OPINION: Mayor Narine, would inspire to discern identical civic fury, similar offiical efficiency

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 December 2022, 7:46 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

I am disappointed at my brother, His Worship, Pandit Ubraj Narine, Mayor of Georgetown.  His choice of subjects, and the way he went about his delivery left much to be desired.  My position on discriminatory practices by the PPP Government is well-known, needs no reintroduction, speaks its own volumes.  Relative to Mayor Narine, his frontal assault, through his choice of words, did not represent the soundest judgment, I would argue too little judgment, if any.  Nevertheless, it is pleasing that Mayor Narine apologized immediately and unreservedly.

Having said this unambiguously, I look at the reactions that the mayor brought on his head, his spirituality, his citizenship, and his right to continuing official existence.  Of course, there were the reflexive fusing of the mayor to the PNC, and all of the negatives that it has come to embody, or be perceived to embody, in this country.  To date, there have been salvos of scorn.  There have been branding and dismissing of the man.  There has been a stream of frenzied rage, righteous indignation, and holy outpourings of distaste, denunciation, and outright damnation.  I read some, listened to others, absorbed it all.  My first conclusion is that Guyanese are a bunch of people on the right track; a people compelled to being first-class citizens, and doing their level best to speak out against palpable wrongs, set high standards, and from which there is no deviation.

It is wonderful.  It is lovely.  It is inspiring.  Then, I recalled a couple of other things, and I asked myself whether those going after Mayor Narine are not overdoing things by a country mile, are not engaging in a production for the record, are not pantomimes in a cast of thousands performing on the public stage.  In other words, it is that the same people bashing the mayor are not the worst of unreconstructed hypocrites, through their identification and maintenance of a double standard that reeks, however charitably viewed.  Consider.

A man assaulted a daughter of Guyana (a sister under the skin, a citizen as equal as any of us), and all that the media had for outrage from men and women was conspicuous silence, a great calm sea of indifference.  The same ones now hollering for fire and brimstone on Ubraj Narine’s head (many times his scalp) were afflicted with laryngitis then when the Bush Lot matter made the rounds.  Perhaps, because the oil and moneymaking consume so much of their attention span, that woman brutally beaten down escaped being a priority.  Perhaps, due to some of the old, ugly politics of Guyana, that felony allowed a man to board a plane without a finger lifted by an agent of the State to delay his passage.  And without a voice from daily life raised to insist that it was criminal and that the injured and humiliated woman is entitled to the same justice that is due to every Guyanese.  To my knowledge, the alleged perpetrator, Ossie Rogers, is recognized as a friend of the PPP Government and its controllers.  I suppose that affords immunity from the law, and a free pass; or the gentlest of disapproving hands from the critics.

What applies to Mayor Narine, must also apply with equal vigor, comparable fury, and parallel stridency to the batterer of the woman of Bush Lot.  Maybe, it is a family matter, and best handled in the manner that friends deal with these things.  After all, what is a little beatdown, like the Mighty Sparrow use to sing.  He said it was a peculiar expression of love.  Where, my fellow upset and enraged Guyanese, was the love then?  Not partisan love for the alleged perp, but the victim?  Where were the women ministers, and the other women now waging war on Ubraj Narine?  And as an aside, I must wonder what the reaction would be if a PNC parliamentarian were to mention that word of an instrument (a certain kind of toy) beginning with the letter ‘d.’  I can hear the reverberations: goon, hooligan, crazed, and so on and so forth.

Still further, one cannot help but observe where all these vociferous and vehement upstanding Guyanese of truth and justice were when a man was shot like a dog in his bed, with his wife next to him.  Thank God, she is still around to speak to truth, and to derail any of the usual business of ‘fear for life’ and ‘suspicion of a weapon.’  For dead women, just like dead men, also tell no tales that shatter settled sagas of what went down, and how things should stay.  I would be encouraged if there are citizens-conscientious, consistent, and of character-who vent wrath, take a stand, and stand for right, regardless of Indian or Black, or PPP or PNC.  It continues to be a huge personal disappointment.

On another note, in the circumstances triggered by Mayor Narine, I am impressed by the efficiency of the Guyana Police Force (and its unnamed advisers).  DPP Office?  Attorney General Office?  Office of the President or PM?  Never have I seen such speed, such rigor, and such burning zeal to move on and slap an erring citizen down.  Like I said -impressive.  And, as if not to be left out of the party, there was the army delivering the coup de grace, in what I call ‘dishonorable discharge’ of former Staff Sergeant Narine.  My God!  we do get things done in spades when minds are put to it.  I salute this overwhelming application of power at the source of problems, a la Colin Powell, this declaration of total war on the mayor.

Where was the police brass and its advisers in all those suspicious killings and less bloody incidents involving abuse against women?  Where did efficiency and the scales of justice tumble?  And what about the baying mob after the blood of Ubraj Narine?  If these are not the highest hypocrisies and double standards at the official and civic level, then this is the Garden of Eden.