Business tycoon Yesu Persaud was quoted as asking whether Guyanese need politicians. This was within the context of calling for folks to see themselves as only “Guyanese”.
“Let’s look at Guyana as a country that belongs to all of us. Not a segment (for) Africans, Indians, Portuguese, Amerindians. We’re supposed to be one people, one nation, one destiny”, he said.
Now, there’s a whole heap of Guyanese who’ll agree with our most successful liquor baron; and why not? After all, it implicitly shifts the blame for our divisions away from ourselves and onto that favoured whipping horse – politicians!! But before we get to that not inconsiderable hitch to Guyana becoming a utopia, we have to answer the man’s question: Are politicians necessary?? Well, we don’t have to argue about the issue theoretically, we’ve got thousands of years of experience when societies had no politicians. We were ruled by kings and queens, and even some kings who were queens!!
Did Henry VIII have politicians?? Did Louis XIV? No siree Bob!! If anyone dared to ask for even a discussion on the king’s proclamation, it was “Off to the Tower” at best, or “Off with his head!!” at worst. Or maybe it was vice versa?! Just ask Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, who literally lost his head when he dared question his King, Henry VIII’s insistence that he divorce his wife Catherine, who “wouldn’t” bear him a son!!
Politicians, the successful businessman probably forgot, were invented when the folks of what became the United States decided they’d rather rule themselves – that is, have a democratic government – than be ruled by a king. The challenge, of course, was that unless there was some “body” or institution whose members were actually elected to run the country (as its government), they’d end up with the law of the jungle. And that’s how “politicians” inevitably come in.
There is, of course, the suggestion by Plato that we should be ruled by philosopher kings and an aristocracy. There have already been responses to Mr Persaud’s proposal that maybe he ought to be our philosopher king. The name of Clifford Reis, who runs a more diversified liquor conglomerate (he has beer in addition to rum) was also floated.
The problem with these “Philosopher Kings” is that there’s no guarantee that they’ll be benign – even if they were trained to rule with humility. Karl Popper later wrote that this kind of thinking led to totalitarianism.
But your Eyewitness returns to his first riposte, dear reader: that the fault lies not in our politicians, but in ourselves. Haven’t studies shown that it is we who separate into groups – which politicians then mobilise?
Can we take the mote…?
…dual citizen MPs
This debate about “dual citizens” just keeps meandering on like Old Man River. The AFC now suggests we eject the constitutional bar! The latest argument offered is that the Guyanese diaspora has a lot of highly skilled persons who’d be of great help to us once oil starts coming in. Now, there’s no question that that’s a fact; but what does it have to do with the price of bora at Bourda Market??
To get to the kernel of the matter, why is it that dual citizens must be eligible for executive positions in the Government (MPs or Ministers)? Or is the argument that only those who have executive experience in their second country can be eligible?? But even with that criterion, your Eyewitness believes folks are missing the point – maybe deliberately. And that point is: since these dual citizens are willing to renounce their second citizenship – which they can do quite easily – then there’s no problem. And that’s the problem, isn’t it??
Like with the EU and Theresa May, they want Brexit – but also want an Irish backstop!!
…Griffith as VC?
Someone touted Griffith’s “qualifications” – with his experience in running a university as the clincher -for snagging the UG VC post.
Did they ask why he was let go with two years on his contract from that university?