You can never tell with Homo sapiens. Who the human being is and what he/she is capable of society will never know. You look around history and men and women started out with good intentions and ended up as monsters. Some ordinary people became extra-ordinary.
It may be too early to make predictions but I think President David Granger is and will continue to be a democratic leader. The indications are numerous that he wants to do good and has set himself that goal. The question is; will he be so burdened by the entrenched nihilism of Guyana that he will not succeed in creating a new culture?
This country has to extirpate the contents of its blighted past that have stalked it for over sixty years. Three of its leaders that the transformation should have come from were ignominious failures. Burnham’s great visions were burnt up in power lust. The futuristic plans he had were inspiring. When put into practice, they excited a nation. But a nation’s excitement turned to angst as Guyana watched Burnham’s descent into the culture of messianic domination.
It is a dishonest scholar that would not concede Burnham’s great vision. It is equally a dishonest scholar who would hide the colossal manifestations of Burnham’s authoritarian power
The story of Cheddi Jagan is truly pathetic. Saddled with intellectual limitations, Jagan relied on his wife to guide his decisions. She was inherently cruel and cold and refused to see grey areas; only black and white. He had the touch of the ordinary man and he was loved by the ordinary folks but he couldn’t free himself from the prison of ethnic determinism and ideological inflexibility. He didn’t leave a legacy but a bitter taste in the mouth of those who expected so much from him.
Hugh Desmond Hoyte was a huge disappointment. He came from a typical middle class ambience where the respect for justice, fair play and meritocracy are important values. But Hoyte knew not a thing about Guyana’s sociology.
Some of his policies were immensely destructive to the lower classes. It would not be an exaggeration to say he had little faith in the working class to contribute to Guyana’s economic growth. I think Hoyte deserves the label of being a pro-business leader. There can be no doubt that all three Presidents have established a niche for themselves and their presence will continue be seen on the face of this country no doubt forever. But there is a large but. Did they leave a lasting legacy that will compel future generations to respect, admire and adore them? The jury is still out of that.
The other two Presidents are Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar. The latter needs no discussion. The sad truth of life is that there are people who are incapable of moving beyond ordinary. Plato wrote about that in his historic book, The Republic. If you make Ramotar President tomorrow, he will not shine.
The least said of Ramotar the better. But how sad! If we are still to understand why Burnham and Jagan turned out the way they did after so much promise, then Jagdeo remains the Caribbean’s biggest enigma. How can a man throw away twelve years of his presidency? It is not within the scope of this column to discuss Jagdeo’s complete and absolute failure to inspire his people but for sure no legacy was left. This brings us to David Granger.
He belongs to a context that has freed him from the complexities that bamboozled and confused Burnham and Hoyte. There is no economic hardship. There is no national suspicion. There is a springboard from which to launch the transformation. Can Granger do it before 2020? The answer is no. This is as referred to above, a nihilistic country. The moral breakdown is enormous. The poverty is ubiquitous.
The rule of law and judicial system are deeply troubling. The psychological thinking is purely primitive (we will be the very last country to change the marijuana laws and update our divorce laws). The human resource base is terribly weak. The valuable University of Guyana will take another decade to become respectfully functioning. Infrastructural facilities will need money that will not come soon. The political culture is deadly and dangerous.
This is too Herculean a task for President Granger to undertake and make efficacious breakthroughs by 2020. Things move slower than a hairy worm on a guava tree for Mr. Granger to even complete a quarter of his task. If he runs back in 2020, he has more time. If not, he has to start transforming Guyana now to leave his great legacy.
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