Jun 24, 2020 Editorial
What is going on here? Why is it that when Guyanese expect the Solomonic they end up with more of the hypnotic? When will the national coma end? Will it ever end, this political vegetative state?
As we look at the continuing comatose state of this society, the eloquence and wisdom of Winston Churchill applies: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” This is about electoral Guyana, because on every occasion that there is leaning towards some sparse optimism that the nation’s nightmare is about to be over, it is given a new lease on life with more magic and more mysteries. On Monday, the reasonable expectations of numerous Guyanese, and befuddled observers, were that the country would be finally put out of its miseries, and make a start to returning to some degree of normalcy.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, as we all know now, and as the sands of judicial weighing and rulings delivered more of the confusing and dividing. Unsurprisingly, the judiciary itself comes across as yet another strange creature in a land of many strange ones. As is now the norm, and in the blink of an eye, both the coalition and the opposition rushed to the fore to make their own declaration. The perspective of both clashing sides is that it stands justified and now the way forward to announcement of its electoral triumph is guaranteed.
In such a contradicting milieu, it seems that all and sundry in the political arena are given judicial license to make any declaration that pleases. In the meantime, the struggling and stonewalled chair of Guyana’s elections agency is neutralized and sidelined to the role of meaningless spectator. Handcuffs limit both chair and agency in the freedom to deliberate and declare. As all of this is considered, the conclusion is that this country is condemned to the fate of William Shakespeare’s tragic King Lear: it is forced against its will to find its way blind, barefoot, brain-dead through newer and more damaging minefields.
For starters, interpretations as to what the learned judges of the Court of Appeals handed down mid Monday afternoon already abound in this land, with approximately 750,000 of such swirling back and forth. It is how a suspended country ties itself into Gordian knots, and more and more of them. This is what results, when there is this endless playing of games with words and phrases, and the countless things they mean to many people. As examples, we point to words like “credible” and “valid” followed by “jurisdiction” and others such as “more” and “qualitative”.
The pundits and politicians are having a feast from the lavish banquet of Guyana’s growing elections dictionary. What does this or that mean? How can it mean anything other than this (which is what one or the next side says that it must)? And to these we add and ask our own question: when will the national insensibilities and societal insanities come to an end? For while the smart and the slick gorge on the fat of elections developments, citizens starve and shrink from the political sicknesses that burden them and torture them still more. They ask: when will this end? Will it ever end?
Rather regrettably, when news of the latest evolutions come, the answer to those last two questions point to and conclude at one ominous place only. It is to what and where, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, prophesied almost an eternity ago: this is not going to end well. As we at this paper ponder over that commonsense, but alarming, oracle, we cannot help but agree, as hope continues to dim and disappear.
For whatever it is worth, and it is worth the reminder and the reflection, some clarity comes back to haunt. It is for hard and tricky times like these, the most delicate and pivotal of times, that local political players with foresight take comfort in what was pushed for doggedly or objected to just as rigidly. It is why there is so much dispute and lack of movement in appointing or confirming a Chancellor, a Chief Justice, and a chair of GECOM, among others. It is not which one is the best choice, but which one will be worth weight later in political gold at times like these.
Now we stumble forward numbly and forlornly from bad times to worse times. When will it end?
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