Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, has his hands full. He must be wondering why he entered into the political fray; there is the risk of soiling his religious ideals. As he encounters multiple headwinds, watching citizens should realize that they are privy to glimpses of the ongoing struggles between clean political governing and treacherous bureaucratic undercurrents.
In these oversight pains of the first citizen of the capital, scorned and ignored taxpaying citizens are themselves treated to a public viewing of bureaucratic machinations that form part of the highly questionable (and highly sleazy) continuum that is Guyana.
Because what is lived by the Mayor and Council at City Hall exists in thick concentrations across this land it is so dense that nobody bothers any longer either to explain or defend what is a frightening beast of a monster.
Every now and again, some idealistic soul, some untainted agent, arrives on the scene with a head full of visions, and an accompanying will, to make things happen. That is, to reverse the tsunami of sludge that overpowers, and to introduce measures that offer a different and better way to go about matters.
That is when the trouble starts.
Bureaucratic snake pits and beehives are first stirred into awareness, then alarmed at these roiling developments, and last agitated as to the threatening directions predicted. What the hell! What is going on? That can’t happen! Who is going to make that happen? Who says so? Who is going to get me to deliver?
Time to hunker down with the team of trusted collaborators and strategize on how to confront and overcome what are existential threats.
There is a formula to these stresses now experienced by the mayor through his good intentions. His Lordship and supporting council members ask for information. It is routine, nonthreatening material. But to seasoned and cunning public servants, there is everything that is wrong about such developments.
They are believed slick enough and unnerved enough (also exposed enough) to fear the worse. They see that run-of-the mill request for information and follow-up and updates and being kept in the loop for what they really are: the first salvo of peril, the building blocks that would inevitably lead to opening of the carefully guarded Pandora’s Box of tricks, and the ensuing, cascading collapse of the whole house of deceptions.
The bureaucrats have their own defense mechanisms. They spring into protective action.
To begin with, there is silence: long, lingering, studied silence. This is the silence of no response; since there has been no receipt of anything, there cannot be any reasonable or timely response.
Hopefully, the line of inquiry and the thinking behind it, will go away, die a quick and peaceful death. Except that with the right man, it does not die. This mayor, thus far, appears to be the right man with the right stuff. He is persistent and stays the course, through reminders, consistent tabling before council, and still more insistent demands.
Worse yet, he uses available public forums to make his case and share his woes. Since this political pest is so determined, then it has to be movement to Plan B.
The bureaucrats buy more time, since they have their own constituencies to protect, many affairs to hide. They reply late and with a twist. Official correspondence originating from the mayor’s office are mysteriously channeled elsewhere.
Some things must be public; not left to in camera secrecy. Bare the nakedness of municipal officials.
In this clash of wills, Ubraj Narine might be the sitting mayor; but he insists on not being a sitting duck primed for plucking by professionals.
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