Dear Editor,

It is slightly over 14 months since that fateful day of the swearing-in of a new national leader to spearhead a new national government. It has been fateful in many areas, and though Guyanese may have looked at this in some way and moved on, there is so much more to the story. In those 14 months plus, there has been no political opposition, absolutely none of any standing or salt; it has been one totally lacking in shame, one due any respect, with the implications of which I think still not registering fully on all citizens. Guyanese must pause from their increasingly fevered visions to think of what this means, when pondered a little deeper.
It is the most humdrum of times – sedate, even uneventful – a country having no opposition of strength or texture is equivalent to it having no police force, no public service, no tribunal of restraint, no dissenting advocates on the people’s behalf. Such a society has no soul, since it has no core. In such circumstances, it is the law of the lawless taking over slowly at first, then in more rapid reckless acceleration. It is that the rules are what those who make them say they are, their related behaviour is proof of the porridge. It brings gagging. Who is there to stop them? Where is the voice of disagreement? And what about well-researched and well-presented contradictions? It can’t be a handful of letter writers and columnists. It is not editorials that say: hey, what is going on here? Those contribute, but have no constituency, save for readership, some hostile. They ran for nothing, were elected to nothing. So there! Now recall: this is in the context of boringly pleasant times.
But here is the Guyana no longer on the cusp, but actually a bona fide prosperity frontier, with endless possibilities, but without a recognised opposition of any caliber. The PPP Government is in serial criminal mode, and there are no opposition policemen around, not even a couple corporals. There is a government, but other than it is official, there is little else that is positive about it, because politicos and public servants have all been schooled a certain way. Opposition also. The lifelong school I attended teaches honesty, authenticity, and integrity; the latter deliver the first two. Compare that to the places that political leaders make their treasured college of study: the erudition of encyclopedic deceptions; classrooms of chronic corruptions; and criminal ambitions of serial betrayers. The dreadful opposition is too much like the Government; hence, it can’t represent, stand. It languishes in Dante’s torments.
I think it is part of national politics and national leadership for sale. We have been selling, haven’t we? Observe them, how they dart around like startled snakes. Listen to government and opposition, and there is a heavy multi-volume textbook of men cunningly putting one foot in front of the other, to conceal convincingly. I see them through the oiliness. A snake shedding skin remains a snake. Behold the opposition: weakened, self-defeating, blowing smoke. When needed the most, it is a mortuary case.
My parting word is when there is an authentic opposition that has some degree of dignified self-respect, then concern for the lot of the people is paramount, and inspires to overcoming any internal dissensions, any competing individual visions, and ideological contradictions. The welfare of citizen and country is too much to be held to ransom, because of bitter internal squabbling, self-destructive hostility; in such crucibles, nationalists rise to the challenges of the occasion: a society is at stake. By my calculation, venal PPP Government leadership and cast have at least another year of freedom to perfect their despotisms. I further think that the PPP Government is well-set, because pre-or post-Congress, the opposition will be the same. Bought out. Sold out. Bottom fall out. Thus, bottom-line realities in Guyana today are: no opposition, little of an independent and ethical media, a naked mystery for a security apparatus, a public service wooed and weaned and willed a certain way, and citizens wondering where this will lead, and how it will all end. Maybe, I should throw hat.

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GHK Lall



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