The dictionary defines the game of Russian roulette as a “stunt in which one spins the cylinder of a revolver loaded with one bullet and aims the muzzle at one’s head, and pulls the trigger.”
I first noticed this reckless game in a movie back in the mid-1980s. I was shocked at the thought that anyone, real or imagined, would actually participate in this lethal game. If one takes into consideration that a general revolver has six chambers, then every participant has one of six chances to get blown away, if that is the ultimate goal.
In Guyana, the current regime has hamstrung the people by what is described above: a game of Russian roulette. Take, for example, the prison escapees who are still on the run. They have not struck yet, but they are like live electric wires and cobras; if cornered or interfered with, they will strike with no remorse. The nation has been living with this ongoing uncertainty for weeks now, exacerbated by the ominous thought that, at any time, at any place, anyone’s life can be snuffed out by individuals who should not be on the loose. If this is not Guyanese style Russian roulette, then what is?
If anyone of my family is hurt — or anyone, for that matter — by the prison escapees, then this regime would be held accountable. Violent actions against the innocent lives – especially when the regime knows that is imminent – will be a case of recklessness against humanity, not for the Guyanese, but for the international courts. My fellow Guyanese, this is not the time when most of the nation was forced to be ignorant about their basic human rights. This is not the time when we were muzzled to a point when we could not say even coo against a dictatorship. This is not the time when we were deprived of television to see and learn about what was going on in the world. We are no longer trapped (but it is probably creeping back) in a sense of dependency from a demonic, dictatorial regime that transformed Guyana from a “bread basket to a begging bowl” of the Caribbean. We are now living in a new era, a post-modern world in which governments can be held accountable for the violation of human rights.
The game of Russian roulette continues with regard to oil finds which have cascaded this nation into a circus of more questions than answers. The regime has been selectively silent on how the country would proceed with oil revenues, a position that has parachuted the local dailies and analysts into a labyrinth of perspectives. The consequence is that one in six readers is totally confused. One in six Guyanese has given up. One in six Guyanese has become impatient. Some Guyanese have remained loyal to the regime’s position with ExxonMobil.
In the meanwhile, the regime has slipped into an oil-drunk mode, believing that Guyana’s oil belongs not to the nation, but to the ruling Government of the day.
How else can one define the regime’s position of not releasing to the Guyanese public the terms of the oil contract signed with ExxonMobil? The release to the public of signed contracts between multinational corporations and developing countries, even the most corrupt, has been the norm for the past two decades.
We have come to understand that Guyana will receive 2 percent royalty, which is below expectations elsewhere in the world. That is all the public is allowed to know, because everything else is considered confidential. Everything else about Guyana’s oil we will have to find out serendipitously.
This is a classic example of Guyanese-style Russian roulette. One in six persons will go insane; one in six persons will lose his or her life (like environmentalists) trying to find out how much oil revenues Guyana will receive, and how the oil revenues will be used to promote growth and development in Guyana, coupled with a sustainable approach without raping the environment.
Then there is this instruction from the President to the Police Service Commission: to halt all promotions in the Police Force until God knows when. This move is controversial. The fact that three officers who were summoned to the Commission of Inquiry into the alleged plot to assassinate the President were on the list to be promoted raises suspicion as to what the President’s ultimate motive behind the halting of promotions for Police Officers is. One becomes more suspicious about the President’s motive, since it followed on the heels of his interpretation as to who should serve as GECOM Chairman. Both situations reveal bravado the nation does not need right now. Even the ordinary man in the street believes that the President’s motive is incomprehensive, senseless and unconstitutional, over-stepping the boundaries of the law. One begins to question the President’s capacity to understand or respect the Constitution of Guyana.
What is unsettling about the President’s controversial motives is that there is no guarantee or indication that they would be discontinued. Actually, we should not be surprised to see more controversial motives to come, which have the potential for others in his government to emulate with a grandstanding style. This is dangerous and egregious. We need not more dictatorial tendencies in Guyana. We are sick of it. Perhaps more unsettling is the fact that the regime is playing Russian roulette with the Police Force, especially those who have given years of service. The message is that to have a promotion in the Police Force, one must learn how to spin that revolver. ([email protected]).