It is instructive that the phrase Political Opposition has never been an inference to political warfare.
Established after an election, it is a signal of political Democracy and is intended to be an honorable arm of government, equally as responsible, only without governing power. Part of its seminal function is to protect the minority; to limit the majority to a prescriptive sociopolitical threshold, so that national wealth is shared nationally and every citizen is allowed to exercise their Constitutional right to work, tenable living and equal opportunity. As the other half of the scale of governance in a Democracy, it works to ensure that the rule of law predominates, to preserve the principles of propriety, as they relate to the Constitution.
The Opposition, therefore, is not an office of adversarialism where politicians oppose just because they can say no. It is a position that represents the electorate -both by promulgating campaign promises and presenting viable alternatives to benefit the nation as a whole, as opposed to a partisan ideology.
In this, the Opposition is an important Office of State. To use it in any other manner is political sacrilege. To use it as an ethnic bully pulpit is undermining. To use it as a launch pad for insurrection is subversive. To use it as a platform for propaganda is to prostitute that Office of State.
There’s a thin line between it’s service and it’s motive.
That, too, is instructive.
The call by Gail Texiera and her Party for Public Procurement’s response to the Durban Park Project, Sussex Street Bond, Demerara Harbour Bridge falls both within the purview of her portfolio and the obligation of the Opposition to represent the interest of tax payers.
It would be impolitic to say that Gail and Party are opposing for the sake of opposing because that presupposes that the Coalition is right in not making that information available, making the conduct of the accounting and the appropriation of the funds involved in these questionable projects acceptable.
But since this band of PPP opponents had been in the business of financial obfuscation, pawning the nation’s patrimony for gains that never benefited the general population, converting ports of entry to a legal pass through for illegal commodities like, guns drugs and human property for the decades that they over lorded the country, we are reticent to think that Gail would have had a spasm of compassion, seismic enough to force the extension of her angelic wings of political protection, to shelter this vulnerable nation in the name of common good.
Actually, when we recall Gail, we remember the increase to 1 million GYD that was requested for her cell phone bill when the national youth unemployment rate was at 40% and national unemployment at a constant 21%, with Afro Guyanese in the higher percentile of these statistics.
So, though she raises a point that needs to be answered, echoed by the biblical heft of her peer, who prefers the titular reference of Bishop as opposed to a regular forename such as Juan, it would be prudent for us to discern whether this is more motive than service- motive being that which is of the dark and sinister hue with which Gail and Party have exhibited a more than casual familiarity, a profound dexterity, for close to three decades.
For our own emotional safety, in the domain of politics, we should never forget that Gail’s political orientation is with a Party that created a diminished Democracy, lacked probity, flaunted a disrespect for any measure of rectitude for governance, as framed within the parameters of the Constitution.
And, with this sudden offer of public service coming from her – when her Party is infecting the political consciousness because Government media is neither sufficiently imaginative to respond nor amply equipped to counter the Opposition in the public domain with a potent presentation of facts and an effective counter propaganda campaign, Gail’s mission to serve the public just seems to come at a time when the figurative posterior of the Coalition is angled for predatory violation.
Gleaning from the anxieties and frustrations of the concerned, the very nepotism that was decried when the PPP was in power is now the lubricant of parts of the Coalition’s governing machine.
Word is, a member of the bloodline in whom he is well pleased, has become the President’s pick for advice in all things government; even sitting on military and intelligence committees as an internal Deep Throat, though ostensibly unqualified for this level of function. And, amongst the mantles of this highly favored operative, is that of Communications and Public Relations guru – whose woeful deficiencies are congruent with the unambiguous inability of this chosen one, in these areas.
Apparently, this relative – famously known for being disdainful of a specific swath of the electorate that is generally not in the PPP- is of the opinion that Communications and Public Relations in this environment is a hodgepodge of partisan print, devoid of clear, compelling, consistent messaging, sporadically dispensed through a disintegrated network with unmatched disorderliness. The “strategy” appears to be an assembly of Opinion Editorials and Face Book taunts against PPP trolls and detractors, baiting Coalition supporters into nonsensical exchanges.
Umm… never attribute to ‘Strategy’ that which is adequately explained as clueless…
It’s an overriding rule that it is effective communication which elects people to office and effective communication that enables them to exercise control over government, as they incorporate changes in policy and law.
This is not lost on Gail and her Party which presents a well coordinated machine every day, with synchronized messaging on multiple media platforms pummeled out with the stoic resolve of operatives committed to the blitz, even if it’s organized misinformation….daring the Coalition to explain its deficient, weak, Communications /Public Relations effort with barefacedly erroneous but unrefuted reports like the resignation of Joe Harmon.
