OPINION: Aubrey Norton developments: bad for him, the opposition, Guyana

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2024, 21:21 by Writer

by GHK Lall

I thought that the Opposition Leader, Mr. Aubrey Norton, had seized the high ground and was in the clear. Wrong on both counts. The first was based on his 90 second audio-video, the second on the response of the alleged victim, which I read, but hadn’t seen. My understanding is that the video lends emotional power to the verbal representations made by Ms. Kissoon. In aggregate, Mr. Norton is on the ropes, and all tangled up in those coils. This is bad for him, worse for Guyana’s main opposition, and unimaginably worst for Guyana itself. If I were a decisionmaker in the PPP Government, there is no better opportunity to call an election right now. Meaning, within 90 days, for the possibilities of winning may never be better, even with a year of unchecked power being sacrificed. Give up one to get five (or four) more.

I thought from his audio-video that Mr. Norton came out swinging and knocked his accuser(s) flat on the behind. I thought also that the social media post that he was addressing in a most forthright was one of those vile products for which his political opponents outside the party has gained a repulsive reputation. Lo and behold, it was not from the PPP cavemen hiding in social media back alleys, but one of his own comrades, former or otherwise. Things are so strange in this town that even the PPP (the revelations and back and forth notwithstanding) is championing Mr. Norton as the best man to lead the opposition. The questions for me are simple: what is in it for the PPP Government and leadership, that Mr. Norton is held in this positive light that he is cheered as the best man around? Could this be a continuation of the PPP’s low regard for women, as based on the party’s own record of mishandling matters related to the dignity of women and their rights, when similar accusations against their own surfaced? Why even race out of the starting gate to be embroiled in the Norton-Kissoon development? How come this is not used as fodder to fuel the animosities that never cease to rage? Is Mr. Norton as opposition leader seen as a pushover? If this is not the strangest of societies, it is nothing but a severely sick one. But back to Mr. Norton.

Especially interesting for me was his frank, unequivocal, and straight ahead dealing with the issues of alleged sexual overtures, male power expression, and all the frightening elements that could be gleaned from his recording. It was particularly helpful to hear his invitation – if not challenge – to Mr. Solomon and Ms. Kissoon to speak up and speak out on the matter that put him in a new light and looked like a political assassin of lethal finality. In other words, he is felled by the accusation, and there would be no rising, only the beginning of the end.

Little did I know (and, perhaps, in his estimation) that a sharp and searing rebuttal was on the way at rocketing speed. Now Ms. Kissoon’s response has just flung open the door on a storm of disbelief, ridicule, disgust, and some considerable cloudiness on Mr. Norton’s head. He does not have the option to stand down now. He must lay his cards on the table, steel his muscles for war, and go down fighting. Or rise above his circumstances somehow untainted. To do otherwise, would be to invite all manner of speculations and conclusions, none of them in his favor. However this unfolds, it is going to have a most unhappy ending. I believe that Mr. Norton has been dealt a savage blow, if not a mortal one, politically speaking. Based on Ms. Kissoon’s representations, win, lose, or draw, the Opposition Leader has a shadow that will now hang over his head. What are his options? Deny, then deny some more? Insist that the matter in the vehicle, as alleged, was make-believe? Claim that it was a hypothetical scenario with no mischief nor malevolence intended? Regardless of how this develops, this is bad for him. No matter how this is shaken off, or survived, it is my view that some damage has been done.

Worse still, a political opposition that is hurt by infighting now must face up to whispers about its leader, its standards, and its rightness to be a contender in the national power equation, and even more as a possible leader in national matters going forward. With respect to the aspirants for national leadership, their time, such as it may be, is not now. And, at the low end of the political spectrum, this country is now faced with the grim prospect of its major opposition in disarray, and the pathway for increasing PPP dominance now taking on a greater inevitability. The PPP’s machinery is formidable; even an untouched, strong Aubrey Norton had his work cut out to mount a truly effective challenge to the party. Now with a friendly boosting hand from the PPP corner, my thinking is whether he is being fattened for later deflation. That is, during national election wars, when all the poisons and madness of Guyana flare uncontrollably.

Having said all this, Mr. Aubrey Norton, the citizen who stands accused of wrongdoing, is due every protection that is afforded under the law. He is also due the same courtesy that I have extended to others in their time of distress. It is extended.