Wearing his signature casual fare, shirt sans neck tie, unbuttoned blazer with maybe matching trousers, President Granger delivered his Diaspora speech in predictable fashion; the usual buzz words, the reminder of a victory snatched, wending its way through some accomplishments then on to the crescendo with the call for Diaspora Engagement…this time with an attractively alliterative assembly of B’s… “We don’t need more barrels, we need brains”, set to the chants and applause of a select list of invitees, all of a specific partisan persuasion, then neatly tucked under a news headline in the national news paper touting the President’s Diaspora Engagement.
Now they talking ‘bout the man’s wardrobe.
Maybe but only in the context of ‘The Fashion of Politics’, an informal but empirical summation that dress tends to express political attitude…not unlike the Nehru Collar worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, or the Zhongshan suit worn by Mao TseTung and Chou en Lai and of course Forbes Burnham’s shirt Jack, whose origin is still unknown but, never the less, joins the sartorial significance of dress.
In politics, clothes have long been used as a billboard for political thinking, stepping ahead of its original purpose to become a signature reflection of political ideals, principles, attitudes ….
And that attitude is an extension of ideology which is encapsulated in their Political Manifesto.
There they go again, with that Manifesto talk…
Yes, here we go again, because unlike the cynics, we believe in research and there are enough studies from a cross section of cultures and politics to confirm that politicians take their campaign promises very seriously because they’re aware that governing is more of a continuum than a period-specific event
…..unless theirs is a mission that is more dictatorial, partisan and ethnic –oriented…
…none of which holds true for this Administration if only for its sheer lack of execution, you know the pace at which it’s not getting things done.
There’s been no greater disappointment than the chasm between this Coalition’s pre-election words and post-election deeds and in this case, where there has been tax-payer funded International Organization for Migration (IOM) input, an abundance of expatriate offers to help and the independent organization of a Diaspora Conference by the country’s highest institution of learning – in implied repudiation of government lethargy– the case for a lack of real, implementable, Diaspora Engagement Policy after 30 months of government is beginning look like a defiantly ill-informed, aggressively ignorant move by a government on which many have hung hope….
So, this is where politics starts to look like performance art, with politicians appearing in front of select audiences, hitting high notes and the right nerves with promises that are intellectually fundamental and politically pragmatic –
yet they are served up as political premium to the electorate, as if a common sense deed is some measure of strategy….
Somehow, making a mere attempt and doing the bare minimum to get there is submitted as milestone accomplishments, complete with cameras and minions to celebrate the baseline.
It’s beginning to look like elected officials have evolved to mimic Politicians without incurring the physiological costs of actually becoming, changing into, being politic. Maybe they ‘re thinking that it’s cheaper to pretend than to be, but in politics pretense does have a finite shelf life. Politics is based not only on promises but on the delivery of what is promised. So, a government is typically in trouble when it doesn’t deliver because of political inaptitude and ineptitude… both of which are morally indefensible.
New York down, now on to Toronto…the usual path of these whistle stop tours. No surprise here. The message was coated in the usual layer of sugar – Guyana’s abundance of resources in the Diaspora which this government is making every effort to utilize.
‘Every effort’. Somebody should tell them that ‘every effort’ subtracts from their collective ability when the result remains embryonic after 30 months.
And, as is always the case with this declaration, it collapses under its own inconsistencies.
Is there a Policy Implementation road map yet, a database of vacancies, an on-line portal for queries and information? Is there any engagement past the IOM meeting with single individuals to discuss their business plans? Where are the Diaspora Community offices in the Diaspora and who are the point people? And did I mention Sensitivity Orientation for both repatriate and local Guyanese to explain their roles in this critical sharing and receiving of resources ?
These are the ground floor requisites and without them, having a profusion of these choreographed meet ups triggers promise-fatigue..
What’s really going on, remains the question.
