There is no shortage of lengthy academic analyses of Guyana’s political landscape. There is also no dearth of thinkers who say that Guyanese are apathetic, unobservant or politically naïve. Though learned analysis is integral to the identification of problems and the search for solutions, I have often thought that in many instances, we make simple matters far more complex than they need to be; sometimes, we overthink. And while greater involvement of citizens is always most desirable, I believe that many Guyanese are indeed interested in matters that affect their country. One need only read the comments in the online version of your newspaper to find poof of this fact.
On May 17, your newspaper published a report captioned, ‘Gov’t hasn’t considered separate city elections.’ In the online comments section, one observer wrote: “If one could, imagine that a fair election would result in the prompt detention of some people who shape policy in at least one political organisation. Charges involving narcotics and money laundering spring to mind. If those people believe that is true all we are seeing and feeling is them trying to stay out of jail. It’s not about totalitarianism or party paramountcy or any fancy political theory. It’s about basic self- preservation”.
Editor, that single paragraph, written by an unknown observer, may contain more insight than many scholarly articles written by professors or political scientists. The fact is: much of what we observe including the wilful neglect of democratic processes, rejection of democratic initiatives, oppression of freedoms and flouting of the law, may be understood in this context. Many powerful people who occupy high office are not only afraid to lose their high-paying jobs; they are not only scared of losing power. Instead, they are terrified that when they lose power, the investigations will commence; questions will be asked and the books will be audited. And they are terrified that they will go to jail.