The words were carefully chosen for the messages that they sent to Guyanese leaders, meaning exclusively those of the coalition, and they could not have been sharper and clearer. Whether from the latest impatient blast that came compliments of United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, or as can be drawn out of the nuanced but unmistakable questions asked by the listening panel of judges of the CCJ, the thrusts are the same: get this thing right, get this bothersome elections matter done, get it over now. Get going, move on!
We are not going to speak at length on how the CCJ is going about its business, or where it is heading. Since this is all sub judice, it is better and wiser to leave the CCJ alone, other than for a few broader contemplations, which we will share later in this presentation. Today, we focus first on the position of the US, as articulated by Mr. Pompeo on Wednesday last in no uncertain terms.
His words speak for themselves and loudly. The lead frontpage caption from KN, which was repeated on page 3 conveyed where America’s most powerful political movers and shakers, and hemispheric influencers, are currently: “US Govt. instructs State Dept. to take action against persons undermining Guyana’s democracy” (KN July 2). Though delivered in the sparsest and tersest of diplomatic verbiage, nothing could be clearer than that, and to which a couple of specific phrases speak in the starkest terms for those Guyanese “persons”, who could be on the receiving end of whatever “action” is meted out.
In fact, it could be more than Guyanese persons alone, and of this the judges of the CCJ, who do not exist in unknowing disconnect on some remote desert island, are most cognizant.
“They should get on with it,” Pompeo said. And further, “I’ve instructed my department to ensure those who undermine Guyana’s democracy are held accountable” (KN July 2).
Now we invite our fellow Guyanese to work along with us, as we go through this, in an effort to glean as much as possible as to what is the position of the increasingly impatient and irritated Americans, and what that could mean here.
The first thing that struck was that Secretary Pompeo saw it fit to utter a congratulatory message to neighbouring Suriname, and then deliberately call out Guyana in the very next breath. This is most unhealthy for this republic, since it is so pivotally positioned, with so much involved; and it is taking up too much attention. The Guyana situation, especially given our location in this hemisphere, and our discovery of sizable oil deposits, has to have made the rounds of intra-State departmental conversations and positions, with a view to larger strategic calculations and long-term considerations.
From there, it would have had enjoyed a few considerations in cabinet meetings, and then direct discussions between the Secretary of State and the Chief Executive.
To put differently, Secretary Pompeo is not going out on a limb nor acting on his own with regard to where things are in Guyana and its elections. Instead, the Guyana controversy has gone through the mill and this is where America officially stands before the world: “get on with it.” Move on over there and allow us to move on to issues that are of real substance and concern for the United States. It is where America has been for a while now, and in increasingly more ominous tones which shine through the usual diplomatic speak.
Diplomatic speak or not, what we heard distils to this hardness: enough of the nonsense, no more of this endless foolishness, stop dissembling and pussyfooting. And without pointing to or mentioning the coalition specifically, no one here should need the aid of English subtitles to see and read the writing on the wall. Get it over, get a move on and get going now.
Ingrained in the secretary’s message are the irritations and impatience for having to address yet again, the continuing stalemates that plague Guyana’s electoral process.
After all, there are Syria and Libya and mainland Chinese agitations in Hong Kong to worry and expend precious time over; a resurgent pandemic at the domestic level that has to be concerning; and an economy that is in dire need of getting back on track. These things are only made to happen when given the kind of intense attention that they demand to break out of the rut enforced by the pandemic.
When these contexts are weighed, backwater Guyana (oil and all) amounts to nothing more than a blip on the radar of big power considerations, and a place that is best left to its own artifices and devices. But not when it has the potential to threaten the stability of the entire hemisphere and contribute to a reordering of presences and powers that could tip the whole scale of strategic considerations in a totally different direction. This is what alarms Mr. Pompeo and his colleagues at the State Department. This is what has to trouble the wise jurists of the CCJ, when they think of the Guyana situation, and its implications for the future of CARICOM and possibly the integrity of the region’s leading judicial entity itself.
Though Secretary Pompeo spoke primarily to leading Guyanese political figures and, as we read this, to none more than the coalition’s leadership, the words of the secretary should not be limited to the narrowness of such interpretation that it is believed to be about Guyanese coalition leaders alone.
The people at the CCJ hearing and adjudicating what was brought before them have to be mindful, to not be seen as aiding and abetting in any way that which is clearly blatant and shrinks dismally before any probing light. No one among the wise should desire to be in the net being cast by Mr. Pompeo on behalf of the Americans.
And this is what we are asking of ourselves, when we consider a surprising, but welcomed, development from none other than President David Granger himself on Wednesday. This is what our sitting president put before the public on Wednesday, “I cannot claim victory, which I have not done, and I cannot concede defeat, which I have not done unless I am notified formally by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission what the results of the elections of the 2nd March have been” (KN July 2). We hope that we are not hearing what we want to hear, or grasping at straws, but this is the first occasion in which the leader of this country embroiled in ceaseless elections claims and counterclaims has actually provided any opening, no matter how microscopic, that conceding is not out of the question and, thus, off the table of consideration altogether. But that, at the appropriate time, if that is what he has to do, then it will be done.
To be sure, he did state, closer to the inception of these disputes about process, count, and recount, that he was waiting on and ready to accept “whatever” declaration is made by the chairwoman of GECOM. Despite some missteps leading to national uncertainty in between, his position of accepting “whatever” declaration was comforting back then when first uttered, and it is comforting now to hear the president include anything in his most recent statement related to conceding on the elections. It tells us that he is listening and not missing anything, which means that he heard Secretary Pompeo, and knows fully well what that could mean at a granular and personal level. It tells us and the rest of Guyana that President Granger is drawing closer and closer to facing first the tenuousness of his group’s electoral contentions, and next the strengths of the potentially punishing realities that are arrayed against him and his comrades.
In spite of the public blustering of some of his senior people over the patented calculated actions-at the core, criminal ones- of the CEO of GECOM, the walls are closing in on the ruling coalition and it has little to no room left to manoeuvre. In addition, it has fewer and fewer friends, if any, left to carry the baton for it, or ready to take a stand for what are clearly undemocratic actions and positions completely lacking in credibility, any reliability, or residual individual integrity.
With all of this carefully considered, we say for the final time: get on with it. Let it be done with and there be moving on and learning from it. Get it over. Concede! And let Guyana live again.
Aug 10, 2020By Sean Devers Thirteen years older than his 22-year-old opponent, undefeated Guyanese born Lennox ‘2 Sharp’ Allen stepped into the ring for the biggest fight of his 16 years as a professional...
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