July 4 2019


Dear Editor,

The calls from the opposition quarters have been loud and insistent: elections now.  They have been more than calls, rising to sharp shouts a la pork-knockers on to something.  What is that something?  Why?

The electoral demographics-by now long accepted as racially powered-are unnervingly thin; almost inseparably so.  From an opposition perspective, things verge on the state of no longer being near demographically indistinguishable, but worse.  There is the probability and looming reality of racial reversal, as in numerical reversal.  This I sense; it is near.

For this reason, I see the furious, unrelenting charge for elections now as driven by multiple realities.  There are the great, chilling political fears: emigration; lower birthrate; more mixed social partnerships; and all of which contribute to demographic and electoral exposures and decline.  I hesitate, but must add to those some questioning, some discontents, and some possible movements.  If only a way to register disillusionments.  On the government side, loud and persistent have been the cries and criticisms from known strongholds: some public service; some church leaders; some objective thinkers.  All are dissatisfied with the continuity of sleazy governance standards.  They will stay the course.  For now.  Too short.  Too early.  Too early to let go of the unhappy present; and too early to return to the ugly past.  Like domestic violence victims: hoping; giving another try.

It is not so for the once unassailable opposition, now cornered by existential threats that require the immediate fix of elections now.  For if not now, then it may be never.  Not through elections; for those may not offer any reasonable chance of succeeding to power in clean, competitive elections, as was likely through the prior weight of numbers.

Who are the bulk of the people leaving permanently?  None should need the anecdotal.  Right there before the eyes, and in a steady drip of people.  Check the very visible Duke Street shade and portal of the US Consulate for starters.  Making some accommodation for the Cubans, the reality is not blurred, just a wee bit more crowded.  Observant Guyanese know the score and keep count.  Check the airport also.  And for those in the know, check the not-so-visible backtracks.  There is a dwindling electoral list; a real sobering one.

Sometime or the other in the next few years, US immigration laws are going to experience some overhauls; promises to be major.  I believe that among the targeted areas is going to be severe restraints on so-called chain migration.  That is, where current law facilitates extended family sponsorship.  Speaking for myself, I can account for way over a dozen of such relations, who have benefited, with all of them fully resident out there, with near zero interest in things and occurrences of life back here.  They are not exceptional; merely the norm.  Those Guyanese, who left with ideas swirling about returning and resettling and the rest are close to an extinct species today.  Not living; not returning; not voting.

These are among the palpable anxieties and troubles of the opposition brain trust.  That is why it must be now.  For this can be it; and with possible control of the election machinery, opportunities for tinkering are more prevalent, more promising up the road.  That is why now. 

That is why with existing list.  Even a modified list serves as grounds for questioning and not conceding elections results on the government’s part.  Of appealing and extending the impasses and bitterness all over.

Because if not now and this time around, when the electoral numbers favour by a shade, then the long game of the five years hence is rife with the gloom of strengthening threats.  In fairness, both sides of the divide are menaced. 

Because in five years, the fledging ANUG and the others get to perfect their messages, prove their points as to the ugly realities of the old rule(r)s, and to build some lift and thrust.  In addition, others similar to an ANUG, are afforded the time and space to unfurl visions and jump into the fray.  Things could get somewhat complicated for the big boys, who have long ruled the roost, and suffocated and neutralized (or absorbed) newcomers.

I think that all of this has led to the harbouring of great misgivings.  Hence, elections now; hence, yesterday’s elections list now; hence, get this thing over and done with now.  Who cares about what happens afterwards?  That is for the peasants to sort out among themselves in the usual manner of dumb and blind peasants and foot soldiers and loyalists clashing in the trenches.

I close with a caution: in the expected very tight elections race, matters will condense to the foreigners casting the deciding ballot behind the scenes.  They always have, haven’t they?  Now for the knockout blow: they will be forced to go, because of primacy of own interests, with those trusted more.  All those misrepresentations and falsifications come down to this: is there any real change there?  I don’t think that much will be needed to persuade towards a particular outcome.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall