From the slippery edge to the wide-open road; from the possibly perilous to the powerfully promising. Out of seemingly nowhere, these three not-so-little words: enhanced political cooperation emerged to make their grand appearance on the Guyanese political stage. Except that it has been anything but grand so far.
The no-confidence decibel and pitch has been feverish and thunderous: 90 days; no parliament; elections now or nothing doing. So far, so good. And THEN WHAT? Razor-thin margins favouring one (only one) of the major parties? The usual strident claims of fraud? Sharp, protracted controversies over SoPs (or the new equivalents)? A country on edge and seething?
And when all the counting and declaring and celebrating are over, then WHERE TO? It is astonishing that high-octane intellects, seasoned politicians, and savvy observers still insist on hewing to the old lines, at this juncture, about constitution, elections, and courts.
Guyanese are thinking too parochially; too antiquatedly; too narrowly. Political sweepstakes are higher with squalling and brawling about who will control the oil trust. Meanwhile, the trust threatens to slip its moorings. Again, local arguments reek of the traditional and the shortsighted.
For in every national election in the past, the process and immediate aftermath have resulted in a simmering, antagonistic street raw with expectations, roiling with passions. To what end? It has been about the two major political parties (races really) casting about for a verdict that perpetuates the winner-takes-all or all culture.
It is this even more unworkable reality where expert commentators and canny political operators drive Guyana towards. Again. Where, as always, Guyanese political, racial, and social expectations have been camouflaged and dissipated. That may have worked in the acrimonious, dispiriting yesterdays now lost for the foreseeable future. Not anymore.
Today there is oil, lots of it. Today there is a multi-billion US dollar industry (and way of life) unfolding. Today the Venezuelans intensify their interest and claim. Today cannot be yesterday. The world of Guyana, that Guyanese have always known is gone. Obviously, this has not registered at the racial levels; hence, there is all this inane chatter surrounding the no-confidence fallout.
Ignored is the fact that no multinational of any renown invests that kind of coin in a POLITICALLY UNSTABLE environment; or will acquiesce to the continuation of such instability. Local elections continue that kind of instability, and jeopardize carefully laid plans and objectives of corporate outsiders and vital US interests. Little Guyana, with its never-ending political squabbling, will be leaned upon, cajoled, influenced, and muscled to get to another place. That means enhanced political cooperation.
A door is slightly ajar, through which this country must be prepared to walk politically; willingly or otherwise. Whether 90 days or nine months, this country’s parties and powers are compelled to be ready as in right now. Immediately.
This foreign-influenced (as it has always been) alternative means that the business-as-usual electoral process, and now routine ensuing political and social instability must be made to cease; or at least be minimized.
The other alternative is (in the highly unlikely event) that Exxon weighs anchor and retreats, so too will the goodwill and protective shield of the US government. Translation: Guyana is on its own with no one of substance, and nothing resembling a credible deterrent in its arsenal or corner. The Venezuelans are sure to be in a position to capitalize. Who and what would be there to stop them?
The oil is no longer of myth and imagination. It is proven. It is Guyana’s for the taking, but only if the right cards are played in the right way at the right times. If this country is going to get anywhere, it has to be through the auspices of enhanced political cooperation (together); or else it is the usual political dysfunction (and nothing).
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