OPINION: Nigel Hughes is right: there are no laws, but there are other laws….

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 July 2024, 11:24 by Writer

by GHK Lall

“Nigel Hughes says no law prevents him from representing Exxon while leading AFC” (KN, July 03). I agree. Without looking at a single line on a single page in any single chapter of the laws of Guyana, I wholeheartedly agree with my brother, C.A. Nigel Hughes. But I disagree with him. Not just in passing and superficially, but most strenuously. I regret that I find myself in this position; I would have preferred that his own position on his representation of Exxon is different.

First, I seek a little patience with a lesser preamble. In view of the rancid and destructive post March 2020 national elections developments, I had washed my hands of ever voting again in another electoral contest in this country. The announcement of Mr. Hughes’ return to do battle in the local political wars was welcomed, reduced my resistance to voting again, because I see and absorb how severely ruptured this society is, in the sum of its reciprocal animosities and antagonisms. Because there is nothing that remotely resembles anything that possesses oneness about here. It is as absolute as this, with respect to all other Guyanese, who think differently, and insist that things are different to how I conclude they are. And because in Mr. Hughes, I believed there was that slightest of openings, the rarest of rare opportunities, to introduce change, even succeed in changing in small droplets the way things are. The substance of all this is that I would have changed my stance and come out and vote for him. It is not, never, easy for me to go back on a promise made to myself, and which I have registered publicly. For emphasis, my vow would have been violated because I believe that Candidate Nigel Hughes represented what is different. With that said and out of the way, I move on.

Term where Mr. Hughes stands relative to his Exxon relationship whatever pleases. Cake and bake. Caviar and champagne. Two sweetness out of one bone. Each one fits. But to Mr. Hughes this I say: surely, sir, the Exxon relationship cannot be this sacred, this treasured? Surely, the Exxon linkage, no matter how much soaring, sprawling commercial opulence it represents, cannot compete, cannot supersede, the call of a country? Of one’s country, where fellow citizens cry out from under the cruel exploitative boot of Exxon that grinds them into the muck and mud and pig manure of Guyana? For the edification of all Guyanese, from Bharrat Jagdeo to Irfaan Ali to Aubrey Norton, what is next placed square on the table is not about the spiritual (though it is). It is about the cerebral at its highest, the moral at its most incomparable. It is the call of country (not votes, not position). It is physical and it is visceral. It is why Americans in the prime of their youth willingly leave Harvard and Wall Street, move from behind those grand bastions, and travel to the tropical battlegrounds of Khe Sanh and Đà Nẵng and those dangerous artic mountains of Kandahar. It is why American Jews leave everything behind – loved ones, practice, prosperity – and depart from Grand Army Plaza and lay it all on the line on the Bar-Lev line, or the 1967 one.

In a word for all Guyana, and none more so than my brother Nigel Hughes: when the cause is righteous, then there is nothing more glorious than making the supreme sacrifice. And what I ask of Mr. Hughes is not the supreme sacrifice. He should know this. What I ask of Mr. Hughes, I stand ready to give of myself, have been giving. Of that let there never be any doubt. Ask Bharrat Jagdeo and his gang of sponsored and coddled willing.

Of course, there is no law on the books that holds Nigel Hughes to an obligation where he must relinquish his ties to Exxon. But there are those unwritten laws that are inscribed on our hearts that compel us to find the wisdom, that propel ordinary men and women to discover the courage, and to be nonnegotiable on certain matters that are seen as so profound that they are sacrosanct. And because they are so sacrosanct, they are inviolable. There is no school that teaches things like these. There is no library, however large it is, that contains one word to guide on issues of this extraordinary, this priceless, trust that is thrust into our unwilling hands, and of which we become the ready trustees. Circumstances so dictate, and this is where Guyana is today. It is where 780,000 or 900,000 or 1,000,000 Guyanese are at this the most fateful of hours in their threadlike, barren, gritty existence. The biggest prize imaginable in the universe is theirs. But it isn’t. For there are those brigades and regiments of Guyanese hungry and destitute of spirit and strength. Of all things, in this time of all times, they are there in this paradise that is made so magnetic and magical by its prodigious oil bonanza. There is the proof written in the tears from their pain that would not let go of the uninterrupted anguish, with which they exist, still somehow survive. Is Nigel Hughes reading, listening, actually hearing?

It is Candidate Nigel Hughes’ right, his choice, to retain the Exxon relationship, whether it is worth a penny, or a hundred million pounds sterling. I go my way with these last few questions. Then what would distinguish he, C.A. Nigel Hughes, from Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Dr. Anil Nandlall, Dr. Ashni Singh, Dr. Aubrey Norton? Oh, and one more, Governor General and Viceroy Dr. Alistair Routledge? What would be the distinction with a difference, no matter how small a morsel, that separates C.A. Nigel Hughes, Esq., from those illustrious doctors of funeral sciences, the dignified undertaker work that they do, which buries the rights and grim realities of multitudes upon multitudes of Guyanese? Those who need the benefits of this great oil wealth more than most. In sharing this, the only brother I may have left is the one that stares right back at me from the mirror. I am done.