There is appreciation for the chief as an individual, as there is potential for decency and the development of independent thought processes. But I find nothing to recommend him as leader, healer, or unifier. For certain, there are the canned phrases, the catchy soundbites, and the occasional grudging admissions on issues that roil and burn. But these are all empty fillers and merely confirm the hardened status quo. A close look at the incumbent reveals some uncomfortable realities.
The man is grey; so grey as to be colourless; a movement in alabaster. Call it the presence of political anaemia, and an absence of acumen and élan. He is lacklustre to the point of vacuity in style, ways, intentions, and results. All of this surfaces, despite robust attempts to minimize public exposure. He is the opposite of the other fellow. Because of this, I can live with a Mr Grey any time, but what about the rest of the country?
Well, it drifts and meanders with this latest experimentation, which has proven to be a rotten rope and leaking valve on many fronts. In other words, a confirmed failure in anything of substance. Especially as such relates to corruption (may that word never be heard again locally), rogue cronies, the GPF, transparency, and race relations, among other things. The main man does nothing that would implicate party, or expose comrades. In him reside the soaring personality of a turtle and a similar vision of the world to match. He behaves as if he has no mind of his own; perhaps, he doesn’t. Thousands are entertained; tens of thousands appalled; and hundreds of thousands just plain disgusted. The man believes in nothing, stands for less. Unless, of course, such can be sourced to a certain little red book or manifesto. May I suggest the Ten Commandments instead? The one handed down through Moses.
It is said uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. In Guyana’s leadership circle, the roles are reversed, as there is a crown seeking a head. There is none. Kipling wrote of men who “walk with kings.” Here is someone who walks with party supporters, and then only some of them. The chap before was all bellow, this one is all bulge.
What else is there to say of this newest ‘great Guyanese’?
‘His Accidency’ by prearrangement putters along in dismal gracelessness. He may know that leaders should have a certain silken finesse to soothe first, and heal continuously; call it an exquisite sweep of perception, the talent to seize the political moment for blending and fusing. Yet these considerations are most distant from his political calculus. He is held captive, intimidated, embarrassed, and coerced by the character who went before, and the henchmen left behind. In the meantime, the country marches in lockstep on a treadmill with a yo-yo trapped in a hula-hoop. Clearly, this society must be complimented for its near limitless capacity to go from one dodo bird to another; this time one of the super heavyweight variety.
What to do? Oh, that is known, but no one has the stomach or anatomical sturdiness to spoil the fun. Too often, they are fun lovers themselves. Most of all don’t expect any energy or focused thrust from that other albatross strapped around the neck of the land called the opposition. Somebody said there is a caricature of one out there. I am yet to behold this apparition; meaning opposition, not the caricature. We move along: the journey is hazy, fellow travellers (there are those too) closemouthed, and destination unknown. Meanwhile, the Jolly Roger takes the lead and makes commuters walk the plank on the East Bank.
He is then himself sacrificed as a media offering. That is what happens to unreconstructed buccaneers, and those given a basket to fetch water to bathe ducks.
In closing I share one more thought. I always felt that local political leaders were less than human. Wrong again! Recently, I saw the big man flash by in the heavily tinted, rolled up windows of the speeding black state limousine through the streets of Georgetown. Yes, the sights and smells of the once Garden City force even top dogs to separate themselves from the ugly, stinking realities that ordinary citizens endure daily. Perhaps, in this flicker of recoiling and rushing humanity, there is some smidgen of hope after all…