We are disappointed at the Hon. Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon. The opposition group should be, too, but that is a matter for them and their internal deliberations. The bigger problem and concern for all Guyanese is that there is neither harp nor formidable opposition in this country at this time. With that as the sum of our political circumstances, the PPP government is then given free rein to run amok and heap its wrongdoings and scorns on a dispirited populace.
The opposition lacks spirit, and nowhere is this more glaringly evident than in the person of its honourable leader. The leader is the head, and when the head is either misguided or lost, then the rest of the body flaps about and lurches around. We say don’t take our word for it, which is why we urge all Guyanese to take a real serious look at the opposition and its leader(s), and decide for themselves if what we say is not on the money. In fairness, we encourage citizens to start out with charitable kindness in their hearts, so confident we are that they will end up with what is unsparingly critical, a bellyful of what disgusts. In all of this, the opposition and its leader do not flatter to deceive: its members may think that they flatter, but desultory they are, and that is part of the deceiving attitudes embraced. The latest bit of evidence came last week from the mind and mouth of the Opposition Leader himself, when he stood up in parliament and threw some barbs at the media for the shortcomings of its practitioners.
His specific words were: “Mr. Speaker, the daily revelations…in the media of the ERC, appears to be in my view, an attempt to dismantle this very important commission and to damage its impartiality.” Having embarked on that highly questionable road, the Opposition Leader then took the low road, and with relish: “We must guard against this insidious attempt by persons who are uncomfortable with the composition of the ethnic relations commission.” Surely, he did not go there, he did not allow himself to be convulsed with such foulness.
Apparently, he did. And just as apparently, it is now a capital crime to speak out against what was wrong at the ERC, to expose what reeked of the self-serving and what was insulting to a longsuffering Guyanese public. To ventilate what is evidently improper now rises to the level of “an attempt to dismantle.” And then to top it all off, there was what we interpret as the knife’s twist in this subdued diatribe. There was resorting to that increasingly primary refuge of those who have no ground to stand on, in the opposition leader’s cry of “insidious attempt” regarding “the composition” of the commission under the microscope and the accompanying sharp heats of scrutiny. Now he plays what we interpret as the race card, which we condemn as the lowest of the low, when all the surrounding scorching circumstances are considered. On this occasion, it has absolutely no relevance, no value, and no foundation; and the same goes for anybody defending and rationalizing merely for the sake of doing so. The Leader of the Opposition should know this and reassure himself of this: what was done at the ERC was wrong, and there are no two ways about that, which is what he should not have pretended, did not occur.
What the Leader of Guyana’s Opposition should do is what we not now humbly recommend to this honourable Guyanese. Do not waste time and energy to lambaste the media for doing its job as a constitutional and societal watchdog in a comprehensive manner. Rather, he and his group, should seize every opportunity to expend that same caustic energy and wrath at a PPP government that makes a mockery of clean stewardship over the nation’s oil wealth, its runaway borrowings, and its mysterious leadership secrecies on just about everything. That is what a vibrant opposition takes pride in doing. It holds a contemptuous government’s leaders feet to the fire, make them feel the heat, and never let go. That is, until they own up to the skullduggeries that are now part and parcel of their governance culture.
We dare to ask of the opposition and its leader: How about some vigilance? Some intense pressure would help, any degree of pressure that is different from what has been seen since August last year. This country is a cast net where talk name and know all(s) and leaks are concerned; yet the opposition itself, despite its intelligence apparatus, knows nothing, and is a study in the distant and irrelevant. For here we are today with the coalition confronting messengers. Confront and call out the deceiving, cheating, and bankroll building leaders in the PPP government. Discontinue these Kathak movements around political dancing partners. If it has to be stepping on toes, then let it be so. And if it has to be heavy breathing down the necks of the leaders of PPP government, as well as staring openly at its low-cut bosom that exposes so much about how it governs, then the opposition must lead the way, with Mr. Joseph Harmon in the forefront of the charge. He has not been.