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OPINION: No faith in elections, prefer the material over leadership magic

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 September 2022, 9:40 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

Please ask the LAPOP group to return so I can add my name and vote to that 65% that expressed a preference for substance over a pivotal aspect in the political system that has repeatedly failed this country.  Elections have failed abjectly, materials make the day, affords a way to another day, likely better ones.  I could do without politicians, the kind that we have had here.  It is where I stand.

I say this again: I will not be voting a third time, not ever again; and it is as good a guarantee as I can give.  Embedded in this decision is all that can be articulated by any honest citizen, or kept to oneself by those Guyanese who make a living on what elections have come to signify in Guyana.  To put mildly, they are dirty, rotten, stinking affairs, bringing out the true nature of Guyanese.  We still live with it in the highways and byways of daily life here in every nook and through every nincompoop who prattle about free and fair and democracy, and all that self-reassuring hogwash.  I think SN’s editorial dated September 18th made this point in much tidier and more palatable (‘abstract’) language.

For elections have degenerated in this country, perhaps from the inception, into nothing but race wars, and pitched battles, proving nothing, achieving nothing.  That is, other than deepening and perpetuating our national sickness and tragedy.  Count me out, comrades.  Though older, I am with the younger in that there is this distrust, this disconnect, and this disowning, of what we have for a system and process to decide on who and what become the crucial decisionmakers and gamechangers for the next half decade.  Unlike my fellow Guyanese, my stomach is only good for so much elections garbage, the human sewage, that results, both in and out of office.  My position is simple and all selfish: show me the money.  I’ll take it, thanks.

It does not have to be in actual cash, but in works that are truly national, and far less of the communal and tribal gift giving that have characterized the post-elections environment.  I don’t need anyone to tell me that elections, like war, is a spoils system.  But if there is a spoils system that I will favor, actually endorse, then it will always be one that is national in vision, in scope, and in the delivery of what is substantive (material) across the board.  In view of our prejudices, and endless quarreling, over who is favored, and who is targeted for subjugation, I think that I am on good grounds when I say that elections are never really over in Guyana, but we live and relive them day after day, without missing a single 24-hour span to stick it to the next chap, whether winner or loser.

I have to be stone stupid, or chronically delusional, to vest any faith in such a product.  Given my own rough passage in life, it is better to treat myself to something more civilized, more reflective of ordinary wisdom, and to what represents the promise of genuine reform leading to definite results.  At least, those that make a difference where they matter: in the mind, in the piggybank, in the possible standard of peace and ambience experienced.  Even as I recognize the well-publicized constitutional reform efforts of the Hon. Attorney General, an officer who diminishes each time that he comes forth with his dramas, and the thankless endeavors of well-regarded electoral reform group(s), I still grapple with the how we deal with the Komodo dragon around in the local space.  Its head is Indian and its tail is Black.  Or vice-versa, take a number.  Lash, bash, mash, and trash.  Either way we turn, each aspect of our possibly new and improved elections anatomy comes right back and down to this horrid racial beast.

It should be obvious that a lot of faith went down the drain, and the footing has traveled and faltered along the slippery regarding the national future of a homeland not as beloved as before.  This is where chronic skin diseases lead.  They refocus the mind.  We cannot build towards anything, when elections have become the alpha and omega of our national existence and vision.  Elections represent amnesia, nostalgia, and hysteria.  It is of what is preferred to be forgotten (but never dies), what is longed for (but can’t happen), and what we live with (but can’t manage).  I regret that the raw American in me has to come out, but I will take the money.  Every other Guyanese can have their elections, and continue to enjoy themselves in such fruitless pursuits.  Something tells me that we will eventually pay the bitterest price for our failures, our arrogance, and our stupidity.

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September 2022