Clever and brilliant we can hire.
Partisan ideologues can volunteer.
But it’s different when we look for a political leader.
That’s the one person we hold to a higher standard.
In them, we want a strong moral sense, a commitment to excellence as a public servant.
We can’t buy those things.
Leaders must bring those things with them.
The time before now when we saw the name Patricia Chase Green in the news it was to inform the public that she, as Mayor, had been summoned before a Commission of Inquiry to testify about a $ 625,000 transaction mishandled by Town Clerk, Royston King, who was supervised by her, Chase Green. It appears as though this 625K deal is amongst many of the murky transactions that was standard in the Municipal High Tower.
Chase Green was Deputy Mayor under Hamilton Green and much of the legal contention of the blemished Royston King is that the system of taking money in his name and in accounts that bear his name and not that of the City, leasing the same land to different lessors, collecting payment in cash from several people for the same property, is the legacy of the street level politics, bribery, patronage, and deception that just happened to be part of the Town Clerk portfolio he inherited. Maybe Chase Green will tell us who she inherited it from.
Now this is where it gets tricky because we have to tie several disparate pieces together to make the central point.
A Partnership for National Unity ran Chase Green and she won, and from all accounts, quite handily.
There’s much that has been concluded by psychologists about an electorate that votes for a corrupt or ’apparently’ corrupt candidate, with the key elements being tribalism and social suppression, both of which mutate the expectancy of normalcy. Leaders endorsing unsavory candidates promote a message of lawlessness and add to voter dysfunction.
Then there’s racism which remains the bedrock of politics and voter –motivation in Guyana, ably aided by the Primary Parties, always seeking a path to victory through the Indigenous population which has learned to manoeuver that ancient calculus to extract what they want at every election cycle.
This time-worn strategy has to be viewed in context and requires going back to the history of the Amerindian Land Rights apportionment in Guyana’s Independence Agreement with Britain.
The Amerindian Land Commission was formed under the leadership of Forbes Burnham- overt courter of Toshaos – in 1966 and by 1969 it recommended that 24000 (pg 13 top) of the 43000 square miles claimed by the Amerindians be issued to them.
In a land of Six Peoples, with one group, the slaves, having been forced to Guyana to replace the Amerindian labor that the colonists declared to be too weak, well before the other 4 races arrived as indentured laborers, forced to build infrastructure like sea walls and polders and kokers, one could see why giving one race more than half of the country would have been impractical.
Nevertheless, Cheddi Jagan, finally ascending to the Presidency in 1992, found this to be a good wedge issue to expand his base which was primarily Indo Guyanese. So,he declared Stephen Campbell, who had negotiated Amerindian Rights prior to Independence by expressing fear of the Afro Guyanese (letters that can be read here 245-254) a national hero in 1993 and established the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, ostentatiously claiming that his predecessor and nemesis, Forbes had failed this community by not doing these things…
…testament to his, Cheddi’s, ascribed principles.
Bharat did one better and amended the Preamble in the Constitution (No. 4) ACT 2001 to read ” WE, THE GUYANESE PEOPLE, Value the special place in our nation of the Indigenous Peoples and recognise their right as citizens to land and security and to their promulgation of policies for their communities;” in a harlots move at voter seduction; as if this was not already their right; as if they were being prohibited from said “promulgations”.
That assault on the Constitution has been allowed to stand…in the absence of promised reform by APNU that ran Chase Green who remains in office, warts and all.
The PPP Opposition was equally as unpalatable.
Their Local Government Election Campaign was run as an affirmation of Bharat Jagdeo as their Patron Saint.
Jagdeo, the President who led Guyana to a narco state, murder capital, gun hub, transit point for human trafficking, used Local Government Elections – an election of officials to govern specific districts which is distinct from the General Election- as a catapult to launch a No Confidence Motion against the Coalition Government.
Said Jagdeo, “this No Confidence Motion is aimed at guarding against excesses of the three-year old administration.”
Excesses; the gall of this Excessor.
That he, who was more Capo than President, just recently singed by the Caribbean Court of Justice that burnt his attempt to get a third term (personally) at the nation’s purse strings and now oil spigot, could mount this offensive is testament to how effective he feels the formidability of his opponent is.
Ground zero for such a battle is Communications and Public relations which the PPP has found to be the path of least resistance through a comparatively mute Coalition, to spread its message to the Guyanese electorate.
Disinformation is a weapon of political warfare.
If the Coalition knows it they must be playing dead.
What we’ve learned since 1966 is that Democracy is fragile and needs tending.
It was uplifting to hear the current Administration pledge the restoration of Local Government Elections which would have come with civic and voter education.
That was a good thing, we thought.
It is singularly distressing to hear young voters pledge allegiance to two dead men, Forbes and Cheddi because politics remains a stagnant slush of racist innuendo with such a thick overlay of division that it is hard to see how national good can ever be factored in to the ideology.
The pledge seems not to have ever matched the intent, however.
An expenditure of 1.5 billion in 2016 with a 38% turn out and a 1.2 billion in 2018 with a 28% turn out needs an auditing to see why, after the first failure, there was another of similar cataclysm.
Voting only becomes a waste of money if it is disbursed knowing that there has been no structured civic and voter education program, no education goals or measurements to determine if goals are met, if the social sector was involved in education, to name a few yardsticks. And if the spending were for machines, ballots, staff and sundries only, then a rethink is drastically needed..maybe in one of the usual COI’s.
We said we were going to pull a lot together in this one.
Now let’s look at the crisis.
We are sorry to learn of President Granger’s ill health and sincerely wish him good health and comfort in his time of respite.
Vice President and PM, Mr. Nagamootoo is performing the duties of Head of State but we’re curious about the days ahead…should the President’s recovery preclude him from active governance and subsequently contending in 2020.
For the short term, we’re confident that the current team will resist the standing invitation to the gutter that will be the stadium for Jagdeo’s No Confidence Vote and every other act he performs in the capacity of Opposing.
We would ask that their messages make no taunting references but address the issues and the nation. We would ask for pro activity and in addition to the unity the picture above captures, we would suggest uniformity of all presentations.
It is an open secret, too, that the current Coalition has no back bench. We hope that they take this opportunity to invite younger and less ideological minds to join their team. Before you frown at less ideological, be reminded that it is the constriction of ideology that forced a Coalition, in the first place.
This Coalition holds the advantage of being the more attractive of the two major political arms largely because politics on the other team is a hazardous mix of racism and social division, mostly because Jagdeo retains his cultish stranglehold on his party…giving it no room to modernize and largely because it it has no mechanism to take it beyond being the Coolie Party.
For the long term, we would like to see Vice President Carl Greenidge suit up for 2020. We’ll be the first to salute Carl’s extensive qualifications, all of which indicate professional experience and gravitas that could steer the country forward and represent Guyana on the world’s stage. We feel that he is judicious enough to repair the fractures that currently impede the Coalition.
And just a word of warning at this critical point in the nation’s political life.
The political sausage machine, the very one that cooked up the Mother Teresa persona for the blemished Simona Broomes by assassinating the characters of two security guards through video fabrication and intimidation of the Security Guard Company owner, for some blood money, has been putting out publications in support of Team Coalition.
If the Coalition wants to retain its current level of credibility and support, it would distance itself from the pontifications of this smarmy team of blundering mercenaries and its incontinent injection of nonsensical barbs as it rhapsodizes over its plan for a ‘political revolution’.
We’re trying to be nice here but when this soulless group of defective hacks offers to be a “THINK THANK” its time for extended politcal intermission…and with popcorn.
The Coalition has to do more than more of the same.
We wish them well, though they complain copiously that we wish them otherwise.