Returning to some state of normalcy here is going to be a severe challenge. Though we wish for it, some level of normalcy returning quickly suffers from more than the usual post-elections fears and anxieties.
There is sure to be the regular bitterness and the fallouts from that routine. On this occasion, however, there is a huge overhanging factor: it is best described as the unsteadiness and weakness that come from a long illness, from which this entire nation has been bedridden, had to be spoon-fed, given bed baths, and helped with the bath(room).
Notwithstanding this, it is not premature to talk about yearning for some returning to normalcy now, if only to appreciate the challenges that are embedded in the social fabric. It is doubtful whether this would follow the substance of the usual racial break up and societal make up that putters along after elections, for the rages are too raw and the remembrances too bright. Cooperation under the winner-take-all system is a wasted hope, with this society reduced to tagging along at half speed. We have either seen in passing, or are familiar with the cold, sullen, distancing that cleaves us into a power class and resistant class, on anything from necessary reforms to racial reconciliation to economic development, with the result of being our own worst enemy. The only normalcy promised in this area would be the usual emotional tearing apart of the social fabric. Elections represent the bitterest of pills for the politically vanquished to swallow in this country.
In the economic realm, the commercial sector took many heavy hits following the no-confidence motion of late 2018, and further severe blows were felt throughout most of 2019, and the lost first half of this year. On the other side of the business coin, consumer sentiment and confidence were never at full throttle at any time during this extended interval of national malaise. The tensions of one political and environmental stare down after another contributed to more slowdowns following in an almost uninterrupted sequence. With tensions flaring, people held back and postponed their business plans. These things add up with both the small man and many small and medium-sized businesses feeling sharp pains. Normalcy will take a long time to return to this sector.
We say this, despite relieving electoral developments coming out of GECOM on Tuesday, and which now wait on final confirmation. It is because the economic goose currently looks scrawny for the rest of 2020. It will merely hobble along with one nervous eye on the street, and other nerves focused on personal safety and security, through much distancing from the centers of commerce, with business possibly remaining in a slump, and any single menacing rumor enough to see shops and shoppers shuttering doors and heading for home respectively. This society is poised on tenterhooks and this should now be recognized as part of its unwanted normalcy going forward.
Still, as this is presented, we recognize that there is much dirty money bursting at the seams to get back into the business streams to generate some action through spending and consumption. This could quickly squeeze some strength back into the economy from the blight of 2020. If there are any doubts, the untold millions (hundreds and more of them) in political financing should serve as the necessary proofs. Men and women with frustrated economic interests were either pressed or willingly stepped forward to record lucrative support. Time will tell whether the normalcy of the free rein and protections of the past will return with renewed vigor.
And, of course, there is that existential threat named COVID-19. In terms of fatalities, Guyana appears not to have fared too poorly. On Wednesday, however, there was the startling and worrying development of twelve new cases confirmed out of the blue. After creeping along so long with a case here and a couple there, there is this cascade of a dozen new confirmed cases, as if plucked out of a hat. Just as there emerged cautious hopes of a partial relaxation of restrictions and gradual reopening, the roof fell on Guyana’s head.
As we ponder these realities, returning to some state of normalcy looks remote and unpromising.
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