There is a well-developed con game being played in Guyana; it is an enriching two-card farce, a two-faced deception. It involves the amazing gymnastics performed by some of the owners behind the loudest, most consistent voices against corruption in this country. These same outraged voices are among the people doing sanitizing work (books, legal advocacy, and other protecting covering) for those most responsible for spreading corrupting cancers through every nook and cranny of this land. Whereas the practitioners may not find this to be conflicting and disgraceful and disingenuous, in my book this is monumental hypocrisy and an enduring part of the sepsis that kills this place daily.
I would be the first to say that every citizen has a constitutional right to work, to toil for anyone they wish; and by the same token, every citizen has a constitutional right to best expertise available, and which could be afforded. I would similarly take the lead in articulating that high-calibre professionals, men of honour, ought to be prudent and conscientious in their choice of clients, and on whose behalf they will lend the prestige of their presence, and the accumulated wisdom of their years. A principled line has to be drawn somewhere: it is that personally definable hallmark of one’s character that is sacred and sets apart. The kinds of money (the kinds railed against publicly) with which certain kinds of clients can reward staggeringly has to be found objectionable and repugnant. The message, point, and stand are simple: integrity not for sale. And yet, there is little by way of principled resistance and refusal, by the insistence on distance from any association with that which is found so damnable in public forums and channels. Such is the great game, Guyanese style.
There has to be some point beyond where the pillars of professional cadres and civil society sweethearts will not proceed; some rich engagements that must be politely turned down. Look around, look carefully, and it becomes clear that such standards and values are sadly absent, and glaringly so. The reverse is true. Whereas individual ethical nuclear reactors are desired as exemplifications of the protesting caste and critical class, there is only the disappointing reality of damp squibs fizzling into revealing ignominy.
I have said this before and will say again: some should not, cannot, speak out against dirty corruption; not when they themselves have hand outstretched and knee bended to collect from the highly questionable and the powerfully condemnable. This speaking from both sides of the mouth at the same time (and most of the time) boomerangs to the disrepute of professional collaborators, and private conspirators. I know it is good business; but let somebody else capitalize. Or else, this is the premeditated crookedness of double-dealing that cannot withstand exposure and ridicule. This practiced gamesmanship is found despicable; the practitioners themselves cannot have lost the tight tethers of moral moorings that they, too, do not find such conduct deplorable. I submit that the point is clear through and through: clean lines must be drawn; one cannot have it both ways through eating cake and keeping it, too. The local equivalent is just as straightforward: yuh caant get two sweetness out ah wan bone.
Last, it is encouraging to absorb all the stirring words against corruption; in the next instance, I find it deceiving to learn of actions by the same ones in service of corrupters and destroyers. Words and postures and actions must be inseparable, and together impeccably so.