By ordinary reckoning and standards, there is not much that could be found fault with from the recent pronouncement of a local leader. But because of what has prevailed in Guyana for generations is now beyond the simplicity of the ordinary, so much more is required, definitely demanded as a matter of urgent national priority and vision.
What was articulated was that in any return to power, the opposition would not rule out incorporating people from the other side of the wide, jolting political divide in its rulership ranks.
Who could see negatives in such a posture? It is a thinking – a vague little something – that could be listened to, even commended for the embedded intention of extending an olive branch and attempting in some fashion to close the gaping political and racial chasms. Again, who could be so coarse as to dismiss this out of hand? Or which one amongst us would be so narrow as to pour withering scorn and distance from such a ‘peace offering’ in these admittedly very early days?
But this is exactly what must be done – question, criticise, maybe even condemn – what speaks toward the same and the old, and the same and the uninspiring that has led and will lead nowhere and result in absolutely no benefit for the current 750,000 citizens of this society (or the ones on the way).
Today, the opposition is called to task for this unbarring, this still unoccupied Trojan Horse before an unconscious and uncertain citizenry. The government itself, through its own high command, is also called to the carpet. This is for its almost identical disinterest in the one avenue still opened, and still beckoning, that holds some miniscule promise of removing a little of the goo from the untapped oil, which clogs political heads in this land. Oil-heads we have become; mud-heads we stay.
It is because a handful of ministers enticed and recruited from the other side is not enough. It is not even a start, or representative of the authentic or serious. It reeks of the tribalistic and the individualistic.
There is nothing national about a few ministers from across the floor and fence. Moreover, this is regardless of which side offers such a peace pipe. As pipes go, that one is porous and falls apart even from now.
For if this is intended to exemplify the generous, then it is charity better kept sealed and hidden away from public view and hearing. To emphasise: this is irrespective of which political side ventures forth to offer what may be, in their minds, a grand gesture.
The grateful, the simplistic, and the short-sighted may cheer and recommend.
But if this is meant to be evidence of the good intentions and noble ideals of inclusion, then a sharp, scorching reality check is overdue. Time to apply the brakes swiftly, as well as powerfully. Some people’s heads are going to collide with the windscreen. For if the calculation is that the possible selection of a few potential ministers (from wherever) are to serve as a signal of brewing and greater diversity, then it suffers from a whole host of ailments, all of them acute and intolerable.
First is this: who are going to be the takers?
Second, it is difficult to imagine that the leadership Congress of the losing side is going to be willing to rise beyond the bitterness of defeat, and especially at this rich, raging time.
Third, even if the immediately preceding (takers and emancipators) were to gain receptivity, then this question remains to stare in the face: what does that represent? What is held aloft after that savaged and savaging time before the Guyanese electorate, whether it is one former adversary or a dozen?
Fourth, surely that cannot be the measure of what is so clearly and urgently required now more than ever before? That is, an administrative machinery that assures and reassures one and all that they are in the running? And that they count for something in the bounteous oil world that would be Guyana by then?
It is the view of this publication that these forays into the oil century, the oil empire, and the oil culture that is going to be Guyana are simply not enough.
Where do leaders come up with these ideas? Throw a bone (ministers) here, and a few (permanent secretaries) there. That’s national cooperation towards consensus?
The point is this: A handful of ministers from whichever side is not going to be able to handle the universe of issues to come; or dilute the disillusions that prevail. They have been too much and too thick for too long. The suspicions and distrusts would still rage. The people would still be at each other’s throats and hate each other’s guts.
Both current government and opposition know this at the highest and every other level of leadership. Still they persist with the nail polishing, the beard-trimming, and the seasonal teeth brushing.
This is more than the charade of patented foolishness; it is part of the continuing folly that makes this country dance on its head perpetually before an awed and titillated world. Clothes hike over the head and expose us for the naked wretches that we are. All are intrigued; none is fooled.
A few ministers are not the way. More, much more, is called for from both sides. The broadest national it must be.
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