Kaieteur News – The headline for my Tuesday, March 16 column was, “No government is going to listen to you if you aren’t an example.” The subject was the Guyana Press Association (GPA). Just in case you missed that article, here is a brief note.
I argued that when civil society organizations do not present themselves as moral examples, their social standing is going to be ignored by that formidable receptacle of power – the political leadership. I went on to state that GPA weakened itself by its unprofessional statement that during the election impasse – March – July 2020 – journalists were assaulted by supporters of political parties.
That was a nasty thing to say because it was fictional. No video evidence exists that corroborates that emanation. Media practitioners if they what to sustain their credibility as independent professionals cannot be that irresponsible. It was APNU+AFC supporters who were attacking journalists that belonged to the independent press and those the hooligans identified as working with pro-PPP media outfits.
In all honesty, you think the political leadership was not annoyed at that blatant fiction? My article on the GPA was printed on February 16. On February 19, the Stabroek News ran an editorial that was in opposition to the main argument of my February 16 piece. When I read part of that editorial, I remembered what Sigmund Freud observed. Freud contended that you cannot refer to the existence of human nature as a collection of traits. Each human has his/her own nature and thus there is no defined, collective body of traits known as human nature.
Whether Freud was right or wrong, Guyanese living here act and think in ways that make you reflect deeply on Freud’s thinking. Guyanese say things all the time that contradict the essence of what we know as human nature. I had a discussion with a former GuySuCo manager who insisted that the PPP government is trying to get back at the APNU+AFC leaders by charging them or taking back lands allocated.
My reply was based on my understanding of human nature if there is such a thing. I described for him the scenario in which former PPP ministers were handcuffed and charged. The current president was charged. So these same people come into power and see the people who charged committing terrible criminal acts and will prosecute them. I told him that this was human nature.
So if you believe in the existence of human nature, you have to contend with how Guyanese approach human behaviour to see if it supports or contradicts Freud’s understanding of humans. Let’s read what the editorial had to say and see if based on what Freud outlined, he was right or wrong.
The editorial titled, “Civil Society and Consultation,” observed, “…but the point is if it and every other professional or committed organization monitors what the government is doing in its field of endeavour, and consistently brings that to public attention, it will become harder for the administration to ignore such a chorus of voices. They will be giving expression to matters of concern across the board in society…”
In which country does the person who wrote that editorial live? Which civil society group is professional and committed in this country? Committed to what and whom? Civil society entities are either driven by ethnic sentiments, political instincts, committed to the purpose of self-interest or just, plain misdirected in their action.
At the height of UG staff’s alienation with Vice Chancellor, Ivelaw Griffith, on transparency and governance issues, the head of Transparency Institute – Guyana chapter (TIG), Dr. Troy Thomas, publicly wrote that TIG could not comment on bad governance at UG because he, Thomas works at UG and that could bring the parent body into disrepute. In the picket line for Donald Rodney, one of the executives of TIG told me, in full hearing of other picketers, that he only reads one newspaper in Guyana.
Here is more of that editorial, “… the GHRA had some interesting suggestions to make to the AG about how the apparent aberrations in the amended law reform act could be addressed. Traditionally, however, it has to be said that Freedom House has had a testy relationship with that particular association that is of long standing.”
Why is the relation between the PPP and GHRA a testy one? Who is right and who is wrong? There is a simple answer. Anyone living in Guyana would know that the GHRA, despite its longstanding, as the editorial observed, has lost all credibility over the long years and became shameless with its silence over five months of election rigging. The PPP is right to ignore it.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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