The more I observe President David Granger, the more tantalizing he becomes; a more intriguing portrait of his figure emerges. If Guyana were a desert, he would be a mirage: part mystery, part misleading, part enticing. If he were a mountain, he would be a high one, such is the distance of his presence. In him resides the reserve of a true monastic, as well as the clinical methodical nature of a chess player. Sometimes the pieces puzzle; they do not add up in one paradox after another.
His is the coolness of cultivated space; and yet there is harboured ambitions for the nearness of a single people. For a soldier there is an economy of movement, the passage of years, perhaps; for a political leader, there is that rarity: economy of words. Here is someone who can trumpet a crescendo without essaying a single note. Now how can that be? Then there is an absence of presence, as if in acknowledgment that the political equator is too near; hence too sticky. There are these nuanced messages orchestrated by the subtlety of comfortable silence. It could be over the oil wars, cyber wars, drug wars, corruption wars, money wars, and all the other known and secret wars that incite a warlike tribe. On these occasions, Guyana is indeed a single tribe. I congratulate His Excellency for that takes some doing.
Editor, think of this: almost every issue in this society worth addressing, begging for attention, assumes the inseparable dimensions of aggregated crises; whether large or little, matters are blown up routinely to a political crisis, a social crisis, a racial crisis, a judicial crisis, an environmental crisis, or a financial crisis. The president has had to manoeuvre ever so circumspectly in a society where blindfolds are part of the national dress, and the essence of a great cultural pretence. Citizens of all persuasions can only appreciate what is advantageous to they and they alone; nothing else and no else counts. President Granger has no such luxury. The mantra is that nobody is responsible for the current messes; they just happen to be there. But the insistence is that they be remedied immediately and with neither sacrifice nor penalty nor cost, particularly political and personal ones. I think the president has done well, given the political bequest of a depraved and decayed way of life. There falls to him the warring challenges and obligations of standing ground before supporters, while combating powerful entrenched interests. It is reconciling the irreconcilable, through emptying the infested local swamps with a pitchfork missing a prong. Again, a close look indicates that the president has done reasonably well.
Without a doubt, some things are getting done under his watch, but slowly and exquisitely painfully. Sometimes, it is not even obvious, but it is there. Some endless immovable undertakings (banking, money laundering, trafficking, criminality, economic boycotts) are made infinitely more intractable by unyielding domestic realities in the face of damning foreign revelations. Many of the same political, commercial, criminal, and social targets reach far and high and deep in this society. It was and is part of the many political booby traps left behind. The players know so, and so do their hidden sponsors, as well as their well-paid, well known public proxies. The president is managing more than politics and business; he is managing a boiling cauldron suspended precariously above eye-level.
In all of this, His Excellency is faced with hard unimaginable choices: local people clamour for action, but as defined by them; foreign people want warm bodies; and those same warm bodies have so infiltrated and knotted the workings of the state that to move against them can be crippling. Still, a start has been made; there must be the strength to continue. In a country struggling for a fresh breath of air, and seeking the stability of a single uncompromised bone, Mr. Granger has no skeletons; he can move, he can act. Even the most hostile and prejudiced in this place neither suspect nor whisper nor smirk at his local real estate holdings; or any foreign financial adventures, as in Florida. There are none; he is not a Kremlin capitalist; or a protective harbour for the wanted.
For certainty, the president has been undermined by the actions of his own people, which makes him appear uncertain, unconcerned and, worst, undecided at sensitive times. This is not good for government or country; Achilles heels are becoming more pronounced and reach all the way to the elbows. The leader has to display some sharp ones of his own. He came aged to the helm; but has kept his hair and head. He is familiar with the players, opposition, saboteurs, and the sunshine patriots. The GDF it is not. In everything (like that immortal line from the Desiderata), he goes placidly into the world; he has no desire to be the showiest, need not prove he is the wisest or the loudest. Here is a man after my own heart: comfortable in his skin, comfortable in knowing what he knows and who he is at the core. I think he is good for Guyana; the road ahead is grueling. David Granger is what is needed. I still believe.