Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 10:50 by Denis Chabrol
by GHK Lall
A scan of SN’s May 19th frontpage turned up two gems. They confirm how lost our main political groups are, and how distant from reality are the leaders of those groups; their credibility, never above average to begin with, takes yet another dive to the bottom. Instead of being about a ‘can-do’ attitude’ that powers the paramountcy of what is good for this country, there is this chronic reliance by party and leadership on foreign resolutions.
The first caption was: “Harmon complains to international agencies over mangrove destruction.” The Opposition Leader complains to outsiders too much, does too little of anything else. Is this what makes the Opposition Leader pause and prioritize astutely? As something that is a safe subject, he cannot be faulted; but in so doing, he chases after fleas and carrions, while leaving unaddressed the areas that cry out for vigorous representation, but get nothing but silence and indifference. This is now the norm, the damaging truths of a one-party state, and a one-man government. When the Opposition and its leader should be everywhere, at least somewhere, they are nowhere, other than for those things that leave it in prim and self-satisfying contentment.
The Opposition group and Opposition Leader should be pressuring the big dogs in the PPP government on the big-ticket items, and not be occupied with putting out distracting fires. As important as the environment is, this is not the best use of the Opposition Leader’s time, the most commendable structuring of his priorities. Instead, the Opposition Leader must justify his existence by getting in the face of a president and Vice President bent on destroying Guyana’s prospects in just about every arena, while being arrogant enough and swaggering enough to justify their devastations. That is, when they do get around to bother with an expression or an engagement.
The main Opposition Leader (is there one?) cannot lead by proxy, in this state that is of a sleepwalker at best, the comatose, at worst. I am appalled that the Opposition Leader is content to sit on his laurels and leave alone whatever the PPP leadership dismissively delivers to his party, his people, and the people of Guyana. Surely, there has to be some shame, some level of political pride, if none of the personal remains. And just as surely, Guyana’s Leader f the Opposition cannot be comfortable with sitting back and accepting whatever figures and reports originate from Exxon about what is happening with Guyana’s oil production, gas flaring, and this country‘s oil prospects. Nobody knows squat about what Exxon does out there when it operates exclusively on its own; the company is perceived in some quarters as not being an honest ‘box-hand’ partner. Any Opposition Leader of standing must confront the dodgy leaders of this PPP government, who smartly go along with any offal that Exxon delivers in their laps. The pressure is not being applied by the opposition on the government. As examples, I submit COVID-19 dangers, gas to shore, Cotton Tree, and police interference; in these areas, the opposition and its leader(s) have been bleary-eyed, hollow-voiced, weak-kneed, and MIA. Because of shame or apathy, supporters and citizens have not sounded the alarm, have refrained from sending an ‘SOS.’
As for the PPP government, the second title, “PPP rejects criticism of electoral reform project” told its own story of a set of helpless political puppies, a group that is so beholden to foreign minds and foreign dictates, that it, too, is content to prostrate itself before outside dominance. For the PPP, it was first the USSR, and today, in a complete turnaround, it is with this sordid partnership with the West. Ironically, today the West is not on trial; it is for selling to, surrendering to, and slobbering beneath in pathetic obeisance.
In an area such as electoral reform, where the approach should stand as the very embodiment of local content creativity and wisdom, the foundations and almost all of the architecture are erected by foreigners. And what kind of foreigners! Anytime that we believe that the IMF and World Bank have the interests of Guyana uppermost, then we are more than mentally deficient. We are intellectually depraved. And, when on something as visceral as electoral reform, our first and foremost dependence for guidance is on outsiders, then we not only have a government and people that admit openly that we cannot think for ourselves, but we also tender that we do not trust ourselves, we have no regard for each other, and we have no confidence that we can achieve anything substantial on our own.
When it is convenient and self-serving, the PPP government takes the high road to pontificate about how we can and must do things on our own. Regarding our vulgar, self-destructive electoral intimacies (ugly to the soul), they refuse to abide by the same standard, and kneel readily before the altar of foreign charity. It is best that we patch our own wounds, struggle to find lasting remedies. This once, let us show the world that we can stand on our own feet, we have the courage to forage for remedies, forge ahead, and be proud of the results. Homegrown and thoroughly locally fertilized.