How could we build a decent society if our leaders sap their own energy, inspiration and initiatives with constant strife and quarrels?
Citizens watch our politicians engage in one bitter verbal battle after another. Seeing each other as always wrong, each side steps up to that line that divides our nation to shout and harass the other.
Now a senior Government official, along with the ruling party, accuses Opposition politicians of “racism” and other nasty things.
The Opposition, drifting about aimless without vision, purpose or efficient leadership, picks controversial State projects over which to cuss and harass Government.
After the deadly fiasco of its Linden protests, which achieved nothing positive, and its single-minded campaign against Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, the Opposition now jumps on the bandwagon of Chinese labour.
Insisting that local labour should come first, a quite legitimate concern, the Opposition wants Government to quell the rate of Chinese involvement in development projects.
Government, on the other hand, insists on allowing the shutting out of Guyanese workers from the massive hotel project now going up.
The State also deployed its resources to broadcast China’s State TV channel across our airwaves, a move that absolutely stinks.
Our politicians, to sum it all up, treat this country as their personal fiefdom, and, in these cases, show scant regard and concern for the feelings or thoughts of citizens.
One would think that the Opposition represents the citizens against a Government bent on tyrannical behaviour and demonizing its opponents. But even the Opposition fails. Its incompetence, lack of strategic direction and ill-advised actions cause citizens to feel disgust at the politicians who lead this nation.
Conscientious leaders feel marginalized and unable to make a difference. It’s a terrible place for any society to find itself.
Here we are, our economy generating growth and our society getting ready to actually develop, and instead of pulling together and uniting in the cause of national development, we bicker and fight and quarrel and scapegoat each other.
We must stop seeing each other as wrong.
Take the Rohee affair, for example. Which Home Affairs Minister in this country has been without controversy? We have had Home Affairs ministers having to answer over the deaths of Walter Rodney and Father Darke; we’ve had a Home Affairs Minister allegedly associating with death squads and phantom gangs.
Our society, in other words, faces systematic failures of crisis proportions. The Home Affairs Ministry seems to need constitutional overhaul. That should be the focus, not the personality involved.
While we pick little issues to drain all our energies fighting, the foundation of this nation rots. No wonder some Government officials could, with a straight face, point an accusing finger at Guyanese workers, claiming that Chinese workers perform efficiently as against locals.
Who looks at the foundation of this society and works to align its values and social structures so that we build a decent, law-abiding, citizen-respecting society?
Our leaders seem bent on picking one hot-button issue, and working it to exhaustion, as if this would excuse their deficiencies, incompetency and myopic vision.
Do our leaders care about inspiring this nation, about creating a national conversation that inspires the citizens to work for a world class society?
We ignore the rotting root, the falling foundation, the non-alignment of our values with what works for a 21st century society. And we pick and focus on a withering branch, a weak pillar, a visible defect.
We must broaden our vision. We want our leaders to see Guyana as a whole – not as little issues popping up here and there. We want our politicians to see this nation as a body politic, with every part important, vital, crucial to national development.
A nation occurs in language. We define who we are purely by the way we talk to each other, by what we say about ourselves, by how we see and feel about this nation.
And if we wake up every day thinking to cuss out each other, to find fault with what our “opponents” do, then we proceed to build a verbal culture that stifles the energy, inspiration and initiatives of citizens.
Our Government continues to make alarming mistakes in its governance. But a lot of it could be pinned down to incompetence and lack of skills. In fact, even the Public Relations arm of Government lacks focus and professional efficiency.
We suffer from that infamous lack of skills in this country. The brain drain has crippled us.
This is the kind of issue our leaders and politicians should be addressing, with an emergency plan of action to deal with the consequences.
The lack of skills is what shows up glaringly in the national controversy involving the Chinese labour story.
Not only may we lack skills to build an international hotel, but we also lack the skills to lead ourselves, with local politicians unable to grasp the magnitude of their responsibility.
Clear signs exist that Government suffers from the national brain drain. The Opposition in Parliament, despite its few conscientious and bright souls, lacks the overall skills to manage the National Assembly, to impact a tyrannical Government cloaking itself in a dictatorial constitution.
The Opposition fails to deal with the critical issue of our democracy – local government polls. It fails to clean up the State media, with the Guyana Chronicle a national embarrassment. It fails to make an impact on the development and social rise of Linden. This Parliament fails to look into extra-judicial killings, which have claimed hundreds of lives. The leaders fail to design an alternative development plan to the State’s impositions. It fails even to manage the environment of the capital city, with naked deranged citizens still languishing at the gate of the House.
And we impose these failures on the psyche of the citizen, who wakes up every day to hear the strife and quarrels, wondering if their land would ever know decent leadership.