The Integrity Commission is neither sensitive nor pivotal

Dear Editor,

I read that agreement has been reached on the names submitted for the Integrity Commission.  Just when I had given up hope, along comes the announcement of the first political agreement on anything (repeat anything) in ages.  In view of the track record of rejection and the motions of careful consideration why agreement on this Integrity Commission?

Before proceeding, I extend best wishes to the four members; they are now saddled with responsibility to do something.  Also, I have no knowledge of what these citizens represent; never heard of them before, except one, and all of which is for the better.  So, again, I ask the question: why agreement on this particular commission, and almost nothing else?  Ever!

In the sleaze and gutter that is Guyana (and it is), integrity, honourable conduct, and the rest do not count for much and do not have any premiums attached.  In effect an Integrity Commission is a low value, a necessary evil that must be tolerated, if only in name, in this country.  Hence there is ready agreement.  It is neither sensitive nor pivotal; it does not rise to the level, as the Americans are fond of saying, of a drop-dead gamechanger.  The worse that a functioning forceful Integrity Commission can deliver is to expose publicly and embarrass temporarily the few (and their groups) who get careless and believe themselves too clever by half.  There are those still around who believe that much in themselves not to care enough to cover their tracks or change their dirty ways. The occasional ones who get caught usually admit nothing, remain silent, and fall on some instrument of sorts left to distract the unwary.  Think not sword, but more of a garden hose. There is little damage done and the heroic guilty (à la Ollie North) move on to be applauded and embraced by mindless partisans, and the reward of promised waiting sinecures.  The momentary foray into the integrity world passes, until the next slap-of-the wrist occasion comes up for those stupid enough to leave a trail and to get caught.  With due respect all around, as the toothless goes, this is not about a dog, but of dentures on a shelf searching for an owner and some chomping that may come its way.  In sum, an Integrity Commission in Guyana can be agreed upon because it is about no voltage, no decibel political lightning and thunder.  In the scheme of things, it is immaterial and inconsequential.

Editor, as should be obvious by now, I am struggling mightily to attach some interest and gain some comfort in the finalizing of an Integrity Commission here.  I fail.  When both sides of the divide can coalesce to this harmonious point, then it only reiterates that this Integrity Commission is a meaningless candle in the great roaring furnace of passionate political endeavours.  It is that insignificant; remember those words.

Now if the nominations concerned elections administration or court administration, then the intricacy and sophistication of far ranging calculations become a matter of life and death.  Literally one vote could make a 5-year (lifetime) difference.  Such is the heat and emotion (and intrigues) behind names nominated and names rejected.  Then follow the supposed intellectual interpretations of original intent, and the squabbling over not phrases but syllables.  The best scopes available to man (sorry ladies), be they nuclear medicine scrutiny, or satellite probe, or round-the-clock electronic and human surveillance, all fail to match the cellular dissection that goes on here when overheated and menacing political issues are involved.  They are not of integrity.  The political genetics of pedigree, the particular shade of human tint, and the historical record of any marginal misstep (according to the objectors) are all enough to condemn to the hellfire of oblivion.  Election and the courts are where the substantial earthshattering action lives.  Any misinterpretation, any misjudgment can mean a death knell and lead to a death spiral.

In the jagged lethal shoals of political Guyana, the chance and nonchalance associated with agreeing on the composition of an Integrity Commission can be taken; it will not be fatal.  But in the winner takes all, steak and champagne world of power and possibilities, it is no such luck, and nothing doing.  I regret being this cynical, even so negative, but chalk it up to conditioning by the environment.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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