Tipped-to-be Leader of the Opposition – the soon to be recognized as honourable, by virtue of his pivotal office – has promised to give the government hell, meaning trouble. Or what may turn out to be his version of that hospitable habitat. I wish that the famed (or notorious, depending on point of view) of Li’l Joe will bring to bear all the jousting and jostling that is due, not only for the inspiration of his party’s dispirited core supporters, but for all Guyana. This country needs a viable opposition.
But now I must depart and dump a bucket of cold water on expectations, since mine are at a low ebb. A long time ago the redoubtable Mr. Harmon may have had something in him that instilled strong belief in his public promise to make life difficult for the new government. But that was a while back, and I don’t have any such confidence. Whatever he may have had on the plus side is now so far gone, as to be in negative territory. I regret this, and I regret that many in Guyana share this sentiment. They are not from the government tribal camps.
I am convinced that there are the most solid of grounds on which to rest my position. I tender one, and only one, which should suffice to clear the air and register where I stand, and how other Guyanese see the returning big man and his bigger obligations. Mr. Joseph Harmon, learned attorney at law, retired Army Colonel, ranking advisor at the highest power elevations in this land, and citizen of extraordinary standing is not the choice that appeals for Leader of the Opposition. He is not the ideal. He would be unable (maybe unwilling, too, public pronouncements aside) to rise to the hard and sensitive occasions that are sure to develop and deliver. And it is because, at the core, he is too much of a spitting image of the people at leadership levels in the new government.
For those with convenient myopia and amnesia, I urge to recall that long listless interval when the PNC languished in the doldrums, compliments of another leader that did the party’s interests and priorities one egregious injustice after another. It was when the personal took precedence over paramountcy.
Many PNC loyalists know what I mean by that; almost all Guyanese know, too. And I think that Mr. Harmon appreciates where I come from, and what buttresses my position.
He may not like it, far from it, but I am prompted to be open on this one. The PNC could have done better in its decision about a leader, chosen otherwise for the way forward. This society has absolutely no use for a lame duck opposition, a presence rendered the merest of tokens due to the studied vacillations and helpful arrangements of its esteemed leadership. I sense collaborating and compromising (so much petitioned for by me, among a few others) coming, but not of the kind intended. I believe, with whatever regard is due to Mr. Harmon, that the party’s brain trust, visionaries, and strategists erred mightily with this selection.
Because of it, I detect already from this early vantage point, this youngest of hours, that Guyana is in for a long walk and a hard ride. For what we have in the rare elevations of both government and opposition is the convergence of those human elements that make for a perfect storm that blows an ill wind across the length and breadth and depth of this country. Guyanese are fully familiar with what I mean on this also, be they PPP diehards or PNC hardheads.
I do not think I know of any other country that has made so many mistakes in the misplacements of its trusts; or of any other society that is more poorly positioned; or lesser equipped to absorb the troubling storms that come. I urge remembering when the agitations and writings and regrets pour out later and condemn this nation to where it should not be.
I regret the utter waste of it all, for a place so richly endowed. Guyana goose is as good as cooked, with the rest of us serving as the varieties of seasoning.