An attempt is made to move attention away from elections to other things if that is possible. This is so tainting, so disturbing, that to continue to be focused exclusively on elections risks losing of the mind and to be reduced to a babbling idiot, which is how we already appear before a shocked world. So, to assist with maintaining the sanity of our fellow citizens, we speak of sport, specifically of West Indies cricket, to shift from the prevailing contexts.
The peoples of this region need a strong inspiring boost, and they will take any that they can get. Cricket is better than most at lifting flagging spirits, especially Test cricket success. Look at where things are currently: in a picturesque area that depends heavily on tourism, there is a trickle of returns only. Unsurprisingly, any rising and triumphing brings hailing, the temporary respite provided by being distracted from the woes at the individual, commercial, and country levels. So, when the fellas surge to a close win at Southampton – the BBC called it “gripping” and a “memorable four wicket victory” – there is cause for jubilation in these Tropics.
Rather unfortunately, here in Guyana, we have had almost nothing to be jubilant about in the last year and a half. It could be accurately said that Guyanese have had nothing but endless arguments and acrimonies for over the last half century. For as bad as the region as a whole is, given the assaults of the pandemic, Guyana is still worse off than the rest of its CARICOM neighbours. It has no government to speak of, no budget in place, no elections closure, no social harmony, no immediate and tangible relief from its oil wealth, no COVID-19 rules observed (by too many). If business is considered to be bad in the next-door Islands dependent, for the most part, on a single economic plank, it is worse here. There is nothing doing, which is why we say, let us lose our sorrows for a moment and bask in the victory at Southampton.
Since Shimron and Keemo opted out (not such a good move, we think), one Jermaine Blackwood had to step up and he did so in convincing fashion, with what the BBC termed, “magnificent.” Talk about rising to the demands of the occasion with a magnificent display of application and determination. That was on the field of cricket, but Guyanese would like to see such “magnificence” in political leadership and personal character manifested here. We look first to the coalition’s leader, then to those in the opposition. And last, we look at and appeal to the chairwoman and commissioners of GECOM: minimize and manage the personal, be about the bigger, the interests of the bigger team, and there is none bigger than what could be successful for Guyana.
Our people love cricket, live for it. But here we are and we cannot even talk about it, do not want to listen to it, since everything else is washed away by the floods of elections developments, which are all characteristically controversial, all woundingly divisive, and all of which blots out the things that bring momentary joy. Our ears are not glued to our radios, which are not tuned to reports from England (like before) about West Indies Test cricket coming from England, and the celebrating of the boys in maroon (not red or green) winning one for the trapped and strapped folks back home. Instead, Guyanese ears and attention are focused almost uninterruptedly on who lashes out at the next one, who should use what figures, who has a duty to declare, who runs to the High Court, and who is denying the course of what is fair and just, and who freezes the elections clock, for yet another couple of days.
This nation has gone mad, with rogues plentiful. It has made a life calling of cheating (taxes, partners, debts, house and land) to the point where the same cheating that remedied most bureaucratic and personal issues, is now brought to bear on the national stage of elections. When the extraordinary of clean elections was expected, the ordinary cultural of cheating took hold. This is what imprisons tightly. Cricket! Who cares?
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