Yes, we know that this Coalition has to wade through the preceding 23 years of Jagdeo Swill and the 5 years of econo-ethnic disrupt left, mostly, by Janet Jagan but we were hopeful that sitting out for almost three decades in the Opposition, the seasoned operatives in this Coalition would have had a plan to hit the ground running.
Understood that they may not have always had the same political beliefs but the alliance was built with the experience of political veterans, many of whom had served in the current Opposition and others being bona fide dissenters of the nebulous affairs of governments past. This was the core of our attraction to them and as PNCR/APNU and AFC, there was a forging of ideology that we loved and were happy when the face of that body politic was President Granger who seemed a free range man from a disciplined background with a comfortable ease in a civilian environment….
So we understood the dress …the Fashion of Politics….and waited for that uniqueness in dress, that formal- casual style, which says he’s both a leader and boss, to kick in….
With his casual fare, President Granger has proven to be a reactionary dressed as a revolutionary, trumpeting a call for change with narry a mechanism to implement it. This time the Fashion of Politics didn’t quite hit its mark. In many ways we’ve gotten the leader but we lament at not yet having the boss. Theirs – this Coalition Government- is a symptom of broad social contentment where winning seems to have whetted the entire Administration’s political appetite to satiation.
Getting elected is a necessary but insufficient condition.
And this is not to say that the other party, campaigning in perpetuity, is the executive alternative, at all.
Their Diaspora Conferences are conducted in ethnic enclaves where Jagdeo, as he is inclined to do in his confluence of consciousness rhetoric, describes the return to the “dark days” of the past, a “dying democracy” ,in his own attempt at alliterative dexterity, albeit a poorly disguised corrosive call for racial superiority and a return to systemic separation.
For all the years that he’s disgraced politics, he’s never failed to confirm that he’s the carrier of all of the rabid genes and mutated chromosomes of that politician, spawned to corrupt the possibilities of the Constitutional dictate: ‘Every person in Guyana is entitled to the basic right to a happy, creative and productive life, free from hunger, disease, ignorance and want….’.
He’s unabashedly shown that he’s a bigoted burlesque of himself, devoid of conscience, void of soul, with the style of a killer bee and the integrity of a snake. His mission is to perpetuate the anointing of ‘The One’ to fulfill ‘East Indian Ascendance’ and a ‘Fantastic New India’, the doctrine of revered leader Dr. Jung Bahadur Singh, the underbelly of all of the nationalist messages Jagdeo preaches to his base.
And this is what created a path to victory for this Coalition that remains in suspension, making haste slowly in deference to the bold grandiosity that political terms, by virtue of their limitations, demand. There’s no doubt that there is serious appetite for accomplishment by this government but part of being serious is making an honest assessment of the political tool kit and re-tooling as expertise elevates beyond current capacity.
There’s an abundance of polite and mannerly statements made by government officials, professing commitment to working with the Diaspora, acknowledging that its resources are germane to the restoration of Guyana’s viability – but they seem to be of the urbane type, suave in nature, punctuated with the wink of hidden non intent….placate, conciliate, don’t call us, we’ll call you…
… this, as President Granger remains on the back foot, defending Greenidge’s curiously extended time table to complete the peripherals of Diaspora Engagement which he continues to approach with suspicious lethargy….baby stepping instead of striding purposefully, employing an arsenal of semantic dodges loaded with political boomerang effect.
Maybe I should tell him that all semantic dodges are not created equal. Some are inherently defective while others are so transparent that you could see all the way through to the defecation that they’re molded from..yes this is a family mag so we substitute the more graphic analogies with cleaner alternatives.
….there’s no need to defend it – says an insider about what, from his talking points, the Administration sees as a “serious undertaking”….
…which prompted me to ask, what has been undertaken, seriously?
A national strategy will be published in due course, he threatens. Be patient.
Due Course? Another semantic dodge, not so tactical retreat for cover under the usual panoply of political stock phrases?
The President’s, not defending it, he pouts.
Might be my imagination but I’m sure I heard a stomp for emphasis at the end of that outburst.
Maybe he isn’t, buddy.
But he sure is praising it by faint damnation.