What’s going on at Freedom house?

Social media steamed with stunned shock this week at an electrifying media statement out of the headquarters of the ruling People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP), Freedom House.

The media release lashed out in resentment, anger and bitter accusation at “oppositional forces”, with this grotesque tirade: “The PPP leadership expressed disgust over what appears to be a sinister plot of the media in consort with the opposition political parties, PNC/APNU and AFC to destabilise Guyana’s economy by attacking and undermining foreign investments, the local private sector and public sector investment projects in general”.

The State-owned Guyana Chronicle proceeded yesterday to publish the alarming media release, with an info-graphic screaming “hostile media”, the graphic design a picture of gothic insanity.

Ways of looking and feelingAlthough claiming it’s the sentiment of the Party’s Central Committee, one would hope such an irrational, juvenile tantrum did not sit well with all of the Committee members.

Given the collectivist nature of the Party, the media statement exudes a unanimous tone. But all’s not well within the Party. Since the poor showing at the 2011 general elections, some insiders feel Robert Persaud did a poor job managing the campaign of Donald Ramotar.

Dissenting voices within the ranks remain, some even sympathetic to high-profile ousted ex-Committee members like Ralph Ramkarran and Moses Nagamootoo.

After over two decades in power, the party portrays an image that is dysfunctional, disoriented and absolutely disregarding of the basic decencies of public discourse.

Now under the leadership of the pugnacious, hardline politician, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, who took over the reins of General Secretary, the ruling Party stumbles along devoid of new ideas, lacking innovative thinking, and refusing to adopt enlightened positions on national issues.

Fully aware that, to move forward, our nation requires magnanimous leadership, engaging across divides and embracing reconciliation, the Party leaders refuse to face up to the difficult task of building bridges and healing divides.

Beaten under 28 years of high-handed, and also very corrupt, governance of the People’s National Congress, and these 21 years of even more alarming corrupt governance of the PPP, our nation reels in apathy with the shock of what the media statement implies.

The ruling Party sees ominous evil shadows and dark conspiracies when it looks at the Parliamentary Opposition, seeming to ignore the role of this constitutional mandate of our democracy.

Not content with splaying its wildfire accusations across the national landscape, the Party proceeded to use threatening language against unnamed national Media outlets: “It was the resolve of the party’s leadership to adopt a more aggressive strategy to continually expose and dismantle the obstructionist agenda of the opposition media. The party’s machinery will support an intensified approach to protect the national interest, safeguard our democracy and gains from the incessant opposition media assault. The Central Committee pledged that the opposition and its media will not go unchallenged at any point”, the report in the Chronicle said, making it the official position.

Our nation stumbles along in a social quagmire of monumental crisis. Whilst the ruling Party, with a 50-year history and 21 years in continuous Government, busied itself attacking the media and the Parliamentary Opposition with inflammatory rhetoric, a Magistrate at a court in the same Berbice area where the Committee was meeting was sentencing three young orphan teenage girls to police custody and youth incarceration.

Only the indignant voices of ordinary citizens on social media saved these young souls from a life of dread and torment.

What kind of society have we become?

When our leaders can confer at a closed-door party confab and come out swinging at us with glazed eyes, imagining us not as concerned citizens but as terrorizing enemies conspiring against them, not seeing our poor, illiterate children suffering under an inhumane justice system lacking compassion or kindness, but lusting after their own greed to hang on to power at all costs, we must face the fact that we’ve descended to a low as a society that is crass and borders on social insanity.

As we prepare to usher in the year 2014, we must demand from our leaders an engaged style of leadership.

We cannot continue with this acrimony, strife and constant verbal attack.

If the governing Party can spew, without any regard for the morale of citizens in this holiday season, such ugly words in a damning media release, we have tumbled to lower standards than ever before.

One would expect our Government leaders and the leaders of the ruling Party to be considerate, compassionate, refined, kind to us, the Guyanese citizenry.

Across this land people wake up every day facing a hard life. Most citizens can barely make ends meet. Government workers, now fighting against a mere five percent increase in their wages, make do with a meagre lifestyle, because their wages cannot cover the cost of living.

And this is what Guyanese people get from their leaders. These leaders live in fancy houses and drive luxury vehicles and take home salaries from token jobs at Ministries and Office of the President, being paid salaries and contract fees comparable to North America.

And yet they have the audacity to fling words of wrath across the land, annoying the ears of citizens, assaulting the motivation of the Guyanese to get up and work to build this country, and stifling the inspiration that beats in our hearts.

We cannot ignore these vile public utterances, because such language shapes our national conversation, impacts how we see ourselves as a people, affects the mindset of the Guyanese citizen.

We cannot allow the mighty and powerful ruling Party to trample on our motivation, to use words to fling us into an inferiority complex of damaging consequence.

Citizens must demand that our leaders develop the kind of refined, noble, statesman-like character that would cause us to rise as a nation.

News breaks around the world now on the instant. And the media statement got wide circulation on social media, with Guyanese all over the world able to see what the leaders of the PPP think of the media and the Parliamentary Opposition. Apart from a few die-hard, subjective Party fans, the statement generated widespread dismay and disbelief on social media.

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