As the nation braces for elections fevers, it is timely to examine the two men at the helm of their respective parties to highlight some of the positives that they bring to the mother of all contests. At its root, this sweeping canvas is less of a character sketch, and more of a thirty-five-thousand-feet overview.
This is not about which leader has any edge, or which one is lacking; merely straight comparing and contrasting, as reinforced by the facts.
There may be allusion to a believed disadvantage here and there, but no more. To repeat: this is about what is positive and recommended, at least to their own.
First, there is the age factor; there is a quarter century differential between the two, something that can be crucial in the sure-to-come grueling demands of the political hustings; this could end up being a deficit.
Second, and closely linked, are the health circumstances of both captains: one is recovering (nicely) from a dreaded condition; the other has no public reports of anything. Period. What may be viewed as a concern in terms of age is now compounded by an attendant drain.
The reports are warming; the reality as to durability is a shade cooler, especially for the longer-term. By way of digression, an integral aspect of the present vicious junkyard dogfight is oil. Whichever group lands in the winner’s circle at the inception of the production stream and revenue collection is powerfully positioned to establish a rulership hegemony over the burgeoning oil empire.
The operative phrase is oil cum political dynasty. Think immovability. Think ugly. Think likely nasty, too. Both age and health will take center stage at some point. The question is who and what are behind these men.
The same almost diametrically opposite realities characterize the two leaders relative to their underlining group architecture. One leader can rightfully boast of, if he so desires, an unchallengeable stranglehold on his supporting cast; in many respects it is a cast of cameos with a single star, one overwhelming power that compels fealty.
This leadership structure is more akin to a situation indicative of primus inter pares: it is of exhortation, whereas the other is by conscription. There are the ambitious and impatient within the fold; they like their own succession plans.
In other words, though the leadership grip cannot be described as precarious, it does possess some fluid thinness in the midst. As things add up, men get ideas. After all, the prize is oil.
Fourth, and progressing to the more qualitative, there is the matter of style. The contrasts now in the realm of intangibles continue unabated. There is corrosive political savviness for immediate gratification versus technocratic managerial blandness premised on the long view; the former galvanizes locally; the latter incurs receptivity internationally.
The saga of the aggressive seasoned politico probing for any edge arrayed against unthawing corporate iciness. The objectives and potencies are clear, in this big game for the biggest rewards.
Fifth, verbiage from one part has manifested searing ingredients that range from the provoking to the upheaving to the agitating.
From a purely political perspective, those ingredients sell well. On the other hand, the language of the next is reluctant and distant; occasions are very few that go for jugular or gut. The ring and slash are not there; it is part of the overall political comportment.
Sixth, reputationally, none has cast any ethical stone at one. Matters not in Guyana.
For emphasis: nothing is material, given the electoral bases. Hang a cup around a red statue and put a palm tree in a green basket and the reactions are the same. Never about issues; only about the party.
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