A new corruption–free government?

-Lessons from 1823

Regulars would have read my frequent offerings on the themes of Corrupt Practices, Bandit Businessmen, New Values From The Cocaine Reality, the Power of Perception and sundry and varied related issues.

Today my simple, forthright question to you who will vote – either for governmental/party change, or to perpetuate the party in power – is this: is there any guaranteed hope that a new government – especially if formed by a non-PPP/C party – will be free of corrupt practices and executive thievery? After its first year in office?  Dare good Guyanese hope for Cheddi Jagan’s Lean-and-Clean governance untainted by scandal after scandal?

I’m aware that you actual voters can indeed dare to hope.

Hope, after all, springs eternal in the human breast. But my grandmother also used to warn: “don’t live in hope and die in despair!”  Guyanese cynics today seem to have formulated a mantra: “scandal–and corruption– wise, nothing can be worse than this current bunch!”

Now that position was born of both perception and evidence. Perception becomes stronger than reality even if the government is innocent or not at fault in connection with the latest allegations of either corrupt practices like fraud or discrimination, or even manipulating portions of land to close comrades.

Then; if the actual reality is that the ruling politicians and their professional pals are indeed guilty, it often cannot be successfully prosecuted in a Court of Law. Oh, how so many of us despair at our version of justice as dispensed by our judicial authorities. So it is left to the Guyanese court of public opinion to indict and convict the official suspects.

So could Guyanese harbour reasonable expectations of clean, corrupt-free government , an enabling environment which spawns a new morality and commercial cleanliness?  And an administration of persons of unimpeachable integrity?  Unimpeachable? Integrity?  Do we have those types left?

Our turn now?

I strain to hope that we could still find qualified, experienced, unselfish professionals happy to serve, along with the newly-elected.

But my fear resides in the knowledge of all that is the lowest in human nature.  Imagine, for a brief while, that either Mr Ramjattan, Mr Ramotar or Mr Granger becomes our new President. Assume too that either one would be capable leaders responding only to what is best for their people.  All the poor, all the capitalists, all the self-employed. Even the Diaspora. Who will they surround themselves with to assist them?

Therein lies the worry.  Power and authority tend to influence the best of intentions.  Codes of Ethics, Constitutional guidelines, Cabinet Protocols, and plain human decency, all seem to cave in after the “new” dudes stride along the corridors of power for about a year.

So, frankly speaking, even when a Granger behaves in upright fashion, trying to correct the wrongs of the current mischief-makers, who is to prevent his associates from thinking: “It’s our turn now!  Look at the pillage of the past. Time to help myself. The people – later.”

I do hope that I’ll be proven so wrong. There are still fine devoted servants of the people out there? As well as a longing for a refreshed community of old-time values based on spirituality and love for humanity?  Let’s just hope so. Now go vote for those you can find.

Lessons from 1823

1823?  Consider this as my puny contribution to the week-end’s Emancipation Day observances when the end of Plantation Slavery is commemorated.

Sixty (60) years after the bold attempt by Kofi and his associates to create their independence in Berbice in 1763, there was yet another organized effort at freedom by the slaves. This time it is on the lower East Coast of Demerara. And it involved, most strangely a peaceful Christian slave and his white European Minister of the Church. Unheard of in those times. But even then, Guyana had to be different.

Two weeks ago Professor Winston McGowan shared his insights and analyses of the 1823 Rebellion.  In fact, in the course of his presentation he seemed constrained to debunk quite a few of the perceptions held by students, scholars, historians and readers like myself, about the fundamentals of that revolt. After adopting the historian’s formula for treating with historical events – cause, course and consequences – the Professor wised us up on his own research findings.  Among them: Guyana was brazen enough to mount two or three rebellions, whilst most other territories around here would boast only one major planned assault against the plantocracies.

Contrary  to popular opinions or hope, the slave leaders here had little hope in their revolts succeeding, so great were the odds against them; 1763 saw Kofi mobilizing a wider cross-section of slaves and resources than did Quamina on a part of the Demerara’s East Coast; both Quamina and Rev. John Smith were rather reluctant “leaders” of 1823, in fact both men tried their darndest to stymie the uprising knowing that no actual emancipation was being denied the slaves; the rumour of Abolition was just that – a premature misconception.

The real leader of the 1823 Revolt partly over the inhuman hours of plantation work, was Jack Gladstone, Quamina’s virile firebrand son.  I suggest that more research on 1823 be done. Besides the soirees’ merriment, it will be a great way to ponder upon mass efforts at revolution by African forefathers.  A pleasant reflective Emancipation week-end to all.


*1)  The Diplomats’ presence – – why the dickens did I recall seeing Desmond Hoyte at Jimmy Carter’s elbow, when I saw the photography of the top Diplomats with Christopher Ram?

*2)  Five months remain for me to experience an actual lasting, long-term project to mark this Year of African Descendants.

*3)  Can I please get back my $20,000.00 – plus the Lands people took from me without allocating me a few acres? (Look how much the “comrades” are getting!)

‘Til next week!
(Comments? allanafenty@yahoo.com)

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