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By GHK Lall
The People’s National Congress (PNC) has one opportunity remaining to determine what kind of political force and social presence it will be here. My simple, humble position is that choices boil down to this: what is for the greater good of the greatest many Guyanese (the group itself)); or what favors, selfish, narrow interests of individuals-leaders, insiders, pretenders-in this still national party. If the greater good is the choice, then there is the likelihood that it may lead the way for the national interest, again. If selfishness triumphs, however, then the PNC will be remembered for national potential only, but that its leaders didn’t have what it takes to interpret the hand currently held, and work diligently with it, through catastrophe and challenge.
As I see this, and party faithful gathers for a fateful Congress, Guyana watches. Whatever the visions and ambitions, some self-sacrifice will have to be made. For, if this Congress descends into a junkyard dogfight, then the controversies that arise will reduce the party to irrelevance. None will be spared. No matter who wins, all will be losers, and with the taints that accompany those. Here is why.
According to the well-tuned, smoothly running PPP propaganda machine, the Government and its leaders can and have done no wrong, not one misstep. The first signal of destructive hubris that angers the gods rages. In the next breath, sensible citizens put two and two together and very few like what they come up with, so troubling is the result. It is not the impeccable perfection claimed by PPP public relations, protectors, and purveyors of false narratives that have little relation either to truth or fairness, but what confirms the absolute corruptibility of PPP leaders and those who benefit immensely from their rewards. In sum, reality rips rhetoric, and exposes the real Guyana and the real PPP before all.
Our indigenous brethren are upset at being used in the worst sense of the word. Nobody likes being taken for granted. Or for being fools. Yet, that is exactly what PPP leaders, visionaries, and strategists have settled for, namely, using these simple folks and numbering them as dumb and dumber. There is opening and opportunity for a well-meaning and well-placed PNC-resurgent and vibrant-to tap into this pool of resentment. Second, the machine says that Black Guyanese are happy under the current regime. As an aside, it is a civilian junta with growing militia (but that’s tomorrow). From my conversations and perspectives, the only Black Guyanese who are pleased with what is going on, and how things are for them, are those benefiting from preferred housing by today’s masters of the Guyanese universe. I am confident that, though I have threaded the choice of words with care, the bitter fruits are low hanging enough to be touched, understood. I repeat for emphasis: the Black Guyanese in this country, who are delighted are the ones in the bedchamber of the bosses. As to what they are asked to do, I leave for another day.
It follows, therefore, that there is a mass of seething, unhappy, resentful Guyanese of second in national presence, who would be excited to see change that is sound, solid, and straight. Change must be straight, not straight exchange leading to a repetition and continuation of the great iniquities laid on this land. How the PNC seeks to capitalize on this mass of discontent must be a work of the heart (self-sacrifice), and not the heavy hand that brings many a tremor. The moment to marshal and multiply interest must come from inspirational leadership which, truth be told, looks on the meager side. I so assess, I so reckon. But, as to how the PNC will be, we shall see; it will depend on the who chosen to lead the way ahead.
It is going to be a long hard road. But it can and must be traveled. For there are still more, who are agitated from having their faith shattered. It was felt that PPP leaders would return from their 5-year
absence, revitalized and ready to rise to the demands of clean governance and Guyana’s Age of Oil. In Christian thinking, it was that they would have been reborn. Well, whatever the source of that hope, that belief, that prayer, God forgot either to listen or to bless. Because the whole lot of them returned with blood in their eye, vengeance in their hearts, and poisons in their soul. Even the so-called religious (titles, professions, denominations) having reverted to form and fallen by the wayside. The first casualty has been truth, the second is ethics, and the last is honor. Money and power do that to many, and wherever there is oil. Even Midas lost his mind. He devoured his own daughter. And that is what returning PPP leaders have done: they consume their own comrades and children-the smaller, poorer, weaker, and simpler ones-who trusted and dreamed.
Their cries confirm the desolation that has grabbed hold of the minds and hearts of PPP leaders and converted them into bigger, crueler, hungrier monsters. The PPP’s own Indian flock wail their misfortunes. It is a savaging sting, the deepest of disappointments: contracts not received, promises not kept, sacrifices not remembered. The numbers are there, and they are increasing daily. The PNC may think it doesn’t have the numbers, but it must demonstrate that it has the political wisdom to run where the brave dare not go. Or, as their own Forbes Burnham would have said: the political acumen to discern the ripe fields, and the rich hand that is held.
Congress is coming, whenever and however it does. The PNC stands at the crossroads. The drivers can brawl and batter each other for ascendancy. Or they can work assiduously to assure that controversies over the choice for leader do not deteriorate into incurable crises. Victory arranged in the wrong way sets the stage for what could be grim political prospects, and grievously hurt this country. Guyana is watching. I am, too.