There are some interesting dynamics at work here in Guyana. Once there is the interest and persistence to think beyond the herd, and to take a panoramic view of the ways things are, enlightenment follows. The dynamics revolve around one tough, far-reaching, and hard-to-digest word. That word is change.
The changes once demanded and now occurring are not of the kind anticipated in many quarters. They do not have the texture, feel, or ferocity of familiar times past. There was the expectation of wholesale purges. That could have been only of a particular kind. While there are reports of some of this happening, the reality is that nothing near to the housecleaning thought to be on the way has occurred. Many do not appreciate or have the time of day for such a careful approach. They want the change of people gone, and in droves. This change in methodology (and result) is unacceptable.
Next, a lot of people from all around believed that there would have been a perpetuation of the merry old ways, especially as such relate to money, and given the history of the new people. They do not desire and resist vociferously the changes now brought about by implementation. Some of the rules and regulations being implemented today were already on the books a long time hence. Previously, they were either ignored, or circumvented, or suppressed by influential figures. Today’s changes signify applying what was always there by making it come to life and count towards the treasury. That is, the people’s treasury.
To put matters in perspective, nobody likes to pay a penny more than is due. In the grand levying and collection conspiracy that was prevalent around these parts for an enduring era, many did not even bother with going through the motions of paying a little something to garner some legitimacy. Matters were that blatant and players that emancipated. Now there are nostalgic cries and great lamentations over standard charges that necessitate the newness (the change) of paying something. Private citizens and the private sector are among the chief breast beaters and hair-pullers.
Before, everybody, including sullied participants, had serious problems with corruption. Nowadays, the same people do not want to hear of, and have no stomach for, anti-corruption postures and pursuits, as a steep price is attached. The price could be extracted from them in due course; it is too close to home. The word is that people prefer corruption; they condemn change. Everybody gains; everybody is happy.
As written before I, too, have a problem with taxes: too much, too quickly. But the piper has to be paid; that he has been starved and denied for too long brings no comfort to the struggling. So there is that harsh unforgiving change in the midst, which I think could have been introduced differently. As a quick aside, I should have thought that the VAT on private education protestors (parents) would be wiser to investigate, pressure, and demand higher standards and higher delivery from those institutions where they pay close to six figures per semester, and then still have to fork out more funds for lessons elsewhere. I believe that the VAT charges would work out to much less than the lessons expenses incurred on a monthly basis; once parents insist on value for money, there would be no urgent need for lessons. Wise parents would end up saving. In terms of the financially strapped, I suggest that the government consider some form of means testing criteria to extend selective exemptions towards the VAT afflicted in this case. I move on and away from the financial.
On the matter of national harmony, loud have been the calls. But very few, whether in government or opposition ranks, are deeply truly desirous of the hard changes required at the personal, community, and party levels. Thus, the peoples of this land commit and recommit endlessly to remaining in a mentally, environmentally, and spiritually deficient state. No change is better on this one than any change bandied around.
Then there is clamour about noise pollution; yet only the lonely are prepared to be subjected to the travails and changes associated with curfews. After all, what is a little bit of noise…? Everybody was happy before this spoilsport government come up with these social straightjackets. Earplugs are helpful.
Talking about government, that behemoth itself speaks glowingly about change, even as it keeps around men with unchanging visions. They have future purposes. As for the opposition, it remains as unchanging as the sea. Somebody should tell it that the rich harvests from good times are gone for good; and so, too, are the opportunities and time for it to change its evil ways and sickly tunes. The Northerners are just as unchanging as the locals: they have neither patience nor interest in the depravities that stuck around for approximately two decades. No mas!
Editor, there are many old saws about change. It does not come easy; it is despised and resisted; it takes time, sometimes inordinately so. Those are all true. But there are two more: change comes from self-sacrifice and some are for the better.