State Board members must not regard themselves as placeholders

Dear Editor,

It represents a small stirring, but provides basis for hope.  The willingness by two young men to go against heavy, near unmanageable seas, and take a stand ‒ a public stand ‒ gives pause, and the fervent wish to see more of the same.

I have some acquaintance with Mr Imran Khan; Mr Mark Jacobs is a total stranger.  Their probing, questioning, dissenting actions on their respective state boards (NCN and Housing) came like the proverbial breath of fresh air.  My interpretations read this way:  This is not why I am here; and I cannot in good conscience pretend that this is acceptable; and I am not a rubber stamp.  Last, I will not be one, and do not try to make one of me.

These separate individual bravura postures do not rise to the level of full-scale board revolt, as both young men are outmanned and outgunned.  Still, precedents have been set: This is not right.  I will not be a party to business as usual, old time stories, and the same sad songs.  Thus there is the articulation and ventilation of what is portrayed as innocent and harmless, (even progressive and constructive) by the well-ensconced spineless, when the facts and circumstances militate in unambiguous disagreement.

I am delighted to read that the two protesting board members are simply asking, demanding, that their presence not be viewed as an automatic toeing of the company/party line; that they not be mistaken for being either blind or stupid; and that they not be taken for granted.

I think that all of this should make the members of other boards look deeply inward, and scrutinize themselves honestly and persistently: Is my presence and posture emblematic of the principled?  Are my contributions characterized by the unquestionable and the impeccable?  And last, perhaps foremost, are all that I am standing for doing justice to the longsuffering Guyanese people?

State Board members must not regard themselves as mere placeholders or as bumps on logs.  They must demonstrate keen intelligence and growing fortitude.  The GPL, the GRA, and the Guyana Chronicle (among others) are under the piercing searchlight of the microscope.  They must deliver quality.  Or they must be pilloried.  Then they must go.

To be clear, and for a jolting dose of realism, these boards have too many who are just delighted to be around, make some polite noises for the record, vote with the pack (what is believed desired), collect a stipend, and move contentedly along.  It goes without saying that this is injurious to society and possesses neither curative nor consolatory benefits.  It is why conscientious and honourable men and women must stand up, stand out, and stand alone, should circumstances warrant.  They must separate themselves from party animal, submissive herd, and lost sheep.  They must get down and speak up.  The exhortation is, that for once, let the interests of this country come first.  Be aware that no national awards will be forthcoming.

As if answering to my call for more voices, there was the heartening Sunday Stabroek headline of four others stepping forward to register their position.  I have shared space with Messrs Thomas and Kissoon.  More bells toll more insistently.  Hopefully, the creeping disenchantment will move listeners and readers to act.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall


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