Everyone is familiar with the great divide, heated and stormy, of the peoples in this land. There is another one that receives little by way of sharp harsh commentary. This is the second great divide that exists between rulers and the ruled, and is characterized by enormous financial separation, monstrous self-satisfying actions, and much that is ugly and hostile to the welfare of the people.
The populations of the second great divide are located in three places: Congress Place, Freedom House, and that mecca of them all known as parliament. The British have one House of Lords; Guyanese have three dedicated to self-service, self-aggrandizement, and self-glorification. What do these lords of the domestic political and social manors do?
To begin with, they take care of themselves; money is the first order of business. These lords rightly castigate men formerly associated with the GPL allegedly for paying themselves, but then turn right around in no time and do the very same thing for themselves and to the tune of an astounding fifty per cent. It is a great position in which to be.
That is, one small calculating group which can reward self through using other people’s hopes, and then draining and dashing those hopes. The foolish, of whom there are countless, will rebut through the pathetic defence that the other people used to do so. And that they did.
But paying oneself handsomely is just the beginning. These same divisive lords in the Guyanese house have a long illuminating history of looking out for family and friends: rich cushy jobs here; scholarships there; segregated housing complexes, heavily tinted luxury sedans (concealing ownership), and lucrative contracts here, there and everywhere.
This is the good life existing at rarefied levels. It is about power rearranged to satiate the hungers of the masters and the greed of the moment. A Chinese proverb goes like this: Love is blind, greed is insatiable. The latter is what political office encapsulates in Guyana.
The masters are as rapacious and calculating as they come. They not only accumulate opulent presents (to themselves) through using the jewels of the land; they also spend much time thinking and working toward enriching themselves in the future. The pillage of the present is not enough.
Time that should be sweated to explore and discover ways of lifting up the nation is instead spent on identifying those areas still untouched and therefore ripe for the seizing and pocketing. This is the nature, the essential characteristics and the motivating interests of the local lords of the realm. It is time for a quick census.
Count it: there are about, give or take, a hundred of them in the tight circle at the top and near to it through history and comradeship. None should mistake these worthies for self-sacrificing Spartans.
Add another couple of hundred sycophants, who, like Zhou Enlai, justify their presence by agreeing with and parroting everything that issues forth from the upper echelons of questionable wisdom. Although it is a politically correct time, I long for such luscious sparkling descriptions as “running dogs of capitalism” who just might be found here and in high places gouging the public.
Thus when the numbers are totted up, the local House of Lords barely amount to a thousand individuals, even when including the motley assortment of gentlemen and ladies-in-waiting for their place in the sun. That leaves approximately 750,000 faceless, voiceless, and meaningless serfs subject to the whims and fancies of this very solid modern day, domestic apparition of the droit du seigneurs’ standards and conducts. Do not put anything past these fine fellows. It has been known to happen.
So where does this leave the nation? Right where it has always been: in the dumps, like Lazarus, foraging for scraps while competing with the stray dogs, and against ingrown and ingrained tribalism. In many respects, the members of the Guyanese House of Lords are, with rare exception, worse than the worst of those once convenient whipping boys: imperialist masters.