May 14, 2017
The only reason the people of this country have been able to keep their individual psyche intact is because the country is a circus and the clowns make them laugh. Sigmund Freud argued that it is through sublimation, the human is able to suppress raw instinct in the ID from overrunning the EGO. So we sublimate our compelling drives into socially positive functions and civilization survives.
We survive in Guyana because even though life is unbearable, we sublimate our volcanic anger through hilarious amusement at our policy-makers and those public servants with enormous state power.
The Jagdeo/Ramotar combination was indeed repressive and corrupt. But the Jagdeo/Ramotar act was one huge, hilarious moment. I don’t mean to make lightness out of domestic abuse. I am not like that and will never be like that, but to underscore my point about survival in Guyana through laughing at our post-colonial Leviathans, I need to mention the accusation by President Jagdeo’s common-law wife that he kicked her out of the marital bedroom five days after the marriage ceremony. I laughed when I read that.
It was uncontrollable laughter to see President Ramotar back-balling at the Sleep-In Hotel on Brickdam with a homeless woman who crashed the Old Year’s Night party. Satyra Gyaal went at the home of the US Ambassador and performed and Guyanese, though annoyed at the diplomatic fiasco, still found what Satyra Gyaal did very funny. Much hasn’t changed since the Jagdeo/Ramotar circus left town in May 2015. There is still the circus, but under new management.
I mean no insult to President Granger, but I am out there in the “hood” every day, and people talk to me about their lives in Guyana. I am dead serious when I say that people find certain aspects of Mr. Granger’s presidential deportment funny. It shouldn’t be. I am not amused at what they find funny, but they do find it so. They refer to Mr. Granger going all over Guyana and sharing out kites, caps, bicycles. In a country that cries out for visionary, transformative leadership, they are amused at this aspect of Mr. Granger’s style.
Then there is the arch at Cummings Lodge on the highway. This was a painful episode that will be remembered for a long, long time to come. If I ever become president (which is a scientific impossibility), my first policy decision, would be to remove that arch and sell it as scrap metal. Zanneel Williams, a 21-year-old journalist at Kaieteur News told me she was caught for three hours in the traffic nightmare the arch created. Thousands of young people like Ms. Williams, if they remain in Guyana, get older and have children, will tell their kids about the psychosis they endured in the traffic, all because a banana republic government wanted to please a dead businessman from Trinidad.
So what is laughable about the arch? Well actually not the arch itself, but our banana republic oligarchs. After giving the Trinidadian company permission to create misery for thousands of Guyanese, the Minister of Public Infrastructure (who like his predecessor Robeson Benn will be given a nickname – I suggest archman) ran down to the site and stopped the erection. There were more facetious moments when the lady in charge of the erection said that the erection could not proceed into the night because it would necessitate having lights to keep the erection going, and that is what they don’t have. Please readers! No pun intended!
Finally, another Minister will inquire about the missing ombudsman. The circus keeps us alive because it makes us laugh. Why would a country create a judge for imposing penalties on animal rights violators and when the violators appear in front of him, they tell him that he can go to hell, he can’t touch them. He and his office are then a waste of money.
If we find the missing Ombudsman, what purpose does his office serve when his paperwork is tossed into the dustbin? Shouldn’t Guyanese people find this funny? We are looking for a missing constitutional figure that has absolutely no authority. If he finds the garbage collector was in violation of the rights of his colleague, the garbage collector can ignore his findings. On a serious note; what powers does the Ombudsman have?
We can end on a note on the circus. The loveliest photo I have of my daughter when she was five years old (and this isn’t a joke) is of a clown holding her when the circus came at the National Park a long time ago. The clowns are still here.