Aristotle said that politics is the master science, largely because it determines all of what we do and it is no longer even arguable that Guyana’s political relations, at least since independence, have been the bane of its people and are poised to deteriorate even further. While peripheral countries such as Guyana cannot be blamed for climate change, the existence of the Covid 19 virus, etc., how they are able to defend themselves against such events, which are severely disrupting the lives of their citizens, depends upon how they have managed their natural and human resources over the years.
On this score, the political elite in Guyana has failed dismally and thus what is available to aid their people in these turbulent times is extremely limited. At the root of this persistent crisis is the unaccountable nature of government. As we speak, rather than cooperating and properly managing the commonwealth, the political elite is again squandering what little the country has on vastly overpriced vaccines and is either incapable of properly reorganizing and/or wanting to control the existing security forces, and is experimenting with new and costly security arrangements while its people lie in ruins!
According to reports, Minister Teixeira revealed that a new Regional Joint Support Team was being established at the behest of the Defence Board: the latter usually chaired by the President and consisting of various government and security bigwigs. The initiative is to involve both the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force and aims to develop operational capacity in crime fighting. She requested a $700M budgetary allocation for the establishment and functioning of this new body, which is to be stationed in the various regions of the country. Ms. Teixeira requested this sum from a ‘democratic’ legislature without being able to give any details of what it is to be expended upon. Indeed, she did not explain how this force will be different from what exists, why the existing arrangements could not be expanded and upgraded to do the same task, the totality of the projected infrastructural and human resources that will be involved, and so on.
If in normal conditions managing the police can be challenging, to do so in ethnically divided Guyana, where the leaderships of the various ethnicities are jockeying to control the cohesive arms of the state, must be even more difficult. After all, no police force can be properly managed without some kind of cooperative philosophy and across the board political and community participation, e.g. helping the police and the monitoring of their actions and operations by its leadership and external political and social organs. Two weeks ago, I indicated that there is a substantial body of opinion which holds that in its previous incarnation the PPP/C unjustifiably used the law and imprisonment to try and quell political dissent. Now again, the regime’s decision to establish the RJST in the manner it has done leads to great concern that it is up to no good and notions of resurgent Black Clothes squads.
Furthermore, just as one is usually advised to ‘follow the money’ in crime fighting when politicians in a ‘democratic’ country, bent upon monopolizing government, make strange moves one would be remiss not to ‘follow the votes.’ For example, it is now largely accepted that the electoral list is substantially bloated and while the mainstream narrative concerning the manipulation of the 2020 elections focuses upon Region 4, it must not be forgotten that after some investigations, the CEO of GECOM stated that there were 4864 impersonations which together with other irregularities brought into question thousands of other votes in every region of the country. The widespread demands for new and transparent electoral arrangements, particularly a new electoral list based upon biometrics, will not be easily thwarted and sympathetic authoritative boots on the ground, in every region, might be useful in salvaging what is possible.