It has been said that this country, after all of its failed experiences, needs a certain kind of leadership. Unquestionably, Guyana has been seriously harmed by leadership that has been all about the blatantly self-centered, the partisan narrow and limited, and what projects an uninspiring present, and an even bleaker future. To continue what has devastated can only demoralise further.
There is only one kind of leadership that is going to raise the bar on this society, challenge it to examine itself, and then deliver something unprecedented to the nation. This country cannot go anywhere or realise anything durable, if it insists on depending on those that promise a primrose path, but deliver only an impenetrable thicket of thorns and thistles (pimpla and stingin nettles).
The kind of leadership envisioned first has to be radically different from what has always existed here, lived here. Leadership has to be transformational.
For starters, transformational leadership is ethical leadership. Said another way, it is moral leadership. Ethical leaders do not lie. They abhor falsehood and deception and rogues. They are genuine. A reasonable counterargument is that that is unreal; as it is politics: backward, traditional, and satisfying Guyanese politics to the overwhelming majority, and there is neither place for nor success in following the ways of transformational (moral) leadership.
With that as accepted reality in Guyanese political life, then to where? To what rung other than the one that has always degraded to the lowest one on the ladder? Because if it is favourable and supportable to falsify casually, cleverly, and continuously, then it is but a short step to bear false witness against enemies, covet neighbours’ property (and that of the state’s), and, who knows, even to destroy and, of course, to do all those damnable things, and then quickly and expertly seek shelter in more covering lies. The Germans during the First World War found out that tell a lie long enough and loud enough and, sure enough, it becomes truth: unquestioned, unchallenged, and accepted truth.
Treacherous leaders know that once a start is made with the first lie, then an unending parade of shiftiness, deceptions, and impersonations has to follow to maintain some charade of uprightness and integrity.
There is nothing transformational or ethical or remotely moral about such standards of leadership. When a population is misled, it will be stolen from, tricked repeatedly, and disappointed in ways big and small, public and private.
There is nothing wholesome or exemplary about political leaders (or any kind of leader from any walk of life) who practice and cherish falsehood as a virtue and norm, while in pursuit of unpatriotic ambitions.
What is there to believe when and where it matters? Where is that minimum level of trust and reliability-so hard to come by, so difficult to detect-that has been fairly earned and which rightly belongs?
How even to extend the benefit of the doubt, when there has only been a history of the unsavory and the unrecommendable? But is this not what Guyana has had through many monsoons? Still, people (local and foreign) wonder incomprehensibly why this country is imprisoned where it has condemned itself.
There is the non-negotiable reminder of that old saw: what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. The fruits of deceptions have been personal benefits through having dodged accounting; there is also much glee at sowing dissent and destruction. There is little else.
This type of leadership by anyone, anywhere, anytime is incomparably, unspeakably unconstructive. In contrast, moral leadership gives a chance. Problem is that there is no interest in personifying through trying.
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