Santa Claus came early to Guyana this year. He came in October to play special host to two prized political children: one had laboured in vain and the other dissipated scarce natural resources. Now there is a third of whom I am not a fan. Never can be! But in the topsy-turvy, Alice in Wonderland world that is political Guyana, nothing is as straightforward as it might appear at first blush.
Those three beneficiaries of Santa’s attentions and largesse are really three wise political figures from distant ideological shores. Or so this nation is led to believe; it is part of the holiday fare and merriment. They pretend to hate capitalism, but know how to manoeuvre to capitalize on great deals when offered; every day is a Black Friday for them. And why not, as great deals are offered by the Santa Claus of 2015, who is a retired and disguised proconsul elevated to the height of Pontifex Maximus. He is the one trying his hand at bridge-building at Christmas time here. In Guyana, it is called social cohesion and inclusive governance. Way to go, emperor!
As Santa, the entrance charges to behold his sombre ruddy face (make that sunburned) are steep: For these three local wise men crossing lengthy floors, it has to be gold, frankincense, and myrrh; and in persuasive bulk. The golden treasures embedded in revealing documents; the frankincense scents guiding along shadowy trails; and myrrh to cover over deep ugly political wounds still oozing. Fifty years later ‘ax the tax’ becomes reality. Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same. But remember that cautionary note: pay unto Caesar the things due to Caesar. The general expects his due. They had better be good, these quid pro quos in the works.
Yes, the Guyanese magi have gifts they bring and come to pay homage at the feet of the new arrival. Santa welcomes them: forgiveness here, no fault there, nothing wrong anywhere else. And so those once earmarked to be festooned in the translucence of electric orange jumpsuits are now garlanded in mistletoe green. They count their blessings and are laughing their heads under the newfound delights of swaying soothing palm trees. It is a fitting symbol. It is that time of the year.
At the risk of being sacrilegious, this is the incestuous Guyanese political way, its shabby truth, and its sordid life. Thus I say, Oh come all ye (un)faithful… There are more goodies waiting for the adventurous. Just don’t come empty handed.