Jun 23, 2022 Letters
We are gearing up for a Commission of Inquiry (COI) on our 2020 elections. Everyone is for it, but I doubt that all would be excited about the outcome(s). As much as we will skewer old wounds, and create new ones, I am for a COI, even in the unilateral way it came about, which already signals trouble ahead. I am for one with expansive terms of reference, the kind of scope that peers in many corners, examines all players, identifies all wrongdoers, and tables all openings on the way forward. I am dissuaded that we will reach there.
Listening to recollections and convictions of that damaging 2020 elections season, one thing becomes apparent immediately: the other side cheated, but not those making such claims. I stop because the point should register. My point is simple: in this town, there are no innocents on most matters. Certainly, not on elections, which have always stood as the passport to plunder the public treasury for five years, while reassuring citizens that no such thing is taking place or that if it does, it is to benefit those being robbed.
While we desire to get to probe the 2020 elections and related shenanigans, I ask myself if the lining of our stomachs is tough enough to absorb the truths about the last elections specifically, and elections generally. I return to the possible scope (ToR) of the COI, if it is expansive enough, and opens the door widely enough to drill down deeply enough, then I guarantee that we will not like what comes up about what brings us down during nationally savaging times. For, relative to elections, any one of them, what thorough and competent post-mortems of them are bound to reveal is the ugly reality, the harrowing truths, about each one of us. This is whether we voted or not or whether we never wrote a word or never stood up to utter a sentence, in defense of, or support for a side. This is what it distils to -one side or the other; the rest are mere shadows on the national stage. Conspirators, sometimes; pretenders, most of the time; nothing, but bit players all the time.
The rawness of our elections is the rancidness and acute illness of this society. It is not temporary. Inevitably, any elections inquiry boils down, and flares up, into PPP and PNC. Automatically, that leads to Indian and African. This is what we will get, and I don’t care how well the final language is nuanced. Such sweetness doesn’t diminish our racial bitterness; or a way out of the quicksand that traps us, bogs us down. Unintentionally, I just reduced this upcoming COI to its essences in two words: racial bitterness. That is, racial hatred, racial barbarousness, racial weakness, and racial visions of racial supremacy. I challenge anyone from now: peel back the layers of testimony when done, and the documentation when officially reported, and it is where all truths reside. It speaks to you and me, all of us. Remember: there are no innocents, no outsiders, no exceptions. On this, I am absolute.
It is why there is cheating, and its fertile sister named claims of cheating. It is why men cheat before a single clean vote is cast, why they trick on the day itself, and how they continue to justify ever after. The claims and counterclaims have been tiring, lack any ring of appealing duration where helping this nation extract itself from the gutter is concerned. The truth is that we linger there, and find it inspiring. A few stalwarts keep trying to bring some honesty, integrity, dignity to this process but are blanketed out by those hearing only their own drums. So, we persist on the same road, ignoring the ongoing self-destructions.
Still, I think we can benefit from this COI. If there is possibly something to be had, we could use its scorching, limited, fruitful and fruitless, conclusions to lead us forward to what we really need. But we must be frank with ourselves that we insist on not leaning upon what don’t do us any good, other than to keep the racial pot boiling at fever pitch. What we need is basis, starting point, launching pad to get to that place about learning of each other, understanding one another, and then reconciling differences. It is less of who did wrong and who did more of it; but of how we can do right with more of us for such an uphill fight. But first, there has to be a sober and tempered meeting of minds about if such is really part of our visions. I have some hesitation as to whether we are capable of such demands on our well dug in, well-set positions. If not, we stall, no matter how much this COI delivers.
I pause on whether we really want something like reconciling and unifying, besides talking from one side of our mouths about those. At bottom, a COI must do more than furnish fodder for more blaming. It must have as its sole objective taking to never travelled before higher ground. In Guyana’s Age of Oil, we cut the ground from under our feet, when we remain such committed enemies. Oil should be our glue, catalyst, energiser. But it can’t be, not when elections are our unraveling. The COI may lay bare that, but what after that?
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