The Story Within The Story…
By Leonard Gildarie
Yesterday was Day 18 of the National Recount of the March 2 votes.
Our journey from December 21, 2018 has been nerve-wracking and more than a roller-coaster.
From the suspense and court cases, the opportunities served up as perfect opportunities for politicians and buddy ones, too, to hone their oratory skills. And boy, did we have a mouthful.
We are not left without a day where the drama at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre is high and everybody hugs the microphone for dear life.
We marched into the elections a few weeks ago with high hopes in a system that was designed to bring closure to a campaign that was hotly contested.
The incumbent Coalition believed it has done well, guiding Guyana into a petro-producing state, the holding of two local government elections and the strengthening of the Guyana Police Force, the public service and several institutions.
However, the Opposition was insistent that nothing happened and corruption was rampant, from the D’Urban Park stadium to the drug bond on Sussex Street. They accused the Coalition of being starved for ideas.
The introduction of a number of new parties generated hype.
March 2 was described as the mother of all elections, and there were cynicisms over whether the baby would come overdue, nine months later.
Today, it is more than 80 days since the elections.
Both sides are claiming irregularities. The Coalition, in the beginning, insisted that based on the Statement of Polls, they have won. They pointed to Clairmont Mingo’s tabulation of the biggest voting district- Region Four- and said that it matches up with what they have. There were prepared to swear in the incumbent, President David Granger again.
However, the pressure from courts, the Opposition, local and overseas observers, the media, and of course, the diplomatic community, has put paid to that.
Today, we have a recount that Day 19 of what was supposed to be an exercise that would last 25 days.
It is a foregone conclusion that 25 days would not suffice and that even the belated introduction of two new counting stations will not make the activities on par with the expected level on the daily numbers.
The clock is ticking.
For me, I have said it umpteenth time, and will say it again, it does not matter who is at the helm of this country. What matters is that we steam-roll this pothole in the road and get the truck back on course.
Today, as we speak, the attention remains divided in this country. Elections 2020 and COVID-19.
The latter has forced a partial shutdown with commerce almost at a standstill.
Things are going on. With the closure of bars and nightspots, reduction of weddings and social activities, the sale of clothing and general non-essential things, have halted to an abrupt stop.
The situation has brought the attention down on food production. People have quickly begun to realize the importance of food security.
All of a sudden, the kitchen gardens have become a topic. Why pay for lettuce or cabbage or boulangers and thyme when it can be grown easily. Peppers are easy too.
However, the reopening of the country is on everybody’s mind.
I said it before and will say it again. Don’t count on normalcy anytime soon.
There will be announcements about the curfew and other restrictions in the coming weeks.
The current COVID-19 restrictions will for the most parts expire on June 3.
Based on what we are seeing in Brazil and right here in the hinterlands of Guyana, we are not ready for a reopening, unless we are prepared to call death on ourselves.
According to Al Jazeera yesterday, Brazil has confirmed more than 330,000 cases of the Coronavirus, surpassing Russia to become the nation with the second-highest number of infections, behind only the United States.
The grim milestone on Friday came as the World Health Organization (WHO) called South America “a new epicentre” of the deadly virus, with the WHO’s emergencies director, Mike Ryan, expressing most concern for Brazil.
That Portuguese-speaking country has over 21,000 deaths with hospitals overflowing and new cemeteries being created.
Yesterday, the taxi drivers on the Essequibo Coast called me. They say they police at Aurora have impounded their cars. The drivers claimed that they were working at Supenaam and were accused by police of soliciting passengers. They asked Kaieteur News to do something.
I called the commander and she had another story. The drivers were not wearing masks.
She nevertheless committed to having the cars released but promised to have her officers “lecture” them on safety.
I agree. Enforcement in Guyana is a problem.
As a people, we don’t like authorities. We like to skirt around issues, give somebody a raise and do everything except follow regulations.
It is the harsh truth.
Today, we quarrel when minibus drivers speed or rum shops open in a clandestine manner despite restrictions.
Every week I write on things that bother me. We go to other countries and comply because it is the law.
Yet, we speed, throw garbage on the road, and accuse politicians of being corrupt while we encourage it.
The change starts with us.
Our attitude to how we view authorities and how we treat will determine the pace of development.
Oil and gas will help. There is so much more. Gold and agriculture and revenues from the thousands from other countries who fly under our radar to work here.
We welcome them but the country needs its share and we will demand it.
In the meantime, we are barely hanging on because our leaders’ attention is unfortunately focused on getting into power.
A tangled web we weave.
(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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