Guyana is moving to the brink of a ‘failed state’ status
As the world celebrates the individual and collective successes of nations at the London 2012 Olympics it seems that the only thing our Government can or hope to celebrate will be the notion of a Gold Medal for taking our country to the brink of a ‘failed state’.
The ‘failed state’ concept, which came to prominence in academic and policy discourse in the early 1990’s with the publication of David Helman and Steven Ratner’s (1991) article Saving Failed States, continues to enjoy widespread currency as a way of denoting situations where the governmental infrastructure in a state has broken down to a considerable degree.
A ‘failed state’ can be criticised on a number of levels, from its essentialist use of language to the particularist basis of defining ‘failure’ and the manner in which it sets up a dichotomous opposition.
A statement that a failed state is symptomatic of reactionary leadership is likely to be received with mixed emotions amongst political leaders in Guyana. However, a critical analysis of realities on the ground such as; the Linden massacres, widespread corruption, nepotism, etc, may increase an understanding of the extent to which a failed state is symptomatic of reactionary leadership.
In a country that is and has always been multi-ethnic, cultural and religious, it is not difficult to comprehend what the root causes of internal conflict may be. Power, wealth and greed cannot be ruled out. However, and more importantly, one does not have to be a brain surgeon to recognise that the root cause of all internal conflict in Guyana today is the lack of sensitivity of the Ramotar administration to govern for the ‘greatest good’.
Shoved in our faces on a daily basis is the unfair distribution of power and wealth shared amongst an elitist group of individuals emerging as advisors of the President. Believe it or not, President Ramotar has more advisors at Office of the President than Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK or President Barack Obama of the USA whose respective populations are; 700,000 (Guy), 62,641,000 (UK) and 311,591,917 (USA).
So what are the characteristics of a ‘failed state’? The foremost characteristic of a failed state is the breakdown of the rule of law and order. We are not quite there but to suggest we are on the brink is not an understatement. Many factors contribute to breakdown of the rule of law and order. For example, human rights violations such as: corporal punishment in schools, torture whilst in police custody, shooting of innocent protesters with rubber bullets and more recently the Linden massacres. These manifestations when they occur reflect on a system that is unable to provide good governance and effective leadership which are evidenced by the massive civilian re-action echoing their discontent.
Another indicator is when heinous crimes are perpetually committed and the system is unable to bring the perpetrators to justice leaving the victims with the perception and belief that the state has failed them. It is no secret that the government offers protection and immunity from litigation and protection to those it regards as its own. There is a lack of discipline and order in society where juniors blatantly defy orders from seniors and elders and in some cases publicly disrespect them. There is a simple reason for this. Those above have lost the moral high ground, the authority to lead and their moral compass because they themselves are committing crimes in the faces of their subordinates. As a result, the management of the system becomes shambolic and rampantly indiscipline. The combination of shambles, indiscipline and reactionary poor leadership results in irregularities in stewardship making the country heavily infested with greedy and corrupt money grabbers.
Another important characteristic of a failed state is when the system itself becomes part of the problem. This could be because the system was nothing but a composition of reactionaries involved in all sorts of things ranging from land and money grabbing to turning a blind eye to criminal activities because of vested interests. Naturally, this wouldn’t be the way to build a nation.
The situation in Linden was deliberate but avoidable. Deliberate because the foundation of the PPP/C administration was firmly cast in disobedience, public disorder and anarchy. Avoidable if our leaders had the skills, tools and strategies as forward thinkers instead of reactors. The people of Linden are now facing the aftershock of the first wave of irrational reactionary leadership traits from a group of weak, uninspired, wounded and callous clique at Office of the President. More waves are on the way, including tsunami-type waves; look out Regions four and seven.
Members of the Ramotar administration are reactionaries; some may say daydreamers, when it comes to addressing challenges. In most cases, they get it wrong because of poor targeting and being unrealistic where challenges are not properly addressed. It is therefore no wonder that when the leadership is reactionary, progression to a failed state situation becomes rapid. It is only a matter of time under this current administration that Guyana will be internationally declared a ‘failed state’.