Basketball icon, Charles Barkley, had some interesting words to say about the politics of poor people. He said that “poor people are too stupid to know they’re just chess pieces in a game.” Barkley is a sporting giant who I think doesn’t dabble in American politics, but his statement on the low income groups is so poignantly valid that one hopes his message resonates in Guyana.
When I saw a few days ago, photographs of people hugging Bharrat Jagdeo at the PPP Berbice LGE campaign, I thought of Barkley’s utterance. If you go on to read Barkley’s lamentations on poor people’s attitude to politics, it will make you sad. The core of Barkley’s lament is that the working people must look at the ways politicians use them.
Barkley is a huge international star, and even if his words do not influence the labouring classes around the world, it will no doubt find traction with untold numbers.
I doubt Barkley is interested in finding out why the poor are so gullible to fall for the machinations and stratagems of politicians. At the end of his reflection, he became cynical and said that he hopes one day the poor get smart. (source – British Guardian, Tuesday, March 8, 2016).
Those who study psychology, political behaviour, sociology and philosophy, will go on seeking the answer as to why the labouring masses are so disappointing in their thinking. Are those Berbicians who hugged Jagdeo, ignorant about his record? If the answer is yes, then surely, before they embraced and kissed him, they should have checked out his legacy, if any.
If they know about his record then why accept him? I was involved in the 2015 election campaign and it took me to Berbice several times. In the PPP 23 years of power I couldn’t see the gains Berbice made under that party.
I taught at the Berbice Campus at UG in 2002, and in 2015 the picture of a rundown Berbice was the same. From the time of my 2000 sojourn to the time of my 2015 election campaign, I did not see anything that could have made Berbicians fall in love with Mr. Jagdeo.
Of course it is not Berbicians alone who are poor, but they chose not to see that the 23 years of PPP rule did not do anything for them. It is not sugar workers only who cannot connect the disaster of the sugar industry to the PPP’s abysmal failure in economic management. It is not dispossessed East Indians only who will garland PPP politicians and promise to vote for them.
African Guyanese remind you of the words of Barkley. African youths from all across this land will flock to hear David Granger, Moses Nagamootoo and the APNU-AFC hierarchy, speak of the need to vote for the APNU-AFC slate in the upcoming local government elections. But these very leaders are about to celebrate one year in office and have shown not an ounce of interest in removing a law that carries automatic denial of bail and automatic jail sentence if one is found guilty of possession of 15 grams and more of marijuana.
It is interesting to read how Barkley ended his reflection of the sadness of the poor people of America and how blind they are. Here is what he said; “I feel bad for the American people. It’s going to have zero effect on my life who the president is. I’ll be rich either way.” You may not like his ending thought, but he was honest. Of course his cynicism drove him to say that.
Put it another way, he was telling you that he should not care about the plight of the poor because they put themselves into that situation, and why should he care about them when they don’t care about themselves; after all, he is rich. The guy is honest and frank and should be appreciated for that.
The results of the local government elections should tell us about the thinking of the sections of Georgetown who are from the lower income groups.
Will they vote for brand new faces that have no baggage; who have no stains of corrupt dealings; who have no record of hopeless incompetence? Or will they prove Barkley right by their blindness.
In what must be another disgusting moment in modern Guyana, the parties in the central government have put up many jaded, faded mandarins from the City Council from way back in 1994, and are asking Georgetowners to vote for them to keep them in the Council for three more years, apart from the 22 years they already enjoyed. Surely, the masses cannot be such asses.
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