Guyana is not a dictatorship. We have a democratically elected government. However, what has emerged is a creeping tyranny within this democracy.
This may seem paradoxical: the existence of an elected government with a tyranny. But it is not! There has always been a mistaken view that the existence of an elected government acts as a safeguard against tyranny. This is a false assumption and presumption.
Historically, dating back to the Geek city States, there have been cases in which democracies and tyranny have co-existed. You can have a democratic government, which exercises tyrannical power. There is a lacuna within the democratic architecture, one that does not always prevent tyranny.
In Guyana today there is a creeping tyranny. It is unique in many respects because it is a product of political factionalism within the government. There are factions within the government that are being allowed to pursue their own private agendas. There are also individuals who are using their influence on State actors to pursue vendettas. In other words what we have are cliques or cells operating within the government apparatus that are pursuing their own private agendas. Unfortunately, there is the absence of political will to check the actions of these tyrannical cells.
There are incontrovertible signs of this emerging tyranny. The first is when might becomes right. You know you are in a tyranny when the weak are defenseless. We see that in Guyana today in the way the proletarian class and their representatives are treated. The first example of how might is used to trample on right is the handling of the squatters at Plaisance/ Better Hope. The lands that these persons are occupying are believed to be in the process of being handed over to rich ndividuals. But instead of working out an arrangement with the poor folks, the lands were flooded by the State, an unconscionable act that imitates what the British colonialists use to do to stifle the development of the peasantry.
The second example of might prevailing over right is the use of State power to crush competition and to force certain persons out of business in the interest of friends of the political elites. The denial of parking to Celina Resort, years ago, forced that business into near bankruptcy. We also saw how parking restrictions helped crush one of the best night clubs in Guyana located at the Tower Hotel.
The third example is the way the Guyana Public Service Union is being treated. Year after year this weakened union has had wage increases imposed on public servants without any meaningful negotiations with the union. The union is weak and the government is strong. Might over right!
The next sign of creeping tyranny is the targeting of political opponents. There are many examples of this but the most tragic of all is what was done to C. N. Sharma, the owner of a television station that ran a programme in which there were strident criticisms of the government. C. N. Sharma faced a series of persecutions, including allegations of sexual harassment, none of which has resulted in a conviction. But the ultimate blow was the suspension of his broadcast license. This destroyed C.N Sharma. It broke him physically. He has suffered multiple strokes since then.
Persons who are believed to be friends with the leaders of the Alliance for Change have also been targeted. The case of the owner of the Pegasus Hotel and another individual who competes for contracts in the pharmaceutical sector are examples of the pressures that have been brought to bear on persons simply because they are believed to be supporters of the Alliance for Change.
But perhaps the most ominous symptom of a creeping tyranny is trumped-up charges that are made against enemies of the tyrants. This is the classic weapon of tyrants. When the tyrants- both little and big- cannot get you lawfully, they frame you. They resort to entrapment and false charges. This is what is being faced today by two individuals who have attracted the ire of the tyrants.
The first is Raphael Trotman, the man at the center of a likely No-Confidence debate in the National Assembly. He has been accused of a most terrible crime. He is being framed. And then there is Glenn Lall of this newspaper who is facing trumped-up charges aimed at jailing him and destroying this newspaper.
Glenn Lall needs all of Guyana to stand by his side to face the trumped-up charges and other plots that have been directed his way. He has stood by the Guyanese people all along.
It is time for the Guyanese people to stand by him. So far, the main opposition parties have pledged their support. This is appreciated. More such support is needed from all sections of the Guyanese society.
If the support of the Guyanese people is not forthcoming, then Kaieteur News should close down and allow the Guyanese people to enjoy the government they deserve, one that is tyrannical.
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