GUYANA – SO FAR NO GO

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Social media was abuzz with captions of the featured image.

It’s the kind of pose that portends pugilism…a square off that has left decades of division intact; ingrained enough for every succeeding iteration of government to pick up and expand upon the cleavage that remains the country’s main feature.

The cheers and the comments of approval come as confirmation that national politics is a game of devolution, where political bona fides are solidified by a dexterity to demean and insult the opponent…and by politicians from whom better is expected.

Even the chess player, the man whose middle class upbringing cemented his etiquette, tried to ride this lower tier of transport to political popularity because he felt it checked the grass roots box.

It would be a good time to underscore that grass roots means neither low- class nor classless, but is a notch along the spectrum of CIVIC activity that includes all pertinent levels to the cause…from the boardroom to the corner shop, with each person’s input being equally vital to its success.

Ungentlemanly behavior by an official is, therefore, just that… not grass roots…just unbecoming for the office.

But getting back to the photo and the unmistakably adversarial posture of politicians elected and selected to serve the public.

It symbolizes the tone of national politics, the apartheid that has flourished in the name of governance and the ignored rot that remains standard hand- over take- over procedure with every election cycle and at every level of government.

Voters have borne the affliction of a corrupt and incompetent PPP for 25 years of government….and we’re only echoing these PPP unvirtues, poxed characteristics, as they are detailed in America’s copious details of the Jagdeo’s insourcing of murder and his perch on the Corruption Perception Index, owning a range of 2.6  to 2.7 out of a possible 9.3  placing him 126 to 116 in a class of 178 with characteristic frequency

and the concerns of grantors, like Global Fund, for the country’s malaria needs which suffered pilfering- down to mosquito nets (not granger who took office May 2015)

along with creditors like Inter American Development Bank, IDB, which bemoaned, in too many reports, the mismanagement of monies – a term that is not so cryptic code for stealing.

But Guyanese should not be held hostage to the moral failings of the Party that US Ambassador Sarah Ann Lynch- clearly on instructions- is trying to reincarnate in the image of some imagined political deity.

And they should not accept that the Opposition’s propensity for public sparring is an operating paradigm of benefit, either.

To get to the gut of the problem, we must understand that democracy isn’t just the right to vote. It’s a whole socio political ecosystem…more so in Guyana where citizens remain in a perpetual crisis for political representation. 

People will be interested in politics, think that it’s more than just a constitutionalized crime ring, if they see that it works for them.

There was a time when politicking taught the Party’s ideology, contrasted what they could offer to what was being served; understood that they were politicians ONLY BECAUSE theirs was a service to the people; and went to Parliament and every place that was job -related for the people, in service to the people.

It was the era when professionalism had to be in the first take…where persuasion triumphed over street performance because news went to print once per day…and getting rid of it was not as easy as today’s delete button.

The role the Opposition played may not have been ideal but photos that look like a square off for the next gladiator show were not as common.

In December 2021, there was understandable desire for replacement leadership because, at that point, there was not a visible blip on the leadership radar.

Comatose would have been inaccurate, since that suggests a sliver of life.

Elections delivered a unanimous choice who was saluted as a person with a pulse on the Party and a shared DNA with constituents.

That the new leader was forged through internal sabotage that erected barriers and subdivision within its ranks, for nothing more than to vandalize the process in a show of ill will, could have created a folk hero out of anyone.

But, equally, it could have foreclosed on the possibility of having a leader whose vision, whose mission, transcends self and who understands that leadership is more than a constant grimace while planted in combat stance repeating already known Government failures, instead of promises to be an Opposition leader for country and not just Party.

Change is inevitable but the pillars of politics and its political practice endure the passage of time; they are never selected for replacement, or we get this performance theater that has debuted as the check and balance entity of this Government.

The Opposition, in its current posture, is a creature of Guyana’s degraded democracy and is a direct cause for the low- scoring public conduct by the head man in charge, who is causing palpable anxiety amongst PNC supporters.

Backers have taken to whispering amongst themselves, wringing their hands, rhetorically asking what’s wrong, as if that offers reprieve.

We’ve been here before and the eggshell carpet was rolled out as a signal for all to tread softly; lest we step on the feelings of elected officials, sent to office to do their best for the country.

The result is the erosion of the standards politicians must be held to when they control such a transformative element in societal structure.

Today’s microphone moments, for the newly minted Opposition, bear the stamp of a leader whose temperament seems at odds with public service.

Deploying glibness of tongue is a defense strategy that masks absence of depth and lack of preparation…a public service announcement, y’all.

All is never lost, though, when the ignorance that promotes pride is subverted to the humility that seeks help.

A couple of things must be pointed out here.

One: The Opposition is a national role not a PNC role, so at all times and under every circumstance, its members must be aware of their fiduciary responsibility to represent, with due diligence, each Guyanese of every political persuasion.

Two: The PNC is part of a Coalition, so its confrontations may not sit well with its Coalition members, whose political images are sullied when PNC members draw bad press.

Three: The PNC is part of a Coalition because it lacks singular viability as a political entity at the polls.

And this cannot exclude its use of social media as a strategy – the apparent intent

Like everything that’s done with unnecessary frequency, there’s critical loss of potency with simultaneous devaluation of the seriousness that is brought to the discourse.

If the intent is to get the message out then there has to be a message – and on platforms that target a national audience because this is not a partisan endeavor but one that is done in the capacity of holding the office of the check and balance arm of Government.

Speaking to all mainstream media would be a tactical accomplishment and should be the ambition of an Opposition whose role is accountability. And, germane to this tactical success would be guidance.

Disenchantment runs deep but the segment of the population aware of the Western Ambassadors’ influence on our politics…

Canadian Diplomat Richard Beliveau, whose taxi service to Ogle Airport in 2019 facilitated by the infamous political transient after the take- down vote, is an exposé in the making

is still hoping that calling for change of attitude 6 months into the game is early enough for the guardians of the institution of the Party to remind its Leader that he’s only renting a spot and doesn’t own the name.

They’ll have a chance to salvage what the three letters – PNC- mean in the realm of politics if they opt to counsel him now…failing which would be a missed opportunity to lay the groundwork for politicking, in the age of instant media…and to repair their image that has degenerated to a mish mash of wrong ingredients on wrong platforms and not to the right audience.

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