It’s the Oil Wealth, Stupid!

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I woke up this morning to the following headline from Demerara Waves “US approves possible sale of four helicopters to Guyana….supports American “foreign policy and national security.” As I read the story, the following quotation stood out: “According to a statement released by DSCA, “this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of Guyana, which is expected to grow to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America”. What is the meaning of that story and the quote in question? It will take a longer explanation than is possible in a newspaper column of a few hundred words. But put simply, the contents of the news-story represent yet another reminder of the real story behind the just concluded election.

It is not much fun to witness your country being recolonized by the day while its opinion shapers and politicians feed the citizens a diet of peripheral stories that serve to distract them from the real deed. Yes, we are daily reaping the bitter fruit of “Regime Change”, while we either languish in denial or crudely wield the big stick handed to us by the intellectual authors and handlers. Since most of the country fell for the convenient narrative that our five-month electoral impasse had something to do with electoral rigging as an end in itself, then we are stuck where that has led us.

For me, the election and all that it revealed and did not reveal were means to a larger end—an end that is costly for Guyana. The PPP was installed to power on August 2, 2020 by a design crafted by local, regional, and international forces who were responding to the coming of oil-wealth to this small former colonial outpost. Countries like Guyana are not allowed to determine their own independent destiny in normal times, much more in times when their resources threaten to give them such independence. Guyana is never going to be allowed to determine its own destiny in the era of mega-oil wealth. So, the age-old doctrine that Black and Brown peoples are inherently incapable of existing in a state of freedom was invoked to impose democracy on the country. We ex-colonials are simply not humanly equipped to manage such enormous wealth that has consequences beyond our borders.

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Therefore, the greatest resource curse that has befallen Guyana is its loss of the right to determine who governs. From now on, that would be determined by global forces in collusion with regional and local forces sympathetic to or fearful of  the former. While we quarrel over the unevenness of the contracts, we miss the larger issue of governance—that is the ability of Guyanese to determine who governs them. Who governs determine, who get what, when and how. Who governs also gets to at least say NO to global requests and demands.

Regime Change was easy to carry out in Guyana because the objective conditions were there. There was no need to overthrow the existing government by force as it did not possess military might. To the contrary, it was a fragile government unaware of its own fragility and seemingly unconcerned about the fragile political environment in which it operated. Second, there was the other party, which as it turns out, was ready to choose political power over nationalism. Third, there was an electoral machinery which could be easily manipulated. In Guyana, it is easier to manipulate a general election than it is to govern effectively largely because electoral manipulation has been more the norm than the exception. Fourth, we have a Civil Society which  sees politics as form rather than content—something that blinds them to political sub-text. Finally, there was our volatile ethnic situation which allows easy acceptance of external manipulation if it serves the ethnic interest.

So here we are with a government that is accountable to no domestic interests because it is backed by powerful external forces. The cavalier attitude to workers deemed to be supporters of its opponent, the readiness to shoot at those supporters regardless of the ethnic implications, the persecution of GECOM workers in pursuit of derailing the election petitions are all part of the consequences of Regime Change. Add to that the threat to unilaterally postpone Local Government elections and the desire to unlock the Natural Resource Fund and the picture is clear. I end by invoking James Carvelle, the American political strategist: “Its Regime Change, Stupid!”

More of Dr. Hinds’ writings and commentaries can be found on his on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.news. Send comments to dhinds6106@aol.com

 



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