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By GHK Lall- New depths are plumbed, new lows reached, when words intended to demean, degrade, diminish, and denigrate are hurled. I could have used one word, but four with the same meaning are deployed for emphasis. When hurtful words are used by ordinary citizens they are deplorable, when leaders deteriorate to the ugly and venomous, both word and act are despicable. Leaders should be examples, are held as heroic by their own, and when they stoop to the obscene, when the venomous is delivered, then new ground has been broken, new standards for vile imitation set. My brother Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo stands accused, castigated, and condemned by his hard stumble.
To be clear, and to be fair, there is scant expectation of the etiquette of courtliness from the former president. The road in Guyana has been littered with the carnage of his reckless conduct. Whoever wants to substitute detritus or garbage for carnage is free to do so. But a former president does not allow himself to descend to the sewer to vent his anger, to articulate his frustrations, to exhibit his overweening arrogance. It may be of what is characteristic of him in this matter of unacceptable choice of vocabulary in describing Mrs. Catherine Hughes, but it can never be acceptable by any Guyanese, be they from PPP or PNC; or those having difficulty to get past ABC.
What example is set for our young already prone to violent expressions in schoolyards and elsewhere? What incitements are given to followers on social media, where anonymity gives them added impetus to assault; and to use any method or means or taxpayer asset to bring down those who stand in the way, or declared to be objectionable? Relative to the last bit about ‘taxpayer asset, I identify the PPP’s dirty tricks Gestapo battalion called Live in Guyana, reportedly familiar to brother Jagdeo. What limit is recognized, what law (of men of honor, not of books), is held fast to, by Dr. Jagdeo when he lowers himself, his office, and his standing, (whatever is left of it) to such an appalling, putrid, self-destructive state?
There is appreciation that the Vice President has compiled an unbelievably sordid record for vehemence and vindictiveness, with the accompanying unlimited viciousness, but surely there must be some tiny voice in him that whispers to him silently and occasionally. Don’t go there. do not cross that line for the love of decency, and in surrender to self-respect. When a national leader sets such a tone in the Cathy Hughes matter, which I am treating as a horrible lapse in judgment, then a new season has dawned in Guyana, a new era of open-ended, unmentionable vulgarities to which there is subscription, and no wish at control. Dr. Jagdeo has to know that his own people will respond with ecstatic energy to provide their own displays of the deformed that spills all over this society and tarnishes it before all our foreign visitors, foreign prospectors, foreign investors. What welcome then? What message then? What better to frighten them and spook them to wipe the dust of their feet from this dirty land made dirtier by the words of one of its leading lights? What kind of light is that, if not a warning one, a most alarming one?
The PPP has women in its cabinet, all recognizable, a couple detectable, some unmentionable. When Dr. Jagdeo goes down his dark road, did he think of them? How he exposed them to vilification and the vengefulness of a dirtier word for his bad word? Thus, what started as a dangerous ripple can spread into a devastating wave. I can hear the counterclaims and defenses from now: Jagdeo did it first. So there, knac gat knac bak. We were already hobbled by possessing the expanse of a single eye only; now there is the risk of blindness taking over.
Not unrelated to this Cathy Hughes development, I have been gifted some speeches by Venezuelan President Maduro, where that good man has railed about what is wrong and bad in Guyana. In his diatribes, I have heard him deploy insult after insult at Guyana’s President Ali, with one instance sticking irremovably in my throat. Senor Maduro called President Ali “insolent.” My president is insulted and Dr. Jagdeo bit his lip. My country is taken to the cleaners, and could somebody locate Dr. Jagdeo for me, please? My fellow citizens and their loyalties (and my dignity) are reviled, and Dr. Jagdeo transformed into Martin King and Mohandas Gandhi in an instant. The reflexive instinct was to respond with the retaliatory in the public domain, and in Spanish. Indeed, a few things were gleaned from those years of association with Puerto Ricans and Guatemalans and Ecuadoreans. I may not be of or for the PPP, but the words of President Maduro struck a sharp chord. I bring this up and point to that brother: there is Guyana’s enemy. There is the man and his company who want to wrestle from us the greatest part sof our inheritance. Therefore, he should be Bharrat Jagdeo’s enemy and target for any verbal fusillades that he has in mind.
This is not the time for digging holes for other Guyanese, no matter how detestable they may be our eyes. I have long relinquished any interest in attacking Dr. Jagdeo, even though he deserves any decimating description that could be developed and delivered. Why do that to a brother who has lost his way, has no anchor, and has no compass? I write to inform him of the error of his ways, in the hope, however remote, that self-remediation follows