GUYANA- WILL ’23 BE BETTER?

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Flagrantly missing from its narrative of the ruling Party “controlling the country like a one Party State” is the fact that the Opposition has absconded from executing anything that can be loosely described as duty with such regularity that there is, effectively, only one Party.

Opposition Leader is now just a label, a constitutional designation divorced from function because the holder of this title has spent more time away from his seat in Parliament, making the boycott his personal truancy because, like every truant, he seems not to have done his homework.

And this is not to discount the overwhelming number of votes he received for the position. But popularity has never been the currency for leadership and now that he is on this misadventure of having to lead at the national level, he’s not only showing that he’s a poor leader but that he’s a poor leader without a plan.

We’ve long been critical of the portfolio he adopted…that of travelling overseas in the capacity of the head of the Party to raise funds, despite his greater role as leader of 50% of government – that constitutionally sanctioned non-ruling arm. Claims of a more serious endeavor we’ll desist from addressing at this time.

We still wonder why he thought fund raising was more urgent than predisposing himself to learning how to negotiate with the ruling crew to ensure that all proposals, policies, considerations, contemplations that have any relation to the national Treasury would be of benefit to every Guyanese, of every stripe. After all, that’s the job he was elected to do…and the defense he offers for why he’s not doing it confirms that he doesn’t know what the job description looks like… let alone requires.

And when the other portion of the Opposition does finally say something, to let the voters know that it is more than just a nominal part of the Coalition, it serves up a race-seasoned invective punctuated with suggestions of contracts being gifted to shell companies and bogus entrepreneurs fronting for other individuals.

It’s certainly not the kind of allegations that are misplaced, when considering the criminal DNA of the PPP that’s copiously documented by the US State department and other Diplomatic equivalents in the western world. But why aren’t these issues taken up in Parliament, the single most pertinent place to be 50% of governance and to hash out the impropriety of the distribution of government opportunity in its exclusion on the basis of demographics…largely black people and of the opposing Parties?

The political ecosystem of partisan division and racial inflammation is the quickest form of misrepresentation when those elected to serve fail because of their ineptitude.

And we’re not only looking at the loss of an election, which can occur either by rigging or by failing to convince enough voters to elect you. We’re looking at the factors outside of the electoral event- like effective communicating stratagem, building relationships with the communities that claim diplomatic allegiance through behaviors that ensconce democratic values…with agendas that are hardly that benign…and by agencies that twin each other’s missions to establish America’s foot hold in the national politics of countries around the world.

But this is part of what countries that sit at the international table of diplomacy must engage, with more than just a third world acquiescence. 

It took a brawl by PPP’s Luncheon in his rejection of the programs inclusion of all political Parties, which he saw as “boosting the fortunes of the Opposition…APNU” for us to know that the Opposition Leader at the time had, actually, engaged USAID to get the help its agreement made available for the national electorate.

Contrary to apparent opinion, politics is not the domain of the politician who is elected/appointed to his post but that of the beneficiaries of adult suffrage- every adult voter to whom every politician must answer.

The information deserts that are created by those who lead are often a power play, a move to deny accessibility of simple information to the voter under the pretense that the information is too vital for dissemination to the lower levels of the polity. There are instances when information should be withheld in the interest of strategy.

But informing the voter of USAID’s agreement with Guyana, its project, Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) in Guyana, pursuant to USAID Agreement for ‘Governing Justly’ of 2009  between US and Guyana, was not that and should not have been a benefit that they learned of only when Luncheon and Granger were at loggerheads.

If the Opposition, of that time, understood its national role, the work of USAID and its funding to register the electorate to vote would have been shared with the voters, as part of the Opposition’s communications stratagem and would have been broadcast prior to Luncheon’s fit of anger. What better accomplishment to boast, as its ability to communicate with foreign entities and for the national good, in its capacity as 50% of governance. Its relegation to response to Luncheon’s tantrum was another communications failure by the Opposition.

Tales of the ‘Vote Like a Boss’ push and the victory that was the unlikely win by the Opposition in 2015, as reason for all the strategic failures and tactical and missteps that was the framework of governance when the Opposition won, still occupy political space like folklore, suggesting that the win was a clap back for the PPP’s revocation of the American’s work permit.

Strains of truth may exist in these tales but we know that USAID’s Glen Bradbury worked for the Agency under a President named Obama who honored the Governing Justly Agreement which upheld the stated mission of the USAID and that his successor Trump, comparatively lawless, gutted the USAID  and sidelined projects like ‘Governing Justly’ to promote his America First program.

And this included the Conservative Republican thrust to contain Venezuela via Guyana, use coup monger John Bolton to remove Maduro with the help of Cuban-vendetta driven Marco Rubio and to place Sarah Ann Lynch in Guyana with plenipotentiary diplomatic powers which allowed her ,seemingly,  to campaign with Jagdeo supporters she had to know are on the FBI wanted list , in violation of her pledge of service to Guyana.

So, we’re thinking, given the flagrancy of her infraction and the lack of any disciplining from her boss, the soiled Pompeo then Secretary of State, her alignment with Team Jagdeo was her assignment.

And it’s this crisis and convergence malaise that underscores the absence of an effective communications unit in every iteration of the Opposition…which forces the question… why the institutionalized refusal to create one!

That the less than nimble reporting and responses by the Opposition clears the way for the PPP to dictate the terms of the conversation in Guyana’s politics, is hardly in dispute and is a large part of why the Opposition’s comments are generally more defensive than declarative and more explanatory than pointed.

The Roles and Responsibilities section of the team would have tailored statements to the compact bite sizes needed for easy digestion, steering them away from the controversy that engulfs them because they are so often controversial. And the subcontracting of messaging to platforms and conveyors that are not representative of the 50% of governance the Opposition represents, paints everything they say as partisan and not of national import.

It seems, to us, that the Opposition Leader and his counterpart from the larger subset of the Coalition each have a nostalgia for the social order of the past and the political order it created under Guyana’s ‘Fathers of Politics’…which may have historical value but no current practical significance.

Twenty Two, a year that began with some political glad handling amongst the Coalition, has expended herself with a faltering Opposition that never quite maximized opportunities to present itself as Government in waiting, because, is our view, it remains trapped within the traditional boundaries of politics past.

The seat difference between the Ruling Arm of Government and the elected Opposition is strategically insurmountable – which means conciliation and negotiation should be the rules of engagement by the Opposition, if the goal and the duty is to serve the nation.

That professional approach, we’re submitting, is currency to engage the diplomatic community, not to complain but to discuss, from a place of knowledge, what this arm of Government expects from its resident diplomats.

Formally requesting the US State Department to clarify that the Ambassador is, indeed, a servant to the country and not the ruling Party, should have been a start, is our opinion, given the lack of confidence her partiality to the PPP has stoked. And seeking the assurance is well within the span of authority of an elected Opposition.

Supporters once delighted in the prospect of an incoming Opposition that would have been effective and responsible, given the years of political experience that was touted by the collective leadership. At its helm, though, is a leader who doesn’t understand that substituting partisan politicking for national representation is a formula for failure.

The carousel of chaos and performance that this causes is not strategy but evidence of need to reach beyond glaring limitations to meet the pledge to serve in elected capacity.

Leading by instinct because YOU are led by instinct is bad for those who depend on an elected official to lead with them in mind. The Leader may be impervious to embarrassment but those under his umbrella suffer vicariously…with a record that has not delivered any of the gains the ruling Party is confining to specific demographics… in the absence of any negotiation from the elected Opposition.

We continue to reflect on some of the maxims we heard along the way, like Leadership is not a Title but a Behavior.

Any hope for Twenty Three?

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