by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 27 June 2006)
Stella Says…Ramjattan's column has raised the standard of Guyana's politics
This past Sunday I read a column by a Guyanese politician that was exactly what I have been waiting to see for a very long time. It was honest and brilliant. There was more power in this one piece of writing than I have seen in all of the last year put together from the PPP (or any other politician for that matter).
Khemraj Ramjattan has moved up ten rungs on my ladder of respect this week. His Sunday column entitled, "The Inflexibility of the PPP: Its re-assertion of Communism in these times," captured the struggle of all Guyanese as he detailed his desire to be true to his communist leaders and, at the same time, live with the reality of the collapse of communism.
I have so much going on in my life right now that I did not read this column until late Sunday evening. My family is about three or four weeks from relocating from the DC area to a much warmer climate in Southern Texas. Consequently, we are in Texas for a couple of days this week making some of the necessary arrangements for the move.
However, when I finally got the chance to read the AFC leader's column, I covered my face and told Paul that this is what I have been waiting for – honesty and pragmatism. It seems like so much of Guyana's politics are played in the realm of the unreal with a vivid imagination being the most valued attribute of the communications staff of the ruling party.
I cannot begin to count the number of times the PPP has needed a good reality check because they have produced yet one more piece of propaganda that was closer to being a make-believe story than actuality.
In fact, there have been many a time when I have had to give myself a reality check because it is far easier to get lost in their make-believe land than to live with the murders, rapes, poverty, crime and corruption that plagues Guyana every single day.
And then there is the childish blame game where no one accepts the responsibility for the state of the nation. And there is the racial divide, which is constantly perpetuated by the two established parties in so many ways every single week in their feeble attempt to secure what little hope they have of acquiring a vote from Guyanese who may gladly live in their land of make-believe.
It is difficult to keep a firm grasp on reality when lies and half-truths float around your head on a constant basis. However, Guyana cannot continue on in its make-believe reverie if it ever hopes to rid itself of those ugly aspects that everyone would rather pretend did not exist.
This is why Khemraj Ramjattan's column so impressed me. He did not play the games. He did not curtsy to the long established notions of pretending like communism was still a viable option for a developing country in the 21st century. In the process, he allowed anyone else in the country who has been fighting to escape from the realm of the unreal to firmly plant their feet in reality once and for all.
Since the PPP relies on their make-believe world to maintain their position as the nation's ruling party (because they could never explain their paltry performance in the real world), Ramjattan's column has effectively brought the PPP to the brink of utter and complete ruin.
I know this is very cynical of me, but I have to admit that at times I have wondered if Ramjattan was still secretly loyal to the PPP and was just playing a game with the AFC to disrupt the baby party at one of its most crucial moment. However, his column has proven that he is indeed a man of the people and holds no wistful longing for his former party at all.
I am so excited about this new development of honest and real politics that I cannot wait to see how other politicians will respond to it. Will they pretend it never happened? Will they respond with more lies and half-truths (which the whole nation knows is lies and half-truths)?
Will they colour a pretty version of their side of the story and spread their propaganda on sweet and thick? Will they invoke the memories of yesteryear's beloved politicians and play the heartstrings of the people in an attempt to divert the nation's attention from the real issue at hand (again)?
Ramjattan has brought this election season into a whole new dimension now and I cannot wait to see if the PPP can keep up. After all, it is not exactly known for its honesty and does not seem to deal with reality all that well either.
What I hope to see is a response that is on the same level of Ramjattan's honesty. This is exactly what Guyana needs – a real election with real politicians who live in the real world.
The AFC has raised the standard of Guyanese politics with just one simple column and I am waiting expectantly to see if the rest of the politicians can rise to the occasion.
Most of all, I am on pins and needles in anxious anticipation to see how Smart and Sharp Robert Persaud will respond to Ramjattan's column. We will finally get to see if that MBA can do something else besides write fictional pieces.