Long, long ago in one of these columns, I held the view that if Guyana was not an unknown, obscure country, many of the leading scholars in comparative politics at many of the world’s top research universities would have written consistently about it.
One of the reasons being, that we have produced exceptional departures from traditional behaviour that make for fascinating research into political theory. When other countries generate political directions that are unheard of, tons of books are written about them. This is because those countries are famous. Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia; just to name a few. But Guyana is a place rich and overflowing with political theories that are worth pursuing.
The names, Cheddi Jagan, Forbes Burnham, Desmond Hoyte, come to mind. Nothing has been written about how they were different from traditional politicians around the world. Jagan defied political logic. He was a frenetic communist whose support came from communities that worshipped business adventures.
No one has explained how a charismatic, anti-colonial fighter like Forbes Burnham almost lost his throne to a revolutionary academic, Walter Rodney, less than six years after Independence. That is unheard of in the post-colonial world although Bangladesh offers a similar situation. Desmond Hoyte has not found a place in the study of contemporary politics. Very few leaders underwent such a deep and profound transformation as Hoyte did with the exception of Gorbachev.
Guyana keeps producing unique situations for which scholars of political theory from top universities should write about. In which country, for almost three decades, the institution that administers the election affairs of a nation is run by party officials. It is unheard of in the 19th, 20th, 21st century. In Guyana, the PPP and the PNC are in charge of GECOM with a chairman, who if he/she is not professional and independent, then hell is born.
In Guyana, we have a most sordid way of appointing the head of the judiciary. The irony is no one can make such an appointment. In the US, Supreme Court judges are voted in by the Senate. In this country, the president nominates, the opposition leader has to agree with his choice. If not, there can be no confirmed head of the judiciary. Guyana went to the Caribbean Court of Justice to determine what constitutes a majority of 65 members in the national legislature.
Now we have another unique situation. A deadly triumvirate has emerged and the vortex of diminishing logic continues. The COVID team is headed by two politicians. The CEO is Joe Harmon. The Chairman is the Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo. Both are shameless defenders of the rigged 2020 national election. Both of them are facing political extinction should they accept electoral defeat. Even without an imposed government of APNU+AFC, Nagamooto is now a fleeting footnote in Guyana’s social structure. Joe Harmon wanted Granger to be sworn in the first week in March.
To speed up the recount, the chairperson of GECOM, Claudette Singh, has to ask Lil Harmon and Moses Nagamootoo for permission to have more workstations so the final declaration can be made within the stipulated 25 days period. GECOM is an independent, constitutional body. Why Singh is asking politicians who lost an election for permission to speed up the recount is something that can only happen in Guyana.
Here is the perfect analogy. A policeman has in his car, an arrested suspect who attempted to steal his wife’s necklace in a break-in which was captured on camera. The wife is about to board a plane at Timehri to leave and she is wearing the necklace and has in her possession the flash drive that captured the burglary.
The policeman says he cannot go to the airport at this minute because he has an interview for promotion. But he offers the suspect a deal. He says fly up to the airport with a plane from Ogle, get the flash drive and the necklace before she leaves and I will use my power with the magistrate to put you on probation to behave yourself. “Go to Ogle, right now and catch that plane,” the officer said.” “Ah gone, sar, right away.” The accused went, had lunch, visited his sweet woman, then to Ogle only to find out the flight left for the interior, an hour ago. He belched from the beers he drank, and laughed so loudly that I heard him from where I lived in Turkeyen. Now why would the officer think for a fleeting moment that the accused is going to bring back evidence that will incriminate him? Guyana is facing a deadly trio – COVID, Lil Joe who wants power, and Claudette, the joker.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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