The arrival of David and the great election race of 2011

There are some things wrong with this title.  First, David most likely missed the bus; second, there is nothing that is going to be great about this election; and, third, it has already lost the intensity and energy of a respectable race.  Moreover, all of this can be said with some conviction right now in 2010.

For starters, the announcement concerning the availability of retired Brigadier General David Granger must be viewed as a welcome development.

If nothing else, it could provide a much needed spark for the main opposition, though not necessarily the entire opposition.  At this point, it must be made unambiguously clear that, for better or worse, the PNC is an integral part of the foundation, and a significant cornerstone, of the political structure of this nation.

Whether liked or not, this is the way it is and should be, and any attempts to deny or diminish is an exercise in futility.  With this out of the way, it must be said that notwithstanding the gifts, skills, and accumulated wisdom associated with the Brigadier, it is somewhat late in the day; arguably, too late.

When the mechanics of decision-making are finalized, and a candidate selected – this is assuming a seamless process – there is left but a handful of months to work with the interested public.  For hardcore supporters, this is not a problem.  However, beyond this core, the available time to reach out and inspire, or at least persuade, weighs unfavourably.

As volunteered years ago, opposition campaigns had to have started the day after election results become official.  It begins with internal examination through live post mortems, complete with discoveries, admissions and changes.  The recent examples of Trinidad and Rowley, and the UK and Miliband speak to this approach.  New leadership, through its own distinctive aura, is empowered to unveil its vision, tactics, planks, and brain trust in a timely and comprehensive manner; to share its political cognitive map, which could range from insights surrounding old ballot boxes to new powerbrokers to the demands of the 21st century landscape.

There is sufficiency of time to take stands on core issues and developments; to reach out untiringly; to gather momentum, to sharpen focus, and to recede very rarely from the attention of society.  With respect to Brigadier Granger, the runway is just too short for him to gain the lift and thrust necessary for authoritative take-off.  This takes on particular significance, given the existing local terrain and prevailing winds.  No question that his announcement rates as a potentially formidable development, but it is one that requires time and space to thrive.

Still, he might inspire and make some headway nationally, but only if willing to address tangled narratives, and defuse the ancient wellsprings of extreme passions.  It is the tedious, thankless work of tomorrow that starts today, but which would be inconsequential in 2011.
The commander must recognize that outside voters are not going to fall over themselves rushing to the voting place to express disgust with incumbents and rally to him; the window of time is too narrow.

Realistically, this is not about any future that the commander may present, but the history of the political combine he represents.  That history – whether overblown or even partially accurate – will be exhumed, dissected, and brandished.

It demands Herculean labours of identifying truths, calibrating messages, and winning minds to start to overcome; these are not overnight projects.  Here is the bottom line: only through the hard work and heavy lifting of canvassing, grassroots lobbying, and reaching out near and far on a sustained basis, can there be some semblance of hope that change will come.

For Brigadier Granger – or whoever is chosen – there must be a readiness to articulate certain storylines with persuasive power: What is different today about the main opposition since the last election?  How has it evolved since 1992?  What can it come to mean to those who have lost faith with the PPP, the domestic system of things, and even the country?  The time has arrived to confront contradictions and eclipse doubt in an effort to alleviate, if not, eliminate, hesitancy in what is really a dry run for beyond 2011.

Internally, the arrival of this imperator – and sometimes Renaissance man – to the opposition might infuse it with the vitality so lacking in the welterweight street fighter now listening to his own requiem.

However, he would do well to recall that Moses was denied the Promised Land, and limited to visions from afar.  And that David, though loved by man and God, was reduced to nakedness and wretchedness.

Aside from the internal reconciliations, there are the other present-day realities.  There is the obligation that propels one bloc to go out and vote for the clan.  Where the primary purpose is to keep others away from power; it is not a vote of confidence in the brotherhood, simply a reflexive self defence mechanism to ward off old dangers and the irrefutable logic of a blood oath.

In addition, there is nothing that spurs large cross-sections of the Guyanese voting public any more.  Corruption, crime, narcotics, disrespect, and scandal are all viewed as the price of continuity, survival, and prosperity; it is considered dirt cheap.  Within the ranks of the unmoved are non-traditional supporters of the ruling party cashing in on the bonanza.

Further, fewer and fewer seem to be so unduly exercised with maladministration in all of its sordid manifestations, that it prompts to a cutting of the nose to spite the face.  After all, what is a little jobbery?  Transparencies, accountability, ethics in government are wonderful things, but not when they annihilate the pocketbook.  Here is the convergence of factors: timing, history, fear, and a corrupt environment, that militates against the Brigadier and any other belated comers.

This is how the Great Election Race of 2011 appears in the rearview mirror of 2010.  It is an occasion lacking hope or excitement, and degraded by low speculation of a third term, lowered expectations predicated on endless delay, and the high drama of a foregone conclusion.

Latest in Features, Sunday

default placeholder

Can Guyana afford parking meters?

‘Cities love meters – they are a “captive” income source. … unless you know someone or are a “public figure”, the city will tow your car if you have too many tickets.

20160629Development Watch29

Government spending and the economy

Last week the Private Sector Commission (PSC) urged the government to increase its spending to stimulate the needed aggregate demand to sustain business activity.

default placeholder

Peru’s president-elect demands freedoms in Venezuela

Peru’s pro-business President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski won his country’s elections by a hair with the last-minute help of a leftist party, but — judging from what he told me in an interview — he won’t budge on his criticism of Venezuela and other repressive regimes.

default placeholder

Public financial management: 1966 – present (Final)

This is the fifth and final in a series of articles on the above aimed at highlighting the extent of our achievements in the post-Independence period.

LUCAS STOCK INDEXThe Lucas Stock Index (LSI) rose 0.54 per cent during the third period of trading in June 2016. The stocks of six companies were traded with 79,573 shares changing hands. There were three Climbers and one Tumbler. The stocks of Banks DIH (DIH) rose 1.98 per cent on the sale of 18,757 while the stocks of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) rose 5.26 per cent on the sale of 41,667 shares. In addition, the stocks of Demerara Tobacco Company (DTC) rose 1.51 per cent on the sale of 13,603 shares. In contrast, the stocks of Demerara Bank Limited (DBL) fell 5.26 per cent on the sale of 4,324 shares.  In the meanwhile, the stocks of Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (BTI) and Republic Bank Limited (RBL) remained unchanged on the sale of 222 and 1,000 shares respectively.

Massy and Guyana (Part 1)

Steadfast Last year, this writer looked at the Massy Group of Companies formerly Neal and Massy to gain an understanding of the operations of this company which has been doing business in Guyana for the past 48 years. 

20160626table2jun

Value-added performance of the forest sub-sector: Erratic, weak, declining

Erratic Last week’s column highlighted what I consider to be a most distinctive feature of the extractive forest sub-sector’s performance in Guyana’s economy, during the past decade.

default placeholder

The UK bids Europe farewell

On June 23 by a small majority, the British people voted to remove themselves from the European Union (EU). The decision has consequences for the Caribbean.

default placeholder

What would life be without sport?

I wonder what it would be like to exclude sport completely from one’s life for, say, one year? No playing sport, no watching it, no reading it no discussing it no thinking about it even.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: