A fine man (not to be mixed up with the one who declined from lead poisoning) spoke recently about the government failing to put Guyanese first. Coming from any other local it might have given pause and inspired some strong support; coming from this fine man, it is enough to make one gag and then throw up. If this is not the height of the rhetorical genuflections of the hypocritical, then I do not know what is. Let what follows speak loudly and clearly about putting Guyanese first, about those who really do so, and thus are empowered to challenge others to follow suit.
Putting Guyanese first for some translates to making sure that no other citizen is ahead of the one Guyanese that matters (self) in the game of grabbing and gathering. A start can be made with housing. There is temporary ecstasy (temporary because greed is unending) with a several hundred-million-dollar pile that mocks those Guyanese, who may have harboured illusions that they were being put first, that their welfare was paramount. They were repeatedly reminded of the then government’s generosity in “giving” them land on which to build. Somebody neglected to mention the inconvenient fine print, sotto voce, strangulation involved in that gift giving, and which amounted to a cost in the six figures. Many times, it was simply not in hand. And then to add to that tortured captivity, there was the six months to build and to find a million-dollar mortgage. The people who have always been trampled underfoot and consigned to the back of the line somehow succeeded. Those now putting them first should be proud.
Putting Guyanese first meant leaving them to the caprices of a troubled police force. Troubled has a soft gentle touch to it. Meanwhile, that same fine man availed himself of battalion strength security detail. First does have its privileges, including helping self, while the force was otherwise engaged in one permitted folly after another. For the bitterly complaining and many times severely hurt, there was the first-rate plaster of it is only “a few bad apples” in the force. It worked miracles every time and was always good for a trip to the ballot box. For the time being, there was safe departure from those confines. The same cannot be said of the banks.
Putting Guyanese first is making impressive noises about severance and benefits for sugar workers. Nobody can argue with such nobility of purpose, such stirring objectives. Nobody can argue (now) with the settled reality of a sweet multi-million-dollar pension bonanza, at the expense of the same Guyanese people being put first. In this Bugs Bunny scenario, it is a dollar for you, and a million for me. Because of the education system, somebody was counting that Guyanese can’t count. As things go, that is not a nest egg, it is baby whale, a blue one. It is always good to be number one, and to take care of number one. But it does not stop there.
Putting Guyanese first involves encouraging them to scratch out survival on hands and knees, while scrubbing floors and pots, and beating clothes with wooden tools. All the while, this first among un-equals, this remarkably fine man surrounds himself with cooks and bottlewashers, along with butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers and the rest of a kaboodle paid for by the joyful Guyanese utterly gratified being put first on some imaginary pedestal.
When I reflect upon matters of yore, I would present that, in the free fire combat zone that is Guyana, citizens were indeed put first. There can be no question about it. They were put first through being hung out to dry; first to be shot at; first to be fooled repeatedly; first to be led own the garden path, and by a Guyanese of the first order no less; a real fine man in his own right and by any standard, who probably never heard of the Ten Commandments. This is the pornography and soundtrack of those who believe that they are god’s gift to Guyanese and they can get away with anything. This has to be a strange god, stranger gifts, and the strangest country yet.
Putting Guyanese first has a certain embracing irrepressible resonance to it. With champions like these, no Guyanese can go wrong. It is but one more slapstick confirmation of the political amusement park that Guyana has become. I watch as some apply the cosmetics of character transplants. The odor is overpowering and so, too, are the optics.