The altruism of public service is nowhere to be found

Dear Editor,

The sprawling, open-ended discussion – a spectacle, really – continues about who must be captain, and who should be assigned which key slots. Incredibly, Guyanese politics is now the career path of choice, the Holy Grail of success, and a fabulous mother lode of unparalleled reward. Clear thinking citizens need to pause and take notice. They should intervene and articulate publicly a different outlook and how all of this comes across.

Guyanese must adapt an American mindset, which is that less government is better, and less centralized power is mandatory. Too much power transforms individuals and groups into unmanageable open Pandora’s Boxes. The history of the last 50 years speaks for itself, and requires no rehashing. But it is a sweet calling, this pursuit of power; just observe the fellows falling over themselves in a series of increasingly desperate stratagems to secure internal ascendancy first, then national power next. It is an intoxicating time, bejewelled with the alluring dew of that rarest of rarest aphrodisiacs –power, absolute power. From all indications the seductive taste and scent and touch are all mesmerizing to the point of being irresistible. Grown, apparently mature men pant breathlessly, weakly in the throes of power’s mesmerizing siren whisper.

Surely, having being badly burnt so many times before, Guyanese would shrink from such characters to whom power has become the be all and end all. If its acquisition means so much now, what could it come to represent and metamorphose into later? How would it be wielded, promises notwithstanding, at the expense of wearied citizens? Who could stop them then, if they lack the discipline, the humility to manage themselves today? Still, I think that if the electorate is comfortable with such frenzied, undignified scrambling from the aspiring, it should go right ahead and embrace them. And enjoy them, too.

For the remaining concerned in society I suggest that those who pursue the possibility of power with such relentless ferocity and single-minded dedication must be looked at very suspiciously and very critically. This exhibition of dangerous, possibly treacherous, ambition is, by itself, a warning, and dangerous. The naked ugliness associated with political prostrating, political wrangling, and political deceiving concretizes the belief that the altruism of genuine public service is nowhere to be found in this realm and among the hustlers. It has to become for the principled and the patriotic a calling to be shunned because of its abominable domestic nature. Power and the all-out pursuit of power in Guyana have come to epitomize a rat race in a crab barrel housed in a snake pit. And no honest and honourable individual should not want to be anywhere in the vicinity.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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