Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Stella Says…And the PNCR Steps Up to Bat

(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 01 Nov 2005)

To this point I have not said much about the opposition party because, quite frankly, there has been very little to say. However, recent events have brought the PNCR’s role in Guyana to the front pages again and this seems as good a time as any for me to get better acquainted with Mr. Corbin and his friends.

I was quite heartened to see the PNCR offer their help to aid in the healing process that will no doubt be significant in the aftermath of Operation Stiletto. This gesture of good will is exactly what the people of that village need after a week of being inundated with troops – even if those troops are there to help the people.

However, I must admit that this is where my naivety will shine through. This column is going to be written with the assumption that Corbin and his party are sincere in their offer of help and there was no agenda assigned to that offer other than the well being of those in the Buxton Village.

Mr. Corbin’s lacklustre personality certainly won’t win him any prizes for being the most entertaining politician around, but he does seem to know when to deliver the right amount of drama at the perfect time. So even though he doesn’t have a whole lot of flare, like a Robert Persaud, he sure does have a flare for the dramatic.

Charismatic personalities aside, the PNCR’s offer of help is notable. The PNCR could have easily remained on the sidelines, where it seems to have been living for a while now, and snickered as the PPP and the police force tried to clean up the mess they made while trying to clean up Buxton.

However, the PNCR finally decided to get involved. How nice of them to cut their extended vacation short and step up to bat for their constituents. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but it did seem as if they were sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by without much more than a sniffle here and there to let us know they were still around.

I’m just not too sure if they are really in the limelight now because they want to be or because the natural course of pre-election politics has dragged them into the fray. Things did seem very quiet until Trotman’s (a new/old face in politics) house gets ransacked and he pinned the blame on the PNCR, so they had to peak their heads out of the sand long enough to protest.

Then came Operation Stiletto (which was surely as much a political manoeuvre as much as a social necessity), and all the little PNCR heads came popping up out of their holes to rally the team. Protests galore were thrown about and an established position of disapproval was determined. However, this hullabaloo was short lived.

After a day or so, deference was once again relinquished to the powers that be and it seemed that all would go back to normal. The PPP reassumed its role as sole ruler of Guyana and the PNCR scurried back to its holes – or so it seemed.

I just assumed they were hiding out as usual, with the occasional protest thrown in here and there for good measure. Boy was I wrong! It seems they were actually strategising instead! I have to interject my pleasant surprise here. When I read about this gesture, one eyebrow lifted and a smile inadvertently pasted itself to my face.

Not even a week after the troop’s initial entry into Buxton and the PNCR produced a letter for the Police Commissioner with the offer to help in the rebuilding efforts. I am impressed, Mr. Corbin. This unexpected move was brilliant, even if the political events that forced your party out of hibernation were all external and unsolicited.

But don’t let yourself get a big head; there is much to be done if you are truly sincere in your gesture. I do hope this is more than lip service or a media stunt to make your party look like the good guys in the recent turn of events. Such a move would give the PNCR plenty of reason to stick their heads back in the sand.

However, if you are serious, then it’s time to start forging relationships with those in the police force who are working in the village. There are some issues that need to be resolved quickly so the people can get on with their lives. After all, this is about helping the people.

The real question that remains unanswered is whether or not the reigning government will swallow its pride long enough to accept the PNCR’s help. Will the PPP be able to put their smugness aside long enough to care about the good citizens of Buxton who have had their world turned upside down because of the criminals in their village? Now that is the question of the day, isn’t it?

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