Word is the Chosen One has invoked another borrowed slogan ‘Silence is Golden’…
…to which we say gold is for the jewelry business…
Communications and Public Relations are intended to capture the support and the vote of the electorate. It is filtered to the public via a strategically woven succession of media deployed with the fine-tuned tactics necessary to successfully impact the target. This is too critical a task to be executed as a one -stroke- broad – brush political pompasette overseen by an individual whose only qualification to conduct this vital function is some shared DNA.
…and here’s why…
Smothered in the miasma that remains Political Communication from the PPP, is the latest attack in the Guyana Times, on James Patterson, where there is some clumsy contortion to conflate Patterson (who they said was not Chief Justice after “cursory internet searches”) with the alleged trial atrocities of the Grenada 17– the men and woman accused of murdering former Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.
None of their references cite, specifically, how Patterson was responsible. Instead, there is a battery of intellectually dishonest suggestions that the role he possibly played in the Bishop murder questions his suitability to be Chairman of GECOM.
And they’re getting away with this!!
They have cited the obviously biased briefs of Dr. Richard John Gibson whose indignation against the US invasion is perfectly in order. But where in there does he say that James Patterson played any role that could be deemed legally inappropriate? As a matter of fact, this is one time that they’re right! Patterson was NOT the acting Chief Justice during that time. He was a lowly High Court Judge then who answered to Acting Chief Justice, Denis Byron…which begs the question… what role could he have played that would warrant ‘condemnation’, no less, from the Guyana Human Rights Authority?!
And even this easily disprovable slab of misinformation is given permissive consensus by allowing it to become part of the political discourse controlled by the PPP – that should never be allowed to talk about anything errant.
Unfit to head Gecom because his alleged role in the Grenada 17 makes him unfit?
How about this?
How about Jagdeo overseeing a Ministry of Home Affairs that ran an extra judicial slaughter house? How about him removing the chief butcher, then Minister Gajraj, from that government abattoir by clearing him via Presidential Inquiry, then knighting him High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to India as ‘punishment’, when the country was cited, by Amnesty International, for human atrocities under Jagdeo’s rule?
With a record like this, is Jagdeo’s character ‘unflawed’ enough to be a part of the GECOM Chairman selection process?
No, not asked by Team Coalition’s Communications/Public Relations… as they allow Gail and her Party to gain the upper hand with their low tech, flimsy, fabrications aimed at the tribe, while causing casualties amongst those looking for their disaffirmation.
See, the advantage of the aspersion is that it bypasses critical thinking and in an environment where politics is overtly ethnic, as waged by the PPP, the specious takes residence in the tendentious and is regurgitated by the rabid.
Translation? Wholesale lying, misinforming, deceiving and all of their relatives, to frame the narrative coming out of Camp Gail. And in the absence of a qualified response center, with serious counter information techniques, Jagdeo and Gail will own the narrative all day.
This Coalition’s Communications /Public Relations team has to look like it could, at least, organize a 2 car funeral.
Such a team is a well organized infrastructure, complete with an on- call contingent to effect emergencies. Its duties start and end with coordination- from message to watch word.
The PPP’s recipe for Communication is a slimy batter of lies, stunts, and tricks that are the envy of every political Party lacking in gravitas.
Nothing has changed there.
Yet, there’s a disturbing kind of quiet that comes from President Granger who seems resigned to defeat from this hollow foe, if only to allow for incompetence through nepotism. The Opposition presses forward – Dismiss, Distract, Distort and Dismay- the 4 D’s of Assault by Disinformation because the incoherent ideology of kinship and friendship makes for Granger, a balm of comfort.
Despondence and betrayal now mark the mood of Coalition supporters.
Sentiment is condensed into a collective steups; words are insufficient to capture their disappointment and terror.
The fear of the return to a bastardized type of governance with a touch of PPP –friends- and –family- in- the- governmentism is personalized in the unmitigated disaster that is the President’s handpicked incompetent…
…while he, the President, remains serenely and incorrigibly convinced that the formula of going high with golden silence is effectively communicating his accomplishments and his intentions.
The President doesn’t like to be advised by the President’s men, they say. He doesn’t like to think that thought and logic exist beyond his arc of creation …that his role in the government is not an achievement but an election by voters who gave him a mandate to execute on their behalf, they gripe.
He’s clearly not inclined to improve the quality of dissemination of information from his government.
So, we’ll keep on running what many call a fool’s errand…. for, on this mission, it’s honorable to be a fool.
See, we can neither overstate nor understate the capacity for incompetence by this team.
It’s that bad.
Case in point.
The Government’s decision to rescind plans to implement VAT on education which should have been an opportunity for redemption was a Communications/Public Relations disaster…from the imagery to the narrative….and in the government news organ!
This should have been an advertisement for a Government listening to its people … with words and imaging to complement their compassion.
Instead, it read like the removal of an anal wart, accented with cheap clip art, bringing our attention only to how ill -equipped they are to effect Communications at this level.
Coalition Supporters, meanwhile, continue to cringe.