OPINION: The new leader hitting the right tones from the get-go

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 December 2021, 17:20 by Denis Chabrol

By GHK Lall

For those Guyanese who were searching long and hard for a satisfying Christmas gift, they just got one.  It is a strange one, indeed, as gifts are concerned, but one which should have lasting meaning and still greater benefits, if what was said comes to pass, as in delivered for a sustained period.

“We will confront them.”  Those were the sharp, strong, and searing words of new PNC Leader, Mr. Aubrey Norton.  He went further in saying that he and his party will not allow the PPP Government and its leaders to set up the conditions to rob this country.  I don’t know how many other Guyanese are comforted by this early warning broadside from Mr. Norton, but I was; it was what I wanted to hear from somebody in this country, some leader.  It was his first address earlier in the last week, and I happen to hear him speaking.  I was impressed by the controlled and tempered manner of his presentation.  It may interest others that I have never heard the current parliamentary Leader of the Opposition speak, nor the one before him in the PPP.

But what I heard was clear and of the kind of resonance that this society has not had since August of last year from anyone in the main opposition.  There has been barely a whimper, if that.  It is why, therefore, I look upon Mr. Norton’s initial salvo as PNC leader as a fresh breath, and one that is much needed, given the damaging rampages of the PPP Government, under the twin monstrosities which is the presidency and vice presidency have become, as well as the antics and shenanigans of their host of ministerial collaborators.  Nobody has gotten into their faces; none has gotten in their way to halt their strides that trample upon the hopes and aspirations of expectant citizens.  I think Mr. Norton has signaled in the most encouraging terms where he stands and how he intends to go about the responsibilities placed on his head and in his hands.

I look forward to see if and when he makes good on his commitments, what I interpret to be immovable positions of he and his party.  I believe that he has been given a clear mandate by his comrades, and that he will neither deceive them nor disappoint them.  In short, I sense that he will deliver.  Guyanese need something like this, someone of this spirit to lay things on the line, and say that these are the expectations, these must be the standards, and otherwise they must not be.

For too long, the Vice President, Guyana’s real leader, has made a mockery of country and people, with what can only be described as tricks, sleights of hand, and one oil sham after another.  It is not the way to deal with the nation’s patrimony, not the manner in which any leader should run roughshod over a poor, largely trusting society.  It is time that this utter (confounded) nonsense stops.  I say the quicker the better.

Like the hit song from The Police said in its title, “I’ll be watching you.”  That is, I am watching, paying keen attention to what new leader, Aubrey Norton, says and does.  Every move he makes, I plan on watching him.  For, in him, I detect someone of the strength of will and purpose to make a difference.  To take things where they have not been taken before with this oil, and to make a start by calling them as he sees them, and where they are.

I think that, by his words, he sees them as I do.  For this is what he said in his maiden speech as the new leader: “we have to put an end to this kleptocracy; we cannot allow the resources of this country to be siphoned off by a corrupt PPP cabal.”  I am as one with him here, as I have long seen the PPP as a bunch of bandits in suits, the worst of white-collar criminals, saying the right words, like well-practiced conmen, but always ripping the heart out of their victims.  By their actions, the PPP in today’s government have done exactly that, which is tearing the spirit out of hopeful Guyanese.

I must be clear: I could very well end up disagreeing and disliking intensely what Mr. Norton turns out to be, in the sum of his leadership.  But on what he said with this oil wealth of ours, I am as one with him.  For what we have here is a band of political robber barons, and their fattened fraud-infested cronies in the private sector.

Mr. Norton also took the time to articulate an unmistakable warning: “we put the PPP on notice.” He then went further in what I interpret to be the ominous: “we expect you to respond to the will of the Guyanese people or we will act politically.”  Whatever that means (“we will act politically”) all are now aware.  It is that the free passage and good times of a docile opposition are over.  And that the taking for granted that the main opposition will rollover and go along for the ride are now both things of the past.

As I absorb all this, I am heartened, because I think that PPP  criminal cabal has lied, misled, and played games with Guyanese, while making utter fools of them.  It was time for this to stop.  And I think what I heard indicated that the new clock set by the new leader of the PNC is ticking and loudly.  It is simple: do this oil thing (and other aspects of governance) right, and we can be partners, maybe friends.  Do it another way, and deal with what follows, and be warned that it will not be pretty.

As a Christmas and New Year’s present all rolled into one, Guyanese could not have asked for anything better.  Now Mr. Aubrey Norton must make good on his stirring words.