Blaming others for our faults and shortcomings seems to be a favourite pastime in this country.
The Opposition, in full control of Parliament, squaring off against a hostile Minority Government side, blames Government for all the stalemates, the delays, poor State accountability, and atrocious governance.
The Government, after 21 years in Office, blames the rulers of the previous 28 years for the woes of this society.
Even in the media, we see two private newspapers, national media outlets, engage in a daily tirade of accusative tit-for-tat against each other, a verbal war that entertains readers but stultifies the society’s self-image.
Wherever citizens turn they see fingers pointing in blame.
We’re like a society in a constant tug-of-war, a verbal battle against ourselves.
And this drains our national energy. When all we see is our leaders, our newspapers, our national figures embroiled in one fight after another, we become disenchanted, disillusioned and we despair.
Yesterday’s newspapers carried the surprising news that the International diplomatic community met with the Opposition coalition, in a fruitless meeting to try to end the impasse over the controversial and stormy anti-money laundering laws, pending now for years.
Government’s failure to negotiate and seek compromise on this crucial matter, as in so many things regarding its governing of this society, is an alarming sign of its inefficiency, pigheadedness and stupidity. Yet, it blames the Opposition. And the Opposition blames the Government for the plight.
Business owners joined the blame bandwagon, asking the politicians to solve the crisis.
This situation duplicates in several other matters, including dealing with corruption, ensuring transparency in public projects and enhancing the nation’s human resource capital.
It leaves us heading nowhere. We stumble along from one fight to the other, shouting blame at each other, even as the capital city falls apart, as garbage heaps pile up, again, around Georgetown, as our education results reflect a myopic lack of vision and focus at the Ministry of Education, as even our young people grow up in a society suffering widespread illiteracy.
We look at the signs of material wealth and boast that we’ve solved our poverty problem. We look at one outstanding academic success and think we’ve conquered illiteracy. We look at the Government lacking professional ethics and the Opposition passive and lukewarm and bemoan our governance.
Our business owners suffer from a creeping economy, and we settle and make-do, even as Chinese, Brazilian and Indian investors swallow up the big projects.
And us citizens, too: we see poor road building, and groan in despair, but do nothing. We encounter a lame national media and turn away. We gaze at Parliament and see our fellow citizens, deranged, dirty, naked, shouting to themselves on the sidewalk, and we cross the street and carry on.
None of it is our problem. It’s all theirs. They had better fix things. And the years pass, and those who don’t migrate laugh it off in self-derision, relieving ourselves with Link Show at the Cultural Centre.
As tragic and depressing as this sounds, it borders so much on the grotesque that it’s almost hilarious.
How could we be sitting today, in our capital city, on piles of garbage heaps because the City Council cannot clear the garbage? Again! City residents become speechless in shock and disgust, but the situation is so tragic, so incredibly unbelievable, that there’s nothing to do but laugh it off, especially because all we hear emanating from the powers that be is the City Hall blaming Government, and the Government blaming City Hall.
Oh, let’s not even mention Local Government elections. The Ministry of Local Government, whose Minister, Ganga Persaud, who should be awarded a gold medal for a stunning lack of results, blames the Opposition for over a decade of no polls. And the Opposition blames the Government.
Guyanese all around the world look on at their homeland from afar, and shake their heads in confusion, and the ever-present despair regarding how their nation is being governed. Now we have the international diplomatic community in Georgetown stunned out of its wits because each effort sees blame fly like poison darts.
What’s to be done?
We need solutions. We need results. We need action. We need to see ourselves taking responsibility for our own state of being.
It’s not Government’s fault. It’s not the Opposition’s fault. It’s not City Hall’s fault. It’s not the business community’s fault. It’s not the media’s fault. Whose fault is it that, as a society, we foster leaders over us of such poor calibre?
What’s not working is simply this: nobody takes responsibility for the state of our society. Those who, by their wit and cunning, assume positions of power, lord it over the rest of us, because we remain so passive. In our irresponsibility we succumb.
Even our lame-duck Prime Minister’s office remains passive and disengaged.
We’ve got to stop seeing the other as a punching bag, as a scapegoat, as an excuse for our own lack of responsible action, and demand results from whoever is mandated to produce results.
If Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee cannot solve our crisis of crime, we all come together and devise a solution. If President Ramotar cannot sign the Local Government bills, we all come together and find a solution. If the Ministry of Education insists on celebrating five elite students and shuns the 16,000 who failed English at CXC in the past two years, we come together and find a solution.
Those leaders who fail must fall, because their failure cannot be allowed to stand up as the deity we worship. Instead, those who fail would see us solving the problem, coming up with solutions outside of their own stunted leadership.
In taking responsibility, we look at the root of our problems. One root of our despair as a nation is this national disgrace of the blame game. We must stop it, now.
It’s not their fault. Rather, it’s our responsibility.