What has this nation become?

Dear Editor,

I look around at the surrounding landscape and wonder at what this nation has become.  Disgust is long gone; there is only dismay left.

What are some of the primary elements in the national character?  Surely, these must include an immeasurable self-centredness, along with substantial deviousness.  Here are leaders who rip the nation off while wrapping themselves in the flag; here are officials who raid the bank with a fixed smile and ready handshake.  Then there are the many restless citizens who turn right around and gouge neighbour and friend without a second thought in an endless series of creative frauds.

Another side of this multi-sided coin reveals that fear is now an inseparable national companion.  A foreigner shared these beauties: “Guyanese are sellouts; they are treacherous.”  I recoiled, but by and large I cannot but agree.  I should know.  There are so many Brutuses around who cheerfully masquerade as stalwarts for the republic.  If there was a modern Caesar in the making, he would turn back at the Rubicon.  Spying and betrayal at the individual level is almost a national pastime.  Some may be more important than the President given the amount of attention and interest received.

Are we truly this far gone?  Is all hope lost?

Big men, who have grown fat on the feasts from the land, crow about airport and hotel and the monstrosities that serve as cover for dark deeds, when one and all (save for them) trudge daily through filth.  Noise and garbage are the order of the day; visitors should be sufficiently moved to remove shoes and flare the nostrils to absorb the unique domestic ambience.  It is exhilarating, this ticking time bomb in the midst.  Do come again, there will be more of the same waiting to greet the hardy.

Initiative and agitation are as choked as the drains and roadways.  Nowadays, chronic corruption is no longer even worth a sensible conversation; it is now a hollow disregarded echo.

No one listens; no one cares enough anymore.  It is how jaded all have become.  We talk and write furiously, endlessly; we disappear conveniently and meekly.  And very quickly, too.

The government smartly settled  for a strategy of silence as its all-purpose answer for anything and everything that was troublesome.  The once loud “opposition media” and strident “vocal minority” have petered out into the insignificance of a minor, tolerable nuisance.  It is one that is patronized for the most part, and allowed to collapse under its own weight.

The question is this: from here to where?  The President himself is well aware of sharp developments in early December 2011.  Depending on where one is located, all is quiet for now on the Western Front.

How long?  How much more?  How will this unfold in the nearness and abruptness of time?  I know that the answers and solutions are known at the levels and with the people that count.  Just don’t expect anything different; there are too much pickings around to be harvested, and too many secrets to protect.  The nation is on its own, and it is every man for himself.

Yours faithfully,
GHK Lall

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