‘Draining the swamp’ is impossible

Dear Editor,

For about a hundred and fifty years “draining the swamp” has been a flourishing glowing part of the American political lexicon.  I am struck by how much that primarily American slogan applies to the Guyanese environment and its own political operators.  The problem in even contemplating, much less embarking upon, such an ambitious draining undertaking here is that this country is a land of many malarial swamps, with all converging into one vast sickening national expanse of the worst that is imaginable.  It brings the delirium of social fever, and the chills of individual fears.

It is my position that draining the Guyanese national swamp starts with parliament; any comprehensive authentic forensics would reveal that a great majority present there are infected with sharp malignancies that are powered by ethical and mental decay.  Those ghostly characters there seek not to drain the swamp, but to immerse the citizenry even deeper into it.  For their part, the people who put them there also like to gambol contentedly in the feculence that has come to characterize what passes for discourse, postures, and visions throughout this stricken place.

The dark forbidding swamp that is so much part and parcel of a sulfurous Guyanese existence cannot be drained by people, whether inside parliament or on the outside, whose first commitments are to maintain a state of governance and way of life that has trapped and enfeebled and poisoned.  This society, from nearly every shred of evidence available, almost every word uttered or written, and just about every position adopted is in love with itself, and utterly resistant to what is demanded to go to a different place, another plateau of existence.  Thus, there is the raw fatalistic existentialism of an assembly of dissonant tribes paralyzed by diseases of the mind and spirt, if not body as well.  When a whole nation is uncaring to the extent that its peoples contribute to the problems of its present and future, then that same nation is unequipped to be part of its own cure.  To think otherwise has to be representative of the delusionary.  To be sure, there is fluttering and busyness, and a great deal of flailing and foundering, but it is all so much hollow sound and empty fury signifying the faded echoes of lost causes never honestly embraced, never fully pursued.

Without a doubt, the inhabitants of the swamp that is the National Assembly are but a microcosm of the larger swamp beyond its stained walls. Nobody is desirous, save for a dispirited desultory few, to dip even a toe into the hostile miasma, much less to seek to drain that which has enfeebled and will continue to do so for the long future.  Thus we are where we are, and not much by way of hope in sight.  Many crave with the passions of addicts for a return to that which has devastated children, environment, and character.

Like the so-called leaders, there is acceptance and satisfaction, if not glee, with the petty hustling, the backroom conniving, the lucrative pillaging, and the continuing concealing of what has undermined and harmed.  When the people live in proud imitation of their leaders, exhibit those same ugly standards and values, the same rank immorality and lack of the honourable, then there is nothing about which to complain.  In the eyes of the patently backward, the situation as it stands is far from swampy, but either of paradise regained; or on the other side of one that is temporarily lost.

Hence, when I hear of those (who should be isolated from society) pontificate about right and wrong, and mythologize about the glorious Guyanese way experienced or conjured, there is only fascination that so many can fool themselves for so long and so convincingly too; fictions cultivated long enough sprout into moving scriptural strength and power.  There is no pus to be drained.  It is why in this swamp called Guyana, followers have little problem with abusive husbands (speak loudly and brandish a domestic stick); or serial self-helpers at the trough of the treasury (currency buffets); or professional ambulance chasers (Mr Hyde(s) ripping off the public’s face).

Therefore, a very strong case should be made that many laws of Guyana could be declared unconstitutional. The chronically lawless cannot make laws. Or at least they never should have been so entrusted with such a weighty and principled responsibility.

Editor, it is why I insist that draining the Guyanese swamp is now a political, social, and cultural impossibility. To drain infers that somewhere there is either outlet or high ground or acreage of approach. I regret to report that not enough of any of these exist.

Yours faithfully,
GHK Lall

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