OPINION: The state of the State

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2022, 19:30 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

Because of the time of year, I do my best to be about peace and goodwill to all men.  Though many may find this hard to swallow, even at my sharpest, there are those two strains embedded.  Indeed, it is despite how things are, the way men with power have transformed for the worse, and how the environment has deteriorated to the decayed.  Yet there is always that grasping for what should be, if only those in charge could find it in themselves to be.  Different.  Honest.  Humble.  For the people, not just themselves and their own.  History has taught us that camouflages only last so long before they rupture and expose.  Reality confirms that there is the discontented and surly, and they are many.  If only there would be a bit of listening, some little adjustments, there is no telling where things could lead, where Guyana ends up.  In the spirit of the season, I will try to be gentler than usual.  It is the ideal of the kabbalah, Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

We have a President who no longer looks in the mirror and sees a son of God.  He has reached that stage of hubris where he beholds the gods as his children.  If this is the assessment of thinking about the divine, then it is left to the imagination as to what are his conclusions about Guyanese.  Especially those who sin by crossing his path.  At times like those, a certain odor comes out of the nation’s leader and, to put it sweetly, it is neither the aroma of Calvin Klein nor Ralph Lauren.  Out of concern for the presidency, the man, and his people, I say this differently: there is no need for the pungency of hostility.  When we take ourselves this seriously publicly, it really is a mask for private agony.  Yessir, matters are not as they are drummed into the heads of citizens, including those who adore the President.  Guyanese are not that dumb.  Never were, ever will be. Passive, yes; daft, no sir.  I urge rethinking and restarting.  Pinpricks have a way of accumulating, then flaring into inflammation.  I recommend to this brother: Be really and truly a president for all the people.  Not just those who tell what is desired to be heard.  Democracy, that is not.

There is the other leader, such a master of the hula hoop he has become, that even the Hawaiians look on in envy.  The Vice President goes round and round, while standing in the exact same place.  This can’t be natural resources management, and the former president knows that.  When stories are straight, there is absolutely no call for these leadership gyrations.  The problem is that he is too far gone to turn back now, too up to his elbows in intrigues for his energies to be harnessed, let alone be rechanneled.  My comment is simple: farce fancied up with fanfare is still farce when the show is over.  Even his own people who chuckle for the cameras, cringe when the lights are turned off.

The more I looked at politics in Guyana during this year of high and low, the more I saw low political entertainment from those perched at the peaks of national governance.  Both the adored President and the revered Vice President say that all Guyanese will benefit from their oil wealth.  I have this little offering to my fellow citizens: remember Epimenides Cretan paradox.  There may be some truth to that, but the issue of dispute is who counts in their definition and vision of ‘all’ and by how much, if at all.  Oil has its majesty, but it also has quite a history of being a Pandora’s Box for the too clever, or the too hearing impaired.

I took stock of the Opposition.  For it to be a genuine one, it has to minimize the opposition within to get anywhere.  The outlook is hazy.  If the Opposition is ever able to muster and project any muscle, it must get its mind in order.  Meaning, that it must be of one mind.  I would reach out to the government, and should that fail, then the door is open to other approaches.  As this is offered, there is appreciation that the mighty Americans must be appeased, but not at the risk of so many Guyanese utterly displeased.  Surely, they are not going to send troops here to teach the natives some manners.  Then again, when it is business interests that are under siege, then America conveniently forgets its platitudes about democracy and self-determination, and the rights of man, dog, and whatever.

On the nonpolitical (a contradiction in itself) front, the commercial kings had a most wonderful year.  I refuse to degrade by labeling anyone Herod or Barabbas during this season.  Or even Hitler, like the magnificently named Pakistani Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did.  There is no objection in observing a clique of Guyanese making money in astronomical sums as our contractors and comrades did.  But the pharisee in me must ask about those people dismissed to their palm trees, and those in the remote areas who are manipulated and made into pawns and puppets.  The former group is stereotyped as lacking in law abiding instincts, while the originals are seen as simple, if not subservient.  If this is the best version of ‘One Guyana’ then I have to restart my entire education, revisit every experience.

In all this, I looked for a few shepherds and prophets.  The ones I encounter are false; sheep in Armani suits and wolves wearing Rolexes.  I believe God gave Guyana oil, and then God gave up on Guyanese.  It may be the worst of times for many in these the best of times.  Still, I encourage all to dig deep and never give up.  Make the best of the moment, however rough it is, turns out to be.  The human spirit is indomitable.  My very best to all.  My all and my one is 750,000 Guyanese.