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OPINION: Elections 2020 CoI—good in itself, but what lies beyond?

Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2022, 11:59 by Writer

by GHK Lall

We are gearing up for a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on our 2020 elections. Everyone says that they want one, but I am doubtful that all would be excited about the outcome(s). As much as we will be reopening old wounds, and creating new ones, I am all for a CoI. But only one that has terms of reference, the kind of scope, that peers in many corners, examines all players, identifies all wrongdoers, and tables all openings on the way forward. Again, I am unpersuaded that this is where matters will reach.
If there is even passing listening to recollections and convictions of that damaging 2020 elections season, one thing becomes apparent immediately. It is the contention that the other side cheated, but not the people on the side making such a claim. I could go down this road for a while, but the point should register deeply enough. My point is simple: in this town, there are no innocents on most matters of importance. Certainly, not on elections, which have always stood as the passport to plunder the public treasury for five years, while reassuring the citizenry that no such thing is ever taking place. Or that if it does, it is to benefit those being robbed, but deceived in the process.

As much as we desire to get to the bottom of the 2020 elections and related shenanigans, I ask myself if the texture of the lining of our stomachs is tough enough to absorb the truths about the last elections specifically, and elections as a whole in this country. I return to the possible scope (ToR) of the CoI, if it is expansive enough, and opens the door widely enough to drill down deeply enough, then I guarantee that we are not going to like what comes up about what brings us down during these worst of nationally savaging times. For, as I view matters relative to elections, any one of them, what the thorough and competent post-mortems of them are bound to reveal is the ugly reality, the harrowing truths, about each one of us. This is whether we voted or not; or whether we never wrote a word, or never stood up to utter a sentence, in defense of, or support for, one side or the other. This is what it distils to—one side or the other; the rest are mere shadows on the national stage. Conspirators, sometimes; pretenders, most of the time; nothing, but bit players all the time.

The rawness of our elections is the rancidness and acute illness of this society. It is not temporary. Inevitably, any elections inquiry boils down, and flares up, into PPP and PNC. Automatically, that leads to Indian and African. This is what we will get, and I don’t care how well the final language is nuanced. Such sweetness always fails to diminish our racial bitterness; or pointing to a way out of the quicksand that trap us, bog us down. Without intending, I just reduced this upcoming CoI to the heart of its essences in two words: racial bitterness. That is, racial hatred, racial barbarousness, racial weakness, and all of those racial visions of racial supremacy. I challenge anyone from now: peel back the layers of testimony when done, and the documentation when officially over and reported, and this is where all truths reside. It speaks to me and you, all of us. Remember: there are no innocents, no outsiders, no exceptions. On this, I am absolute.

It is why there is cheating, and its fertile sister named claims of cheating. It is why men cheat before a single clean vote is cast, why they trick on the day itself, and how they continue to justify ever after. The claims and counterclaims have been tiring, lack any ring of appealing duration where helping this nation extract itself from the gutter is concerned. The truth is that we linger there, and found that we like it. A few stalwarts keep trying to bring some honesty, integrity, dignity to this process but are blanketed out by those hearing only their own drums and trumpets. So, we persist going down the same road, without regard for the prices of the ongoing self-destructions.

Still, I think we can get a little from this CoI. If there is possibly something to be had from this CoI, we could use its scorching, limited, fruitful and fruitless, conclusions to lead us forward to what we really need. But we must be frank with ourselves that what we insist on leaning upon don’t do us any good, other than to keep the racial pot boiling at fever pitch. What we need is a basis, a starting point, a launching pad to get to that place about learning from one another, understanding one another, and then reconciling with every other. It is less of who did wrong and who did more of it, but of how we can do right with more of us for such an uphill fight. But first there has to be a sober and tempered meeting of minds about if such is really part of our visions. I have some hesitation as to whether we are capable of such demands on our well dug in, well-set positions. If not, we go nowhere, no matter how well, how much this CoI does for us.

I am guarded as to whether we really want something like that, meaning, if we ever did about reconciling and unifying, besides talking from one side of our mouths about those. At bottom, a CoI must do more than furnish fodder for more blaming. It must have as its sole objective taking to higher ground, never traveled before higher ground. In Guyana’s Age of Oil, we cut the ground from under our feet, when we remain such committed enemies. Oil should be our glue, our catalyst, our energizer. But it can’t be, not when elections are our unraveling. The CoI may lay bare that, but what after?

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June 2022