…in the PNC
And just when your Eyewitness thought it was safe to re-enter the (ideological) waters because neo-liberalism had washed away all its competitors, up comes Prezzie informing us that the ideology of his party is – and has always been – not just “socialism” but the socialism of Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, the “Founder Leader”!! You could’ve knocked your Eyewitness over with a feather!!
Interestingly enough, the neo-liberal ideology was unfurled in Latin America in the early 1980s and in Guyana in 1989, because of the failure of various economic models based on ideologies ranging from populism to socialism – of various stripes. Ours, of course, being the “cooperative” version of Forbes Burnham – which Prezzie spoke about. So what’s this? We’ve come a full circle? Why?
Why go back to a failed ideology and model of development? Did something change since 1989? Well, to be honest a whole lotta things changed – with the failure of neo-liberal market fundamentalism being right up there. It not only failed here in our region, but also in the developed countries that foisted the model on us in the first place – the US, Britain and the EU! So, we all agree that we gotta do something different if we’re not to end up very developed – but with the “1%” owning 90% of the wealth.
Some people mightn’t mind that fate – after all we’re still migrating up north in droves to sample that outcome! But since, as Prezzie reminded us, egalitarianism’s still our guiding mantra as it was with Burnham, let’s accept that we must change. But socialism? The sad fact is that the rest of Latin America, having experienced neo-liberalism before we did, experienced its failure before us – and several governments tried various types of socialism.
While Brazil’s version was very mild – and its economy is still tanking – Venezuela was the one that most closely resembled Burnham’s version. But unlike Burnham’s Guyana, Venezuela had the largest deposits of oil in the world and pumped out US trillion of the black gold since Socialist visionary Hugo Chávez took over in 1999. But yet with all that money, Venezuela still managed to end up in the same circumstances Guyana found itself in 1989:
Shortages of basic foodstuff, toilet paper, foreign currency, massive inflation, rising crime etc, etc. This should sound familiar to the oldsters in our midst.
Now your Eyewitness will bet they’ll be the old faithful who’ll swear Chávez didn’t try the “real” socialism of Burnham. No “co-ops”!!
So we’re gonna roll the dice on this million-to-one shot, with our oil about to gush?
…and rewarding the faithful
Back in the days of the socialist revolution led by Burnham, in addition to the ideology, there was the concomitant methodology for implementing the ideas. But since all things have to (unfortunately?) work itself though PEOPLE, there was always the need to ensure only folks imbued with the ideology were in positions of power.
Loyalty to the ideals of the party thus trumped all and this loyalty was proven by a party card. Breaking up meetings of the Opposition helped, but wasn’t ABSOLUTELY necessary. And it is against this background we must evaluate the retention of George Norton in his post as Minister of Public Health even though the entire country’s baying for his blood in the wake of “Bondgate”.
As Norton explained – after he was re-elected to the highest echelon of the PNC – he’d always been a loyal PNC foot soldier.
And that’s what counts in the new “socialist” dispensation!
…but not in cricket
Khemraj Ramjattan offered a cricketing analogy to justify why Norton shouldn’t resign (or be forced to resign) for lying to Parliament.
Your Eyewitness wonders which “cricket” is he talking about. Certainly NOT West Indies cricket!! When Kallicharan of old or Lara of recent nicked the ball without even the umpire picking it up, they walked.
It’s called “honour”.