Politicians are the archetypical necessary evil

Writer after writer and speaker after speaker have over decades been calling upon our politicians to, as the legendary businessman, Mr. Yesu Persaud, recently said, ‘put aside tribalism and other differences, in the interest of Guyana being ‘one people, one nation, one destiny’ (KN: 06/04/ 2019).  I have consistently argued that while noble, given the nature of our society this amounts to wishful thinking from which little practical effort to accomplish the desired goal can be derived.

Guyana is today as ethnically/politically divided as it has ever been, and some people have even come to the conclusion that this is so because of our persistent harping upon race and ethnicity. Indeed, it is astonishing that the level of disillusionment appears to have even taken hold of the venerable Mr. Persaud, who took the opportunity to ask, ‘What are [politicians] really doing for you, the people’ Guyanese public should shoulder the burden of making the nation a better one for future generations. ‘Do you need politicians?’’ (Ibid).

Persistently talking and analysing race and ethnicity is the only way we can understand and find solutions to the problem, and regardless of how poor or rich a country is, someone or some group – call them what you want – will have to decide who gets what, when and how. Whether politicians act sensibly, competently and equitably is the stuff of political relations, and we do demand that they not only act in the people’s interest but should do so democratically, that is consult the people to understand and gain legitimacy for the policies they intend to implement…..

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