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Feb 09, 2023 Features / Columnists, News, The GHK Lall Column
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – In a different time, a less barbaric place, a more honorable polity, I could agree with the positions that a new force, party, political presence is vital. More specifically, with the sensible public tabling of the need for a new political party to contest the next elections. I heard echoes of what I had written right here several years ago about a presence that could be icebreaker, showstopper, gamechanger. Now, just look where we ended up, what we got, how we have been left in the wake of what turned out to be individual and group tragedies and an overall national calamity.
In the December 2018 to August 2020 era, close to a double-digit cohort of new political faces and groups surfaced to contest that pivotal electiontest. Every single group spoke vociferously about not joining forces, not linking arms, with either the PPP or PNC. They solemnly swore such oaths. They pledged their principles in powerful and pious proclamations of electoral and political purity. It is instructive what happened to them then. It is more brilliantly illuminating as to where most, if not all of them, are now.
I urge my fellow Guyanese to check for themselves, check all of them one by one, one group after another, and then figure out what resulted; what most got for themselves, what Guyanese got for trusting them. It should be easy, the record is not secret: jobs, parliament, clothes, elevations, perks, prosperities, personal recognition, and personal aggrandizement. Some who were positioning themselves as possible future contenders tied neat, sweet bundles with the foreigners. What Guyana got for their vote of confidence was simple: instead of battling for the people, those who trusted and voted for those leaders and groups, there was bargaining for self. In local lingo: it pays to ‘buy and sell.’ Why care about the small fraction of voters feeling their ballot was wasted, yet another betrayal?
I agree that Guyana needs a new political party. I am not convinced, however, that Guyanese voters are ready for one; or more of the 2020 variety. To state my case: I am done voting, can best serve this country doing what I do today. But, to return to the crux of this well-meaning, not without substance, call for a new political group, there is one question. Who is going to trust such a group? Which, or how many, Guyanese is ready to exercise their franchise to the favor of a strange, not totally trusted, newcomer?
A brother spoke to me of independent voters. I agree that there may be those, but don’t think that are that many; enough to make a difference. Not anymore. The key is that for there to be independent voters, there must be independent thinkers, a whole school of them. Look at where Guyanese are today: even the once, supposed ‘independent thinker’ has now surrendered that shining grandeur into the primacy of the tribal. They dutifully come up with all kinds of defenses and advocacies (beautiful, even stirring), that are vested in tribal interests, and all of which lack one integral component: the national, the genuine, mostly the principled, which propels to the understanding that the emphasis on race and political kin always devastates the national. When the national is weakened, the internationals come rushing on feet of steel, or stealth. Guyanese lose, lose again, lose whatever they had left (including courage).
The discovery of oil damaged us irreparably. Men and women who used to condemn (rightly) the PNC for its atrocities and failures, are now utterly dumbstruck when worse is done by their own beloved PPP. They know the rottenness in upper arcs of governance, but that decay is best kept in the family. I call it intellectualincest at the individual level. Due to this cowardice, unborn generations to the horrors of economic cannibalisation. According to partisan media contributors, even the great prophets (Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed) can’t hold a candle to those they know are rogues, swindlers and deceivers of the first water.
So, who is moving to where? To which new presence, which starts out with these existential handicaps? Not when the keys to Guyana’s oil kingdom are dangled in alluring suspension and temptation before the shaky, and the ready. Not when the Vice President, knows the tricks that make others tick, and stick to his slick program. He bought out many in 2020, and continues doing so. Independents enriched with sweet handouts that transform recipients into the opulent. No chance for those who come forward, come the time for the next tussle. With a budget so insulting, so dispiriting to the Guyanese multitudes clustered at the bottom, the time should be ripe for a mass voters’ rebuff. Just don’t hold breath. It ain’t happening here. The old is here to stay on top, and by a possibly massively wider margin, considering overseas votes.
(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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