By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s environment is now saturated with a culture of fear. Thanks to the PPP Government and its calculating leaders, numerous citizens are unnerved, uneasy, and unsettled. Any strengths that they had, they keep bottled up due to their chronic suspicions, their highly sensitive perceptions that to cross the path of a malicious and vindictive PPP Government and its agents is the equivalent of a kiss of death.
As encountered, there is this overwhelming fear of the death of one’s career, the right to earn an honest living, and take care of family. There is this overpowering fear that business interests, existing or prospective, could run into roadblocks that are never lifted. There is the dreadful fear that one’s very safety and security could be jeopardised, and without any recourse to positive developments from the guardians of local law. Men and women fear being marked and targeted.
I am familiar with Burnham Time. It was always palpable, a tenseness that invaded the weak and worried, which made Guyanese fear their own shadows. It was a bad time, and lasted for a long time. He had his minions and goons, and the man had his instruments of the State to unleash at those brave enough and foolish enough to challenge his authority. Using that time as context and reference, I detect significant elements of that same fear flowing through Guyanese life.
Most citizens are fearful to express their thoughts, the way they interpret developments. It could be about this precious oil and gas; it could be related to the power of the President (actual or make believe); or, that most watched one, the master manipulator and his machinations. How he moves people around at will, how he gets men to do his bidding in blind obeisance, how there are many willing to execute borderline or the unacceptable, to fulfill his visions of total control. Due to this state in the domestic environment, most citizens are fearful of any type of thinking at all, preferring to hold their peace, having nothing to say, stand for, or share.
Many are the men and women who are fearful of writing a letter, making a statement that comes across as remotely critical of this PPP Government, though they see, hear, and learn of the lengthy wrongdoings. The safe thing that they have settled for is to whisper to the most trusted friends only, and then only guardedly. The majority of Guyanese have reached that stage where North Korea is, where there is forced agreement and ready surrender to get along. Guyanese go along with the flow as invisibly and silently as they can, so as not to attract unwanted attention to themselves, hamper their prospects, or that of their family members.
The fear is so thick and widespread in this society today that lawyers will shrink from getting involved in certain cases. Think court filings re oil and gas, about taxes, or environment. Those officers of the court who actually consent to participate and lead the way for relief and some justice for the Guyanese people find themselves quietly labeled, blacklisted, and rendered persona non grata in their own land of birth. This is what I see that citizenship has deteriorated to, and which only degrades still deeper daily.
The few that buck the culture of sweeping fear stalking Guyana and Guyanese come in for an array of vitriol and vileness. It is more subdued in the independent media, but in the free-flowing verbal traffic of the dark back alleys of social media, there are no limits to the rage, the attempts at intimidation, and always to snuff out thinking and postures that contradict the polished but inauthentic narratives of the PPP Government and its army of salesmen and saleswomen ready to swamp any dissent.If there are to be believed, then what is present in Guyana for governance and leadership and standards are beyond immaculate. There are these kinds of political fanatics in the public domain, and anyone who dares to dissent with that official stance is automatically branded a heretic. Or a racist. Or a hypocrite. Those in the PPP taking these positions know all too well of the many perversities occurring under this current regime with taxpayers’ money, with public works projects, and with oil, among countless other matters and sectors of government’s presence. Yet they persist futilely because the objective is to compel to one voice to the one official truth that favors the twisted ambitions of one leader.
There is now such pathological insecurity in PPP ranks that men are recruited to drown out, dissuade, and damage the conscientiousobjections of those who point to and speak of the nakedness of local emperors and their cabal of the blind and the willing. The constant today in Guyana is fear. Burnham delivered it. The PPP reinstated it at a much higher level.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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