Jun 30, 2020 Letters
In the throes of the mighty drug and money laundering trades, when the dirty captains of commerce were hailed as exemplars of ‘progress and development’ I repeatedly warned that a price will have to be paid for such a bargain with the devil. I did so right in this paper, while political men laughed. That was approximately 13 years ago and afterwards.
We have paid some prices before. Gold shipments banned. Men executed in the streets. Phantom squads rising to represent law and the sanctity of conducting commercial activity freely and securely. Major national institutions corrupted beyond hope. Even our places of worship, our neighbourhoods, our schools were infiltrated. We shrugged in public and smirked privately. Many of those smirking-politicians, peasants, professionals-were beneficiaries. But those all fade into insignificance when I weigh what is going on today. It is our way of life, our governance system, our future all placed at risk in plain sight, and yet we say we don’t know; or fake studied ignorance.
Before I proceed further, I am not a follower of conspiracy theories. I follow wherever my mind leads; and have equipped myself by dint of hard discipline, continuing observation, harder experience, and still harder knocks to look at an outline and see a picture; sometimes it is so overpowering that it cannot be denied. They call it connecting the dots. I like the mosaic theory more. There are many truths relative to this season of elections in Guyana, with one paramount truth: MONEY dominates. MONEY is king. MONEY make men walk a certain way, fulfill certain roles, and succeed in incredible objectives.
Because of this, I have had to reduce the huge contributions of race, cult following, history, and ancestry and party allegiance, among other pivotal ingredients. I left behind corruption and leadership failures, of which there was much on both counts. I take money and make it the center piece of our crassly ruptured politicians.
Lobbyists and politicians are like the pimps and prostitutes, who need each other for a variety of reasons. In legitimate circles, ExxonMobil operate this way and succeeds handsomely. In dark circles, men with darker money, have nothing to do but splurge on wine, women, song, and the horses, and watch their backs while so engaged. The real operators in this netherworld, however, are businessmen of substantial prowess and with the visions to go with it. This country was securely locked in their clutches, compliments of the opposition first, and much lesser during the coalition’s tenure. The latter is bad for business and progress; bad for personal freedom; bad for personal power now limited; bad for a place in the rich oil universe.
The questions were and are: which is the better option? Who has a more encouraging history? With whom was there closer relations, through access to power (paid for) and resulting influence? And with whom, are the prospects better for doing business in oil Guyana? Over and over again, it is the opposition which easily comes out ahead.
Remember: money is king; it makes good men walk and talk a certain way. Men with billions in US stashed away and who cannot put them to use need a national outlet. There is no better place than Guyana with the PPP in control. The money talked here recently: political financing to the tune of billions and more available. It is a wise investment for the future. And nothing but a PPP promised future would do. Paying for newspaper and television space was not a problem. Building a powerful supporting local cast through a network of private operators, political voices, commercial partners, marketers, and media presences, just as lavishly facilitated. Pressing foreign people in government to join the chorus becomes one more objective delivered.
For sure, there are no fingerprints at the crime scenes that the FBI, DEA, or Interpol would recognize. That is why there are middlemen scurrying about, who go under the banner of lobbyists and pundits. If they can convert climate change into heresy, then credibility and democracy are just another well-paying assignment. Ballot paper can be manufactured; party agents compromised into collusion; and look how much of a paragon is a former regional PM made to appear. The money can remind (endlessly) that Moses was a murderer; and the killer Saul of Tarsus could have a Damascene conversion. The former is what the coalition leader has done with the future; and the latter is how the opposition headmaster is remade.
Which one is better to do business with: less regulation, more protection, more freedom, more returns? Opposition, hands down. Which group has hindered and hurt recently? The coalition, stupid! And which party offers the perfect covers to be major players in Guyana’s oil lottery? I leave the answer to that one to our local wise men.
Once I titled a piece, “Control of the country has passed.” Look at the juggernaut(s) steamrolling the coalition and decide: conspiracy theory? Or connecting the dots?
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