Kaieteur News – We need to talk; we are not. We must get a better sense of each other; we prefer not.
The political players that are most successful for the longest while are those who are quietly rational. They study the range of circumstances, weigh them, consider the obstacles in their path. On occasion, they arrive at a special place -the greatest good for the greatest many. I haven’t seen this happening in Guyana, and wait with less and less patience for the leading figures in government and Opposition to take the first steps, share the first words. Both step and word could nurture more of the same, and towards those programmes and practices that are in the interests of all Guyanese. Here is the territory.
The PPP Government is neither waiting nor welcoming. Similarly, the PNC Opposition has not shown any passion or vision for leaning forward. The first objective of both must be closing gaps. The great gaps existing in today’s Guyana: those economic, social, and racial gaps in Guyana that brings recoiling; sometimes, there is prompting to retreat behind my self-made barricades. In the worst of times, the bitterest of racial and social environments, Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan found a way to keep the door of communication and connection open. It might have been a side door or a backdoor, but they both rose to the occasion with what served the interests of Guyanese. Through their rancorous divisions, and their acrimonious times, they found a way to continue, because the country was bigger than whatever was the priority that the other held closest. The sum of us is not politically wiser than the two of them.
Compare that to today’s reality, and the contrast cannot be more glaring: the gaping holes and wounds in this ragged society more oozing, more hurting, more enfeebling. We have the PPP Government and the PNC Opposition, and as they rise, so do Guyanese. The leadership of both major parties, with almost all of the national electorate nearly equally apportioned to their hands, is not rising. There is scant conversing with each other; only reciprocal cursing. The PPP Government may think it is rising all alone, but that is leaders fooling themselves. The rising is not as high as it should be, given our gifts; and if the party continues down the road chosen, the shocking might be lurking. That is, its reign could be cut short, as has happened before.
For its part, the PNC Opposition (the whole coalition umbrella) is resistant to reaching out, adamant about any touching. I think that that is a fatal error. In judgment. In vision. In calculations. Most likely, in result, too. Something is terribly wrong in Guyana, in this time of great wealth and the great events, when the only exchanges that the leadership of this country can force (force) themselves towards is either through the auspices of the American Ambassador; or via their reciprocal insults and abuses in the regular media; or still worse in the free-for-all that is the appalling malice in social media. It says something that in this time of abundant newsprint, and a network of radio and television stations, that our leaders are most prolific and at home on their Facebook pages, their party cyber channels. We (they) have all the technology and tools of the times at their touch, but the best that they can consent to are the washrooms, backrooms, and boiler rooms of dark spaces.
There is nothing more constructive than two men (or two women) sitting down face to face and at arm’s length and laying everything on the table in civil tones, in earnest constructs, in mutual respect. Wars have been stopped when sanity returns, and when that great leap is taken. Misunderstandings and mistakes are corrected, and a foundation is erected for follow-up eye to eye exchanges. Those often pave the way-already rocky and filled with treachery-towards more of what is smoother, less unpromising, more hospitable. I would prefer that we try and fail, rather than we fail and fall from lack of trying to bridge the great Guyana rift that is wider than any in Africa.
In this hour of oil, so much is expected, yet so much is lost. Time. Opportunity bypassed or overlooked or underappreciated. Two heads are better than one. At the very best, less than half of what should be, not even a fraction of the full vastness of our potential, is where Guyanese stand. Amidst the vivacity of elusive prosperity there is this Guyanese tragedy, and it is all homemade. We are all lesser, chronic losers, come to think of it. I do so with these things.
It is why today I come not with sword nor slap, but with serenity and sensitivity of what are the possibilities. We continue like this as government, as opposition, as leaders of both, and there will be the inevitable collapsing into the pyrrhic. Talking is a must, it could lead someplace. And any place would be better than where Guyanese are today.
(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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