By hook or crook
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THE attempt by Opposition APNU+AFC Members of Parliament to steal the Speaker’s Mace to derail the passage of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Bill some three weeks ago has not only raised questions, but answered them regarding the true intention of the Opposition, moving forward. Contrary to what the Opposition would like us to believe, in that its actions were against PPP unilateralism, the attempt to steal the Mace revealed a sordid spectacle of shame, and an attack on the sanctity of parliamentary procedures by individuals from whom we expect better.

Unfortunately, we have been misled again. One would have expected that the painful drama the nation endured in 2020 in the failed attempts of electoral rigging would have liberated the Opposition, paving the way for it to desist from vapid sloganeering and embrace the restructuring of its polity in tandem with integrity and responsibility. A missed opportunity. Without a commitment to sound leadership supported by actions, the Opposition will find itself trapped in self-inflicted injustice and marginalisation impregnated with feelings of explosion. This is exactly what happened in Parliament. A lack of confidence, coupled with an absence of sound arguments regarding the Bill beclouded the Opposition, leading it to settle and cite “the thieving” of Guyana’s natural resources. Concomitantly, the Opposition should have unbridled opportunities to challenge whatever Bill is brought to fore, but the approach and execution of doing so should not be anchored on the tidings of self-ambitions, the shocking disposition of theft, and the odious expectation of nolle prosequie. In such an environment, the dividend of democracy is denied. Why should such folly continue? Our future leaders are paying attention.

The intransigence of the Opposition in one of the most respected places in politics has revealed insensitivity, incapability, and, above all, the gradual departure from vexatious ramblings to the application of unsavory physical actions, suggesting that the street politics of intimidation, which the Opposition has failed to mobilise, is now in Parliament to roost. Equally disturbing is that many individuals, home and abroad, have openly identified with the aforesaid, calling for the destabilisation of Guyana. This is not progressive thinking, and while the majority is not in line with such warped thinking, destabilisation is always damaging and dangerous to the health of a nation. We do hope we do not decline and degenerate into a state of chaos, especially when the country is poised to be the richest in the region, because of revenues emerging from the oil-and-gas industry. This would be the height of madness, amid multinational corporations laughing and waltzing to the bank. Have you seen these individuals in the multinational corporations fighting among themselves as we do? We are like crabs in the same barrel. When one tries to get out, the other pulls him back in. We are good at recycling our problems, and, for this reason, we have remained at the starting blocks.

Speaking of issues, the Opposition has been trapped in the same political consciousnesses, and while some elements of this have been progressive, it should be reminded that it cannot continue to do the same thing as done before, and expect a different result. A school child is aware of this basic principle of life. The Coalition was in power for five years, and it continues to do the same thing in the opposition, and the explanation for this behaviour is that leadership is not grounded in self-sacrificing but self-wanting desires. The Rule of Law is consistently violated, and fundamental values and principles in which a progressive, peaceful, and prosperous party, and by extension, a nation is built and functioned is minuscule, rendering its supporters to their own devices. They have been abandoned, while the Opposition has been trending a gang of tired and recycled politicians. The outcome is a lot of motions, but no movements of progression, facetiously referred to as Christmas blow-blow.

One sure sign of weakness is when political parties disregard the basic principles of leadership, especially when challenged. The sustenance of good governance is premised on the obligation of politicians to behave in a responsible and professional manner. The playing of ostrich is not an option. In the case of the Opposition, the sequence seems to be that every month, someone comes out swinging in the most bizarre ways, evoking unnecessary tensions, and torpedoing gains of political and social unity. This is political rascality; there cannot be respect without responsibility. The concern is if politicians cannot be bound by respect, responsibility, and professionalism, on what basis do they have the right to compel the citizenry to be law abiding? It is not sufficient for a party to claim being wronged by a Bill, and act according to its own perceived agenda. This would be an affront to, and a violation of, parliamentary procedures and principles in which the violators can potentially be brought to book. A political party alive with the duty of responsibility will not descend into hooliganism. (lomarsh.roopnarine@jsums.edu).

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