They come with startling suddenness and seemingly on the heels of one another, in a small flurry of new political aspirants for the suddenly seemingly crowded electoral arena of Guyana.
They say the careful things, push some of the right buttons sure to bring stirring, and then settle into a rhythm. The pronouncements represent appealing starts, but are not enough, as so much more must follow, and which must depart from the customary.
A quick trip back through the years, resurrects this strange phenomenon that raises its head in Guyana’s political culture, its elections traditions and practices. It is one where, in almost every elections season, there are these arrivals brimming with freshness, overflowing with rhetoric, and swimming in visions of scaling Guyana’s formidable and treacherous political summits.
Like Minerva from Greek mythology, they burst forth full grown from a godhead that is both kingmaker and leveler of man and his puny ambitions. Unlike the divine Minerva, Guyanese political angels have to work harder at these things that seize individual imaginations and propel in pursuit of patriotic calculations.
In spite of the best of intentions (sometimes), it can be both uphill, back bending, and knee-buckling, as well as mind draining and character warping, too – for even the most cursory of looks will reveal that this has been the political history of Guyana, which has contributed so heavily to the dark social bog that this nation has become.
It has been the same story, the lamentable history, of a progression of dispiriting years, and a succession of shameless leaders moulded a certain fragmenting way and inflicting irrecoverable injuries on this society. To face the truth, political Guyana is not the best of situations, never has been, and does not promise to be so anytime soon. Far from it, and which forms part of the puzzle that contributes so consistently to the sharp confrontations and enduring conflicts that have been an instinctive aspect of local history.
This leaves in a bad place, a barren wilderness, and with a bleak grittiness that should, and only could, be contested by a certain pedigree of challenger. Political challengers -whether acolytes to the game, or veterans in the trade, or merely the ambitious and starstruck – have to be about dogged groundwork, patient building blocks, and infinite staying power.
In each of these areas (with a bow to vision, program, strategy, and the divine), the required longevity flows from the stamina, not of the flashing sprinter, but of the patient, ancient marathoner: preparing through training, conditioning through committing, and hard dedicating and rededicating to the grueling long haul.
Incontestably, there has to be staying power to get anywhere near to drawing power.
In time and in turn, drawing power could earn something of the people power that could make a reality of the dreamed about power, the power to make a difference. Truth be told, the annals of Guyana’s political history do not speak illustriously of the lasting power of the many seasonal entrants who come. It is hoped that this still small battalion of self-empowering pioneering may prove to be made of a different mettle.
They must be able to weather the winds that will either be becalming or buffeting, and which are already present: the disinterest and indifference, the undermining and the encircling, and the overwhelming and entrapping.
The uninterrupted textures and tones of local politics and over 50 years of electoral anguish stand as sturdy sentinels fiercely guarding tribal territory, environmental temperature, and the always fevered people. The two majors have had long practice and have long armoured themselves in the dark arts of political persuasion and social confusion.
More of the politically ambitious should emerge from the woodwork between today and whenever is the deadline for breaking into the scene and fleeting consciousness of Guyanese voters.
The position is straightforward: would this latest individual and collective cohort still gathering, prove to be the usual fly-by-night, flash-in-the-pan, footstep in the night?
Or will a few, or even one, stick around beyond the nursery school and finishing school that is of March 2?
The odds are not favourable, but in the interest of fairness and frankness, this paper passes no judgment and keeps an open mind.
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