In Guyana, the buck stops here. It is not with the head-of-state. Instead, that would be the now ubiquitous international community, which ought to establish a permanent mission in this town of thorns. In this way, it could be on call. Right next door; save on the airfare. It is an exercise to nowhere to ask how did the nation get to this embarrassing point; no extra lessons are needed for wisdom. Rather, it is more constructive to focus on the trust and confidence invested in the foreigners.
The first issue of relevance is: who forms the bulk of this international community? In general, it is Europe and America; at the core, it is the US and the UK. And somewhere on the edges are the brethren of Caricom.
In view of the history of this country, it is mindboggling that the best that the leaders of this disfigured society can do is hobble around on the cane of the international community. Start with slavery and indentureship, and then throw in the Cold War and big power chess moves.
Fears about tumbling dominoes, and the matter of containment impacted Guyana so piercingly that, three score years later, the peoples of this society walk around with the scars and haemorrhages. And as if those are not wounding enough, there are the memories; memories that still rankle, petrify, and paralyze.
Yet it is this same self-serving community that is run to, bandied about, and brandished shamelessly. It is certainly revealing – and humiliatingly so – as to the kind of people and leadership that exist in this place, where the hostile domesticities and contentious ambience of the hearth can only be solved by outsiders – who are only too delighted to venture inward with their sullied records and the taint of sanctimonious condescension.
Come to think of it, this smacks of a new kind of slavery; it is the tragedy of voluntary enslavement. Guyanese leaders are comfortable debasing themselves before the whole world through abdicating their decision-making and consensus-building responsibilities, and then begging for the alms of past masters, who did rack and ruin.
The local passions and poisons are so gripping that the men of ships and chains are viewed as credible. This has to be the ultimate manifestation (for the worst reasons) of being a glutton for punishment. The political distrust and stakes are so high that those who inflicted decimation and division are now invited to be the first responders. This is what is making the rounds, and this is what is held aloft as the sanctuaries of authenticity and reliability.
Clearly, this nation has fallen on its face. Today, there are these inextricable entanglements involving elections; yesterday, elections in this society were tampered with, influenced, and manipulated for the convenience and objectives of the same foreign principals now appealed to and leaned on for solutions. Apparently, invited internal meddling does not rub the wrong way like old-fashioned internal meddling, many times a bone of contention.
A quick history lesson should help at this point: it is widely accepted that every election in this country has been influenced covertly or overtly by the same spirits summoned time and again to mediate. And an inherent aspect of the international train is the baggage of biases against socialism and communism, and a determined track record against protectors of traffickers and money launderers. Indeed, strange bedfellows in the same chambers and at the same table.
Here is a country determined not to get things right on its own; and one addicted to return to the hands that whipped it. It could be the wisdom of fools.
There is one last caution: to extrapolate Lord Palmerston: established powers have no permanent friends, only permanent interests. Think the local leader and group that provide the best channel to realize primary objectives. Afghanistan furnishes one case study; Venezuela is another.
For the naïve and innocent, it is democracy at work. Guyanese politicians must grow up and be more matured.
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