of foot-dragging; and racism became a matter of style and emphasis. Abrasive rhetoric and outrageous, relentless hardcore thoughts populated social media.
Yes, they were there- the vile Indo “Apaan Jaat” revivalists as well as the lunatic energy of the APNU-AFC supporters, branding their racism; advocating racist adventurism impervious to the reality. The pandemic that kept people out of work provided ample playtime for Indo and Afro Guyanese to amplify, magnify and rage their racism. Every racist was in his element, shamelessly making his point, transmuting his humanity into sludge. And when English wasn’t sufficient a language to propagate hate, then the good ole creole patwah was deployed for its sting. Its decadence and efficacy went viral.
But racism wasn’t the only main feature during the impasse. The invention of the absurd; the stonewalling and intelluctualization of bullshit; the legal maneuvering and frivlous litigations; the massive mobilization of supporters and the loyd, raw, erroneous assertions of “sovereignty” via insolent manners; the cavalier attitude toward the international community were all part of the vast APNU-AFC’s conspiracy to hold the nation hostage.
The ransom payment came in the form of worldwide condemnation. The announcement of visa restrictions and sanctions against the rulers and their families was frightening. Yet, the APNU-AFC held on. They deployed their best propagandists, noise makers to shore up relations. It just kept boomeranging.
Something had to give. So after a 5 month ordeal, it came crashing down on the APNU-AFC.
Like Donald Ramotar, Irfaan Ali has tip-toed his way to the presidency. Like Donald Ramotar. Irfaan Ali has the equivalence of a known unknown in the realm of political superintendence and charisma. He has been called out for questionable academic qualifications and his sudden rise to affluence during his tenure as Minister of Housing under the PPP.
And while the elections imbroglio raged on, it was clear that attorney at law Anil Mohabir was a warrior. This guy rocked. Tirelessly, he pushed back at every stupidity initiated by the APNU-AFC. He worked the courts; he worked the streets; he worked the media.
In every way, Anil Mohabir was presidential. But in Guyana, being presidential and being president are distinct identities.
In the meantime, it’s a well deserved vacation for the people of Guyana. History is knocking on the doors. Guyana has a shot at being the finest it could ever be. Again!