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By GHK Lall
It took me a long time to understand what this country is about. Recently, I have looked critically and written caustically about Exxon. I was half right. Similarly, there was sharp discomfort with the role of Her Excellency, Ambassador Sarah Ann Lynch. I understand her role in all of its nuances, but still laid blame because of cowardice in facing truth, addressing reality. Guyanese truth and reality, and the powerful determination to give my own countrymen a pass that they did not deserve.
I do not spare myself since there is something called part and parcel; or tacit condoning. By looking away. By silence. By pretending. Then, realisation came that I was only making a fool of myself, and it is time to stop being so stubborn, so protective of fellow citizens, be they Indian or African, PPP or PNC, and all those in between. Well, time has caught with me, and now the hard job must start.
Guyanese truth and reality, what are they? What do they mean at the simplest? In my searching over the years, in the turbulence and traumas of national elections, I have raised the question regarding what the defining characteristic of Guyanese is. I have the answer. Elections are the best place from which to proceed. There was understanding that elections are about who is to govern, unleashing these great existential struggles for power. Power by any means, and at all costs, regardless of consequences.
We have seen that frequently, most recently two years ago. In sum, Guyana’s elections have never been less than ugly, gut-wrenching, and disfiguring. The strangling, death-dealing mindsets, strategies, energies brought to the process numbed. I wondered where this construct is called COUNTRY, and how does it mesh into the volatile, toxic, combustible brews that are named (misnamed) elections in Guyana. I had no answer. At first, the thinking that it was about the racial, or ethnic. Amazingly, it wasn’t about that, but more. Sure, it was about power (elections always are all over), but power to what end? Now, here is the key: power to the purse strings. He who has the power has mastery over the money.
Treasury, consolidated fund, budgets, allocations, line items, projects and so forth. Institutional setups: oil fund, tender boards, and oversight controls are there to enable and ensure that the money follows a predesigned course. To translate for clarity: the money ultimately gets to the right people, so that the right people above them and around them are dealt their share, in whatever fashion, in the proper manner.
Guyanese selling out Guyanese taxpayers. There is no PPP nor PNC in this, for they are the same, once in power. It is why we fight to the death during elections. It is for the money only, and that is the whole of the Guyana story from beginning to end. We can cut the nonsense with our specious dissertations on dialectics, polemics, economics, civics, and daily literary hysterics in the media. For the record, we are the poorest of frauds, worst hypocrites behind the syllogistic and hyperbolic facades.
For the third time, I lay it on the line: money is our raison d’etre. Money is our defining national characteristic. Money is our alpha and omega. For those who need something as boring as proof, I have it. Look at how Guyanese have become transformed since the discovery of oil, particularly last year. Look at what we have mutated into. We have analysts drumming up numbers to justify what Exxon does. We have parliamentarians putting on a show in the National Assembly in prostitution of education, intellect, honour, decency. We have professionals and writers and media all selling themselves for a dollar.
Locals are much smarter than me who ran and earned his Yankee dollar the hard way 2500 miles away. They stayed and now they reap the rewards from their armchairs, accounting spreadsheets, legal briefs, and traitorous media salesmanship. Alistair Routledge has them all dancing to his tune, without lifting a finger. Patriots are a dead and doomed species. Our claims at Independence went down the drain, washed away by a cheap dollar. Come next month’s Mash Day, we should have the biggest float to read the Republic of Exxon (Guyana).
American Ambassador Lynch doesn’t even have to lift a manicured eyebrow, and papers are inked, leaders jumping to deliver. We betray the poor of Guyana. We do the dirty work of foreigners by willingly prostrating ourselves for their dollar. We are peddlers of flesh: our own. We sell principles for profit. And that is my last mistake: it is not principle that is sold, since what is not there can’t be sold. Guyanese slavishly hang-up their sign: FOR SALE! It is themselves. Guyanese have to be the most shameless people in the world. Self-enslavers.