There are large schools of thinking in this country that believe – rather stubbornly and determinedly -that a foolproof counting process, one that is widely observed and blessed, will lead to a way out of the impasse, the solution to our problems. That is only valid for as far as it goes, and it is the height of wishful thinking that things will settle down and life will return to its normal divided rhythms. Wrong! And all counts.
For, at that point, there will be the incontestable evidence, which confirms this irrefutable reality: somebody, one of the only two remaining groups left standing, would come up short. It might be by a whisker, but it does not matter even if it is by a single vote. What matters is that that group would have come in second. And in this country at this time, second is the equivalent of eternal damnation, an unacceptable wilderness towards which there is the irreversible determination that there will be no travelling.
This is the totality of our current torrid times and circumstances, all roads culminate and terminate at this unhappy and unnerving point. In times past, we have hovered on the brink and somehow always discovered a last-minute mechanism – a temporary respite and arrangement, it must be acknowledged -that helps us to trudge along. Not necessarily forward, sometimes not even sideways.
We bide time, going along to get along (in the immortal words of the battered Rodney King). We get along, but how! We go along, but to where is the mystery that continues to elude us. What is not mysterious and now grudgingly accepted is that mediocrity reigns and underachievement on a national scale has become the satisfying norm. But the bottom line in all of this, and for the longest while, is that we do manage to go along and get along in some fashion.
That is the forlorn hope now in many circles. It is both misplaced and misguided, for it does not take the time to gauge the depths and intensities of the emerging Guyanese oil era. Anybody, any group of people, that is not wholly and meaningfully involved from the inception in its management and control believes that it is doomed to the realm of has-beens. And that from that, there is no recovery.
The visions and imaginations of the money and power that come from that oil have driven us past the point of madness. There is little by way of reasoning and rationalising now, of pausing and assessing, of weighing the pros and cons of the various political scenarios and the minimal options open for possible exploration.
There is neither interest nor commitment to any of that, for that distracts from the enchantment of the moment. This is what is different this time, where each group has been brainwashed into wanting all for itself, as run by itself, and as enjoyed by itself. This is at the heart of what the fight for power is about, although none would be honest enough to admit this publicly.
It is why no leader, and no group, exhibits any inclination towards anything resembling compromise. This is why there is the greatest of difficulty, the hardest of resistance, to searching for and finding and then following a course that spreads the oil wealth, that shares the national treasures.
When all the noisy quarrels about enfranchisement and courts and procedures and addition are examined critically, this is where every conclusion brings: the final, incontestable of a political plurality of one winner and with everything that such victory guarantees. So what are we still hoping for then, other than it is our group that triumphs?
Surely, it cannot be that there will be a resumption of the traditional governance stalemates? Alternatively, that the passions that raged and the prejudices provoked will dissipate into civilised coolness? Nobody wants to talk to the other anymore. Nobody desires to be by the side of those on the other side, given what was exposed before the whole world. Nobody has any regard for those not of their side. Yet it is this what we are fighting to perpetuate and what we battle to maintain.
This is folly; it is a fool’s paradise.
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