They make inviting targets, these fat cats unearthed in continuing discoveries in the news almost daily. There are several things that must be said about this, with all of them negative and reflective of the true state of political Guyana. At the heart of it all, stands the unchanging crux of the politics of this country.
We acknowledge readily that political fat cats are a fact of life the world over. Obviously, the helping presences, unswerving personal allegiances, come what may, and the willingness to do dirty deeds often on behalf of leadership and party must all be respected and recompensed. So, when electoral triumph occurs, something is usually found for them to keep them happy, quiet, and on the inside of the fold.
In the trenches of real-life political Guyana, and recent elections acrimonies and bitterness, there is much by way of surging hostility and the keenest interest to set matters right. Space must be made, and it does not matter how heavy handedly and how savagely. We have the record of recent, and before, to show for the animosities.
Both major groups are implicated. At bottom, men and women from the losing side are targeted, flushed out, exposed, and dealt with, usually most unceremoniously. Nobody would admit to this, but a purge is the result. When things really get tense, phrases such as ‘ethnic cleaning’ and ‘political pogrom’ make the rounds and gain traction.
For the fat cats of old are sent packing and their places taken by a gleeful bunch of newly arriving powerful political pets of the same feline variety. The salaries and the associated benefits, such as publicly paid for residences, coverage of unlimited internet and telephone expenses, duty free vehicle concessions, and a host of other perks are extended to the favored. When examined carefully, the total taxpayers spent for the engagement and upkeep of these newcomers are almost identical to those that they replace, and against whom much insulting and cursing were hurled. And when added up, there is scant difference with the total monies splurged on the newly favored sons and daughters and those that went before.
This is the political roundtable that spins every elections cycle, and in which the only losers are the taxpayers held hostage to the financial maneuvers of those holding the reins of power, and who stalk the corridors of governance. It is still another instance of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite all the sanctimonious talk about clean governance and doing things differently for the benefit of the Guyanese people, we urge all citizens to look carefully and determine who are the real beneficiaries of sweet government’s generosity. As is the norm, the poor and the needy are forced to line up, wait their turn patiently, and be content with whatever pittance comes their way. Most of the time, nothing comes their way since the big boys are too busy taking care of their own.
Because the hangers-on and the faithful must be kept purring in contentment, the milk must be kept coming. Unlike other places, men and women in Guyana, who did much heavy lifting during elections, must recognize, or it is the road. That is, those unhappy with what they get, if anything, are quick to jump and change the color of their political coat. It has happened before here, and forms part of the comedies in our political culture.
So, what we have here is the reality of yesterday’s fat cats being put out to pasture, while the sleek new cats and kittens performing victory laps are pushed into the penthouse. It is a nice living for doing next to nothing. The main duties are to ensure staying on the good side of political masters, and responding to their beck and call, no matter how whimsical or radical. To stretch things a bit, sometimes no matter how criminal.
Fat cats are about surviving and prospering. They know to play the game, to take care of themselves. After all the noise and movements, it is back to the old 360-degree circle that is of fat felines favored in and old cats once cool cast out. New day, same story.
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