New Opposition’s Rickety Foundations

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-Bull and the ordinary people
‘…this country is going ‘nowhere’ if all that people can see are governmental gaucheries or bulls amid some significant growth areas’ PULL QUOTE: ‘It is clear that the mass media, as the new opposition, constantly takes an adversarial stance against the government, invariably, the stance may be devoid of evidentiary foundation; and indeed, these people consistently refute the charge of adversarialism, and assert that their reporting is objective and responsible’

EACH TIME someone presents a governmental line, there are people out there that invariably see this line as propaganda; and the messenger of this line is seen as not having national credibility, largely because the messenger carries a governmental line. But when another messenger carries a misleading non-governmental line, those people see their positions as always objective and fair.

And in their presentations, appropriate analytical discussions on government’s policies, programmes and projects rarely take place; what emerge are a 100% focus on bloopers and very little focus on the ‘non-snafu’ areas. I have no doubt that there are flubs, or if you like a better term, ‘bull’ on the governmental side. But this country is going ‘nowhere’ if all that people can see are governmental gaucheries or bulls amid some significant growth areas. And the mass media (new opposition) and some politicians have a lot to answer for, for their daily sordid landscaping of this great land.

Picture your child’s academic performance, where there are some pratfalls amid some major areas of academic progress. What would you tell this child? You should point out the areas of your discomfort, but simultaneously and with the same rigour, note that child’s growth areas. Well, these so-called government watchers possess sneaky and confusing vision, for all they are able to see is solecism. In the same way that you should ring out the child’s academic progress, we also need to spell out noteworthy areas of development in this country; because they do exist; notwithstanding a sluggish world economy, Guyana’s economy remains buoyant with very few bruises from the current global crisis.

And I will not here indulge in a trail of statistics on development since 1992; here are some over the last two years to arouse your appetite!!
1.    Economic growth for 2009 was 2.9%, with positive growth since 2005.
2.    A 3.3% increase in sugar production and a 9.2% rise in rice production from 2008.
3.    A 5.8% increase in Other Crops’ output.
4.    Rise in livestock sector output by 2.5%.
5.    Increase in mining and quarrying output by 0.7%.
6.    Raw gold output rose by 14.7%.
7.    Engineering and construction sector gained momentum at 1.5%.
8.    Transport and communication sector expanded by 2%.
9.    Increases in the following: distribution sector increased 6.6%; financial services 3%; dwelling rentals 2%; and other services 3%.
10.    Balance of payments’ surplus at US$234.4 million, and a reduced current account deficit by 31.6%.
11.    Gold export earnings produced a 38.3% increase in export revenues.
12.    Increase in the Bank of Guyana’s external reserves to US$628 million, the highest yet; balance of payments’ surplus a contributory factor.
13.    Macro economic fundamentals intact – inflation was 3.6%; commercial banks’ lending rate 12.17%; exchange rate appreciated at 0.97% against the USD.
14.    Fiscal deficit 5.3% of GDP, declining from 7.6% in 2008.

Clearly, some highlights of development will not stimulate the new opposition to orgasmic satisfaction so to speak. For this reason, I want to critically apply some of Herman and Chomsky’s ideas here to see if we can bring some sense to the media notoriety in this country. It is clear that the mass media, as the new opposition, constantly takes an adversarial stance against the government, invariably, the stance may be devoid of evidentiary foundation; and indeed, these people consistently refute the charge of adversarialism, and assert that their reporting is objective and responsible.

This new opposition is able to get away with this perspective; as they project the view that since the masses or ordinary people are myopic and provide poor judgments of their own interests and needs, then these ordinary people, the masses become vulnerable and gullible, enabling the ruling political group to engage in deception against them. And their only savior is the new opposition, the mass media, which can manage this deception on their behalf; the mass media convinces the people that they have the necessary wherewithal to deal with the government on their behalf; for this reason, the mass media as the new opposition maneuver its way, in Chomsky and Herman’s language, to manufacture this consent from the masses. The deception comes from the new opposition. This is what this new opposition does in this country.

Nonetheless, what will shake the very foundation of the new opposition are its constant differences with ordinary citizens’ higher-order interests; differences that have to do with narco trafficking, going on ad nauseam about Cheddi and Janet Jagan, elected dictatorship, corruption, and things of that nature; it is not that these things are unimportant; it is just that the masses have other more important interests, as securing long-term jobs and sustainable incomes. For this reason, the mass media as the new opposition dishes up a thin interest within the populace; and its focus is too much on the ‘bull’, but even the bull is without evidence.