June 25, 2017

I am having a nightmare and please do not wake me

I was having this dream that authoritarianism was about to be resurrected in my dear land of Guyana and I suddenly woke up. I am upset because I have to imagine what the full dream would have been, as opposed to just relying on memory. I am also upset because the leadership of the Coalition regime has penetrated my consciousness even when I am resting. But I have drawn solace from this dream because most of Guyana is suffering from a national nightmare analogous to what I have dreamt. This sort of experience should occur in a nosocomial environment and not during the day at home.

I do not mean to start the New Year this way, but what the Guyanese public has experienced for the past year has been a nightmare of nightmares which arguably will be repeated this year. I say this because ever since this regime stumbled into power, there have been pantheons of pathological problems which have taxed the very will of even the toughest Guyanese to survive. While some sections of the population have applied a wait and watch approach to this regime, other sections have not been so sympathetic and have used labels like corruption, cronyism, mismanagement, criminality, highhandedness, incompetence and witch-hunting to describe the APNU/AFC coalition. These labels have become so common to many households that satirically speaking, the national motto has now been transformed from one nation, one destiny to omniaparatus – you jump, I jump. What a way to live!

Like so many, I was sceptical when the regime assumed power about 20 months ago and argued in the letter columns of the dailies that its actions were inglorious, lacking substance and reminded the public not to expect much then. I repeat, do not expect much this year either.

My declaration emerged from the assessment of the 100 days manifesto and the appointed Government Ministers. I argued that if the Coalition delivered 20 per cent of what was promised in the manifesto then Guyanese would be floored. I also declared that most Government Ministers lacked political métier and those with experience – the old heads, their nicknames in Guyana – have shown little acumen and determination that they would deliver, other than grabbing the State coffers for themselves. Guyana’s national treasury has become a political feeding trough. How else can one describe Government Ministers grabbing State scholarships for themselves and their families? How else can one describe the handing out of Government’s contracts to favourites with a limited transparent tendering process?

Am I way off to say that the regime has dished out so much rhetoric to the Guyanese public that the nation has reached a tipping point to which the regime refuses to admit? I do not think so, and if you disagree I point to the extremists, propagandists, the die-hard supporters, spokespersons, the activists, the mouthpieces of this regime to support my viewpoints in so far as they are now reeling every day from disappointments with the regime’s failure to deliver. These individuals and outlets have taken an about turn chastising this regime for failed promises. I understand their position. I say welcome abroad and I do hope your reality is not as traumatised as my nightmare.

I am not going to belabour the obvious, but ask readers to just take a cursory look at the many available sources on the performance of this regime and they will see nothing majorly impressive but incompetence and irreversible corruption, such as sole-sourcing in the inner inviolable sanctum of the Government.

There is, too, this fear that the Government is moving with supersonic speed to bring back or rebuild the images of the former Forbes Burnham-led PNC. The regime seems unshackled by old loyalties. Fair minded individuals, Indians and non-Indians, communists and non-communists, and friends and foes in and out of Guyana, I argue, they will find it difficult to distance themselves from the thought that the Red House fiasco is an attempt to physically destroy and desensitise the legacy of CheddiJagan?

If this action is a misjudgement from the regime, I say give the regime a second chance to redeem itself by using Guyana’s system of law and order to resolve what it believes to be a national dishonesty from the PPP to house Jagan’s history at Red House, a State-owned property. I will be proud of this action. If the regime remains stoic to its action, I think we are embarking on a journey that would lead to more ethnic divisiveness and distrust that would eventually dissipate the lip service of any lingering hope of social cohesion in an already ethnically divided nation. I do hope I am wrong.

(lomarsh.roopnarine@jsums.edu)