May 12, 2020 Editorial
In this most incredible and most disturbing of elections seasons, what is slowly making their way to the surfaces of public awareness are some of the things long suspected and which have long troubled. They are of private investments into the heart of the political process that leave with premonitions of what could turn out to be most unfavourable to the welfare of this nation. It is of men and practices in the netherworld of Guyanese politics that point to how far things have progressed and how deeply they have reached. How far is too far and how deep is too deep is the question.
The first thing to be recognised and be put on the table is that, with regard to national elections currently, there are few, if any, restraining legal provisions and requirements as to financing and involvement. Local elections territory is, at present, a wide-open frontier to be mapped out, dived into, and exploited with hopes and dreams of reaping the richest rewards in due course. It must be remembered that, historically wide-open frontiers, are only conquered by the brave of heart, the sharpest of insights, the most ruthless of hustlers and opportunists and other assorted calculating strategists.
A series of timely and relevant questions should enlighten. First, who has what it takes to participate with financial muscle and on a sustained basis? Some expansion should be helpful re muscle: it is who has the deep pockets, as in the hundreds of millions that could be thrown about without a care in the world? Third and staying a tad longer with muscle and money, in times of elections in this country, with this one taking the icing, there is total disregard of concerns as to the source of those funds. That is, from where did such currency originate? And once that is traceable, a still unlikely event here due to lack of interest and a lack of will, could those sources of elections invested wealth stand up to any robust muster, be such of the local variety or of the much more stringent international flavour?
In view of the realities of slowed economic environment and very thin profit margins, some of the cash that is carted about and handed over to political parties in this country is nothing less than eye-opening and mindboggling. Any reasonably accurate measurement of elections financing monies ends up in one realm only, which is in the staggering nine-digit column. And that is on the low conservative side. The reality of hundreds of millions, maybe as much as, in aggregate, more than a few billions in private elections financing, begs this first question of how so much when business margins are so slim, as attested to by one businessperson after another?
The next question that comes automatically in this warped domestic terrain is: with so much given so freely, what is expected? This much can be said with a good degree of accuracy: it has to be that much is expected, since nothing is free, and not with the numbers as they have played out.
As the brutal elections and political fights continue unceasingly, watching citizens should be concerned as to the implications of such generosity by Guyanese operators to the two Guyanese political powers. We here at this publication are concerned. At this time, all the attention, time, and energies are focused almost exclusively on elections processes and probable (hoped-for) elections outcomes. There is little by way of regulations and all those other components of governance that were long denounced, and long afflicted us so heavily. To revisit well-traveled ground, this means lands and licences and illegitimate practices by both those coming to seek favours, along with those in a position to grant them or influence the granting of them.
When so much money of dubious origins are donated to grasping politicians, under the perfect cover of elections supports, there is sure to be those, who would come looking to reap returns on their timely and calculated investments of cash, company equipment, and time of high-flying donors, who trumpet democracy.
Time will confirm whether it is really democracy, or only the perpetuation of criminality. Political bargains are being made with the devil.
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