This desperate reaching for foreign friends will come up empty

Dear Editor,

I learn that the opposition is gearing up to lobby for foreign support in the matter involving the Gecom chairmanship appointment (SN October 26).  The best that I can say is: good luck on that score, given that every foreign overture and exhortation (and pressure) on sensitive issues were dismissed previously by the same leaders now talking about lobbying for favourable hearing.  There are just too many troubling memories, and too much serious distrust in foreign minds, and especially in the ones that count.  The now opposition (then government) dug its own grave; now it must sleep in it.

The first thing that should be noticed is that significant foreign plenipotentiaries have been thunderously silent.  It is telling, and furnishes no foothold for the local lobbyists-in-waiting.  Those doors are unwelcoming.  Sure, there may be polite listening and patronizing, but not much more.  For there was a time-many times-when the powers approached and appealed: extradite a few; instead the targets were protected and given safe harbour, many safe harbours.  It was a similar response when the call came for known and named money launderers: there was the by then characteristic dissembling, stonewalling, and snarling, too.  In sum, too many domestic phantoms were given sanctuary.  Now today, there is crying and running to tap into the same foreign wells that were spat upon routinely with reckless abandon and endless chortling.

Editor, who is going to listen today to that once rollicking wild bunch of insulators, now transformed into a searching groveling hunting party; a party hunting for a listening ear, a sympathetic heart, and some consideration, any kind that is helpful to its cause?  More pointedly, which power (and there is only one) is going to be willing to trust a multi-billion dollar (U.S.) offshore investment to the whims and caprices of what one of those same foreign powers once undiplomatically labeled a “monstrosity?”  Even if there were some meagre inclination to take a chance with the party itself, none is gullible enough, or possesses the risk appetite to digest and tolerate the once swaggering, now hat-in-hand leader.  Countless opportunities were lost, and now the principal trustees will not gamble that a political leader has discovered either God or integrity.  There is simply no confidence in the opposition; only deep-seated anxieties and considerable distaste.  Foreign lobbying or not, this is where matters coalesce now; the whirlwinds repeatedly sowed for a long time will haunt and hurt in the future in the worst possible way.

To repeat positions from previous writings, foreigners have had some contribution-an active hand, strategic distance, or tacit approval-in one national election here after another.  I venture that that will be even more pronounced now, but subtly so in this 21st century, given that three letter word ringing in every Guyanese ear.  Thus, I envision that this desperate reaching for foreign friends will come up empty; it will garner no more than bland platitudes here, meaningless comfort there, and mostly nothing of substance from everywhere else.  This is the road to political perdition that was paved so unthinkingly, so arrogantly a while back.

The best that I can see developing for the opposition is that there might be developing interest and insistence on some form of National Front alliance, so as not to jeopardize that underwater investment.  Those discoveries also come with other byproducts: they facilitate pressuring a once rambunctious neighbour closer to the margins, getting even, and getting back to square one through a formidable multinational presence.  There is a lot at stake, beyond the ambitions of wretched Guyanese calculators, reduced to grasping and begging.

I think that, knowing a full cup is out of the question, the PPP is ready to settle for a cup of any other dimension, no matter how minor; it had better be.  For it is either that or the bleakness of a long unyielding wilderness.  As I close, I remember that matters deteriorated with that beauty from Sir Walter Scott: “oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”  Now the price must be paid, notwithstanding the edge of numbers and sentiment and all.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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