Freddie Kissoon must be credited for his efforts for his recent work in shedding some light on the people who have led Guyana since the run up to Independence to present day.
The two most important players were obviously Cheddi and Forbes.
Forbes was lauded for his Machiavellian traits during his leadership.
Niccolo de Machiavelli, the Italian statesman during the late 15th and early 16th century, had propagated the idea that, cunning and devious strategies should be used to strengthen the foundations of a state. Unfortunately this did not quite work for Guyana and Guyana’s foundations were destroyed as opposed to being strengthened.
A state within a state was allowed birth on Guyana’s soil and Forbes has claimed innocence about its existence during the Jonestown affair.
The integrity of Guyana’s borders has been weakened and the territorial claims to half Guyana has gained momentum. As a result Guyana is prevented to claim its own natural resources to benefit its people. No sane Machiavellian would have allowed such to happen.
The Machiavelli’s principles had found wide acceptance in Europe and had worked well for the Europeans in a distant past. In fact it is claimed that King Henry VIII of England had found much inspiration from his writings.
Henry VIII went on to behead the many of his wives and others as he strengthened his grips on power. He then challenged the monopoly powers of the Vatican over Europe’s spirituality. He then severed the Vatican’s control over his domain during the English Reformation. He went on to dissolve the rich Catholic monasteries and to further relieve them of their wealth.
Henry VIII became the head of spirituality for his state in addition to being king. The Anglican Church was born with Henry VIII as its head, but not without the conflicts that followed and an attempt much later to blow up Parliament.
The monopoly on spirituality is still one of the most potent forces in play on the world stage today.
Europe by that time was ready and geared to venture far beyond its own shores and to continue where Rome had left off. The invisible hand of Machiavelli had much to do in the way the rest of the world had subsequently become subjugated and exploited. Guyana is one example of the new wave of global exploitation of the weak.
If the Machiavellian Forbes was cunning, as claimed by Freddie, then why his Machiavellian traits had deserted him to grasp important opportunities as they arise. One such opportunity had presented itself when the British West Indian Federation was muted to be relinquished in the late 50’s to early 60’s. A slick Machiavellian would have engineered his way into position and ready to pounce, and long before the window was slammed shut. To have wrested the political head of the Federation of the West Indies from the British would have brought him much glory.
Ravaged by a World War II, Britain was anxious to get rid of its West Indian liabilities which, was weighing down heavily around their necks. No self-effacing, power hungry leader would have missed an opportunity of a lifetime and especially one who was a British trained Queens Council. Clearly he was not up to it.
There is however the claims that he had amassed a huge fortune in secret Swiss bank accounts; the usual habit of most third world dictators. The bright side to this is the fact that the Swiss is under great pressures from the US to relax their secrecy laws, so
that US government can have access their secret bank accounts. The side effect of this is that Guyana could end up with a massive windfall especially if it can be recouped at compound rates.
In the same vein, Freddie has played down the role of Cheddi. The trouble is that Cheddi did not set out to be as a clever and effective Machiavellian character and neither did he need to be. Some of the world’s greatest leaders did not have to rely on vain Machiavellian traits to make up for their short comings.
Cheddi’s deep commitment to state control and social welfare was said to have been founded in the US, when he had visited the poverty stricken ghettos and slums in that country and where he had obtained his training. He had vowed that his Guyana would not end up that way and sought his answers in the writings of Karl Marx and others.
What sets Cheddi miles apart from the rest however, was his great devotion and love for his people. Wrongly or rightly, he was committed to improve their lot. With central control and welfare socialism there was no need for racism, religion, wealth and market forces. It was meant to be a workers utopia. Under state control and they would be looked after from the cradle to the grave.
Cheddi had won over the trust of the masses with grand promises of his new vision. No others to date can make any such claims. He failed however to tell his people that his new utopia would have to be very hard won with sweat and tears. All Guyanese would be called upon to endure the far reaching upheavals in the life they knew for something they know nothing about.
Very few was ready for his grand vision, but Cheddi was not to be deterred. There had to be no other outcome but failure.
There was no need for any slick Machiavellian to target anything from racism, religion and race, wealth or market forces to breach any of Cheddi’s untested vision.
Racism was however exposed as the soft under belly of the fledgling state in turmoil. The cohesion of a community was to become threatened to satisfy new political ambitions. Fear and terror became the norm and the trust that had long existed and bind the communities together had evaporated.
Even if there were now renewed political will and genuine commitment to rebuilding that trust, it would be a long, uphill battle to reclaim the grounds lost over the decades.
The long suffering Guyanese are at the receiving end of all this. Disillusioned and demoralized they can wait no longer for the light that is left stuck in the tunnel.
They now seek their salvation in any country that would have them and not without the repercussions they have to face. They are fleeing in droves, regardless of where they might end up be it foreign slums or ghettoes.
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