Without a doubt, the worse piece of propaganda dished out to the Guyanese people occurred in 1966, when Guyana was given independence. The Guyanese people were told repeatedly that independence would give Guyanese the opportunity to rule Guyana by Guyanese in the interest of Guyanese. Look at what has happened fifty years later, not only a continuation of the above figment of imagination but also a palpitation of propaganda.
Any doubts I had about what was said in 1966 were erased when I spoke to the late black Guyanese scholar Oscar Dathorne in 2007. For the unfamiliar, Dathorne was a Professor of English at various universities in Africa and the United States who wrote extensively on the black experience in the developing world. Our conversations had always taken twists and turns but I was taken aback when he asked me where was I in 1966. I said I was too little in 1966 to understand anything.
Dathorne told me he was invited by Forbes Burnham to celebrate Guyana’s independence in 1966 in much the same way what is going right now, that is, to make a positive impression and every expense would be on the state. During the celebration, Dathorne told Burnham to consider the poor people when spending so much money on future celebrations. That was that between Burnham and Dathorne. No more invitations
The point here is that Burnham is the man who started these wild celebrations in Guyana soon after Independence which continued during his reign until God took him out, not the self-proclaimed resistance revolutionaries of 1970s and 1980s. The celebrations were, of course, to hide the dirty side of the dictatorship and divineness of his defunct socialism policies and to feed the Guyanese people, especially the African loyalists, with his propaganda medicine. The result was more love for Fatboy, his aka in some quarters in Georgetown.
Fast forward to 2015 and I believe the 100 days manifesto from the current regime is the wickedest propaganda dished out to Guyanese in the history of Guyana. No other government in Guyana and the English-speaking Caribbean has ever lied so blatantly to the people in the first year in power than the current coalition regime.
The hard copy of the 100 days manifesto was handed to me by a fellow who attended my presentation at Caribbean Studies Association (May 2015) in New Orleans, Louisiana. I thanked him and said this. If the coalition can meet 15 per cent of what is written in the manifesto in 1000, not 100 days, it would floor Guyana.
I am still waiting for things to happen and the politicians need to rinse themselves from this national lie, come clean, and deliver.
There is a growing consensus even to the most distant outsider that the current regime is incompetent, self-centred, unskilled and intellectually lazy. Whatever this regime and its supporters are trying to convey, its actions, on close scrutiny, reveal that it continues to lie to the Guyanese people.
It is not difficult to understand why this position is taken. A majority of the current leaders were moulded under one of the most notorious dictatorships in Caribbean. Their so-called larger than life political personality, according to some, was nourished and nurtured during the darkest period of Guyana’s political history. The defectors in coalition are still mad while the junior leaders are simply decorative. William Shakespeare, I think, once said show me your company/friends and I will tell who you are. I say show your political company and training and I will tell you who you are.
Arguably, the current crop of politicians are guided not by the duties of leadership but by the rights of leadership. Political office is used for personal gains.
What is troubling is that the Guyanese people lose and the politicians win, and if this is the regime we look forward to growth and development for the next four years, then expect a march towards decadence and despair. But there has to be some options for the deprived to express themselves now rather than to wait for four years at the polls.
From a philosophical point of view, there is something called Remedial Rights. When a group or territory of people has enough evidence to prove violation of human rights and persistent violation of agreements and promises, then holding the government accountable is seen as a moral justification.
Before we move to this point, let us give the current regime an opportunity to give the 100 days manifesto rag a bath ([email protected]).