Latest update March 20th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 12, 2023 Features / Columnists, News, The GHK Lall Column
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – I observe His Excellency, President Ali and the Hon Vice President growing increasingly impatient at some citizens, allowing their anger to cascade in public torrents. I have a word for my two brothers: the greater their fury at not getting their way, the more they draw attention to themselves. Their anger backfires. Their so-called righteous rage prompts the open-minded to pause and look deeper into their stridency and ferocity, and trouble flows.
In their haste to beat-up conscientious objectors to their failures, beat down exposures of their inconsistencies, and beat around the bush with their chronic hypocrisies, they draw more attention to themselves. I must be the messenger. The more the President plays word games (transparency, accountability), the more he impresses as a hollow showman, the less he inspires as a trustworthy leader. Words can only be toyed with for so long, before they collide head-on with reality; then there is nothing left but to lash out at those who unnerve with compelling truths.
The oil is not being managed patriotically; the oil money is not being distributed to all Guyanese; the other businesses of the people (mining, infrastructure, policing) are neither clean nor confidence instilling. The President knows this. But, when the President denounces those vital ingredients of Guyanese life and governance, then he makes himself look small: a man with small tolerance for truth, a man too small to take it on the chin and correct the plagues flourishing under his leadership. I respectfully help my President: the disrespect delivered by shutting out huge sections of the Guyanese people from their patrimony breeds seething resentments. They observe who he favours (gets), who is demonized (don’t get).
Like transparency and accountability, it is not the unity that he made such a bold, stirring speech during his now forgotten inaugural address. Others pretend to forget, and President Ali himself may wish that I forget. But I cannot, sir; not when so many Guyanese have their faces rubbed into the ground by a cold, hardhearted callous brother presiding over them. Not in this time of plenty. If being called out on his lack of credibility is now subversive, then open the jails. Anger doesn’t make anything go away, only feeds more anger. I urge the President: stand for what is right, handle the nation’s wealth right, and do right by Guyanese, all of them. Not just inner cabals and cronies. Not just those who lie to the President’s face, tell him what he loves to hear.
Similarly, when the Vice President thrills to the evasive (his oil management), cherishes the abusive, and relishes the vindictive, all this former President does is to make sensible Guyanese study him more closely, with his warts and scars more visible, more repelling. The more the Vice President embraces ducking and dodging hard and straight questions, the truths of national issues in his hands, the more the bright spotlight follows him around. He may seek escape in bashing objectionable people, but many more (including his own) are shaking their heads in dismay. He and the President protesteth too much. What registers is that they have things to hide, and their primary objective is to shut down, shutout, shootout all principled resistance. The Vice President should know by now how he is viewed by locals (his own again) where honesty is concerned. To my brother, I offer this counsel, which none tells him: It is not too late to be about what is universally commendable, what is respected by ethical people. Because it is actually honourable in intent and in result.
I now humbly point these two leaders, my fellow Guyanese, to another hard truth in our environment. Exxon’s Proconsul Alistair Routledge has stepped back, and cheers when Guyanese claw and gouge each other. It is the classic colonialist, imperialist, and capitalist modus operandi. They stand over and incite the natives to snarl and smash each other, while they celebrate more record profits.
Churchill spoke of people breeding like rabbits (those are ancestors, Guyanese, rabbits). Governor General of the Philippines, later US President, Howard Taft looked on the Filipino as “little brown brother”. American and British slavers and masters looked upon Africans as subhuman.
If President Ali and the Vice President think that they measure up any differently, then they are men of lesser intelligence, less self-respect than I thought. Of course, Mr. Routledge is not going to admit to any such thing. But he gives his dirty work to Guyanese to do for him for prizes that are nothing but pittances. Mr. Routledge basks at the handiworks of his Guyanese workers for the Exxon cause. His public relations Guyanese to spin, and his Guyanese leaders to lunge at those standing in objection to their perversities.
Dr. President and Dr. Vice President: this is what anger exposes; this is what impatience and insult confirm. So, who is really running this country? Who is standing up for all Guyanese? Which one of the two? Who are leaders, real patriots, and who harbour ulterior motives?
(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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