The nation’s leading political figures have busied themselves of recent to take walks down memory lane, and share with citizens that it has been a primrose path. They have dedicated themselves to placing the brightest sheen on their party’s contributions to the magnificent state of this assembly of ethnicities. Notice: not country, but assembly of ethnicities. Historian, and now Head-of-State, President David Arthur Granger, proved himself to be no slouch in this suddenly very competitive department, through demonstrating his own determination to not be left behind in positioning and repositioning his PNC for the record, and for the favourable reception from his own choir. Unfortunately, as in the case of the PPP, that delivery and reception does not align with either old histories, or new realities, or promised futurities.
In his address to comrades at the special celebration of the 60th anniversary of the PNC, His Excellency was in fine feather. Again, the historian in the president should have known that that feather has been dampened and made soggy by the enduring record of misery and lack of accomplishment that has been the lot of most citizens in this overbaked sward. A few random selections from his address should illustrate and enlighten.
First, the President spoke proudly of his party’s association with the existence of UG. I will let that one pass, and give him a bye because of goodwill and nothing else. I do seem to remember, from the haze of boyhood recollection, when this now venerated institution was derided and dismissed as ‘Jagan night school.’ It has come a long way since then, despite lacking in those hallmarks of academia, namely scepticism and dissent and objectivity. UG, however, did metamorphose in the interim as an extended parking lot and guest house for comrades from both sides of the political aisle.
Second, the nation’s leader shared with his attentive audience the huge indelible imprint his party (theirs) has contributed to social cohesion in this ruptured, bitter, antagonistic land. What an imprint it has been, according to the comrade leader; except that I must depart from his self-serving epiphanies in this regard. It is sufficient to say, with conviction and authority, that local history indicates that there was/is no party, no leader, no actions, at no time, which prioritized and worked genuinely and comprehensively to reverse social distrust, social malice, and social hatreds prevailing. In fact, the ugly record has been of nurturing those very social evils in the belligerent byways and tense trenches of urban and rural Guyana. There are no innocents here; there are no heroes anywhere. This is what has facilitated a heaving troubled path to power in this land, and repeatedly so.
To repeat the incontestable, the limited perks, the scrawny pie, and the ferocious battleground and competition for those paltry stakes have all been intrinsically hostile and incompatible with any palpable social cohesion visions; visions not efforts. It just cannot be, promises and platitudes aside, when the terrain is so loaded with temptation and ripe for ethnic exploitation, which is exactly what has occurred time and again. Still, I must give President Granger some credit for thinking of and tabling social cohesion as a priority earlier; today, that withers on the vine in the face of individual, collective, and adversarial resistance and intractability. In this, he is a man ahead of his time; that time might (might) arrive in another fifty years hence.
In the same vein, and extracting some more from the president’s address to the rapt brethren, I repeat that no political party in this haphazard society, despite soaring continual rhetoric, has been about an inclusive ideology and national integration. To be sure, the words are there; maybe even the thoughts, but the heart to make such happen has been sadly missing. The implementation and insistence have just not happened. Thus, anyone (self included) who advocates the existence of national integration, or any concerted endeavours thereto is flogging a long dead horse, whose putrid corpse rests right before the eyes, and just below the nostrils. Hearts and minds have been poisoned too long by too many and too much. The situation is arguably now irreversible, if not irreparable.
Next, in terms of economics, it is 2017 and the nation is starting over (again) after the latest bacchanalian financial binge, after decades of mismanagement by both parties, including Mr Granger’s own. Economic adventurism, fiscal irresponsibility, and wide disturbing unethical strains have sabotaged the past, the present and the progressive. The hangover is crippling, as many can attest today. It is why Guyanese continue to scramble, lament, and depart. Clearly, circumstances have not changed for the better at the broad grassroots level, despite the feverishly tainted efforts of this political economic expert or the other one; be they from yesterday or way back.
In sum, party potentates and national leaders, present and prior, only see the sun; they have earned the dubious distinction of trying to blind locals with its mesmerizing brightness. There is no darkness, no harshness, and no unrighteousness; only their unpersuasive view of the Guyanese world, which misleads no one, save for those who have tasted the fruits and rewards of victory. The only problem is that there is this massive collision with uncooperative history, revolting circumstances as they stand, and powerful realities to the contrary.
It is nice for the President to enter the public relations and rewriting frays, with his own offerings of sweet fare. Like his counterparts in the twilight zone on the other side, it is so sweet that acute toothaches come quickly. It is a sign of the deep-seated decay that has taken root.