Like so many things that have to be touched by Guyanese political leaders, once that happens, then matters become garbled and murky. Yet even through the careful dissembling, something surfaces glaringly: the politicians, who live this way and operate this way end up tainting everything and compromising themselves. And this goes all the way to His Excellency, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
Editor, when the nation’s chief executive behaves in the manner that he does over the Cotton Tree murders and the ongoing investigation (if it may still be accurately termed such), then he does more than make himself look lesser than he is, he smears two of the names – one inherited, the other given at birth – that he wears proudly. He does that smearing of what those names represent in their soaring majestic reach and, arguably worse still, he profanes the sacred Koran on which he swore so piously.
For where the president is and what he grapples gamely, but in ungainly fashion with, to mislead by recreating his earlier position on those murders, brings pointed questions and sharper criticisms, about his sincerity and his understandings of the non-negotiable demands of honest, trustworthy leadership.
In the intensely bubbling cauldron of the immediate aftermath of those grisly murders (and surrounding escalations), President Ali promised the Henry family, and the extended warring dysfunctional Guyanese family, that a full investigation would be the order of the day. I ask pardon for using my own words, but I interpreted President Ali’s assurances and reassurances as intended to: a) comfort the families; b) reduce the heat and edge of menacing circumstances; c) provide space, time, and opportunity to proceed with official probe, wherever it leads; and d) serve as directive to the Guyana Police Force to proceed full speed ahead, in a no-holds barred, no sacred cows untouched, and no stone unturned approach. At least, those were the primary elements that I extracted from presidential presence in West Berbice and related presidential words and postures.
Editor, I regret, I’m even ashamed, to share that on most occasions that I give His Excellency the benefit of the doubt, he is anything but, and proves most unworthy of the trust. He spits in the face and stabs in the back with one betrayal of truth after another. Be assured that I can recover from all those; but I have severe uncertainty that fellow citizens are equipped with the same apparatus to withstand the continuing disingenuousness of the president. I say this because today, President Ali speaks a different language, one reminiscent of ancient hieroglyphics and for which one of those much-touted new-fangled translation programmes is needed to interpret what he is saying, what he really means, and where he is going. Or, more pointedly and damningly, how and where he desires the Cotton Tree investigation to evolve and conclude.
I feel justified in saying this, because today the president speaks about the GPF having to determine if it needs help. If he were another person, I would have thought this: surely, he jests. But then I am aware that this is a man who takes himself seriously. Too seriously, and to the point where the fanfare of his trumpets drowns out good sense (or any room for humour). I face this brutal reality: the Guyana Police Force needs as much help as it can get on many things, because of lack of tools and resources, equipment and technology, and manpower and methodologies.
Those absences have been impressed upon us, on more than a few occasions, for rudimentary matters before it. The police force tries, but its arms are short, its aggregated minds have some mansions unexplored. It does need help, and everybody knows this. It needed that help months ago, and the president knows that, too. He knew then, and he knows now.
Thus, when President Ali opens his mouth on police needs for the Cotton Tree investigation, he confirms one thing. It is that he is full-fledged hedgehog mode. President Ali is hedging. He is searching for his shadow. He could have spared himself the self-incrimination, and spared the Henry family and us in this holiday season. The president should have stayed in hibernation, rather than risk coming across as vacuous and groping blindly for wisdoms that elude. That risk is experienced when he embraces deceptions and dodges. I pray for the president. And I pray for Guyana. I do so because I ponder how long he and his people think that both can get away with such, be it relative to Cotton Tree, or on other issues that trouble. The knotted results.