by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 24 October 2006)
It seems that my good friend, Peeping Tom, does not like my suggestion to introduce some new faces into the political scene in Guyana. I cannot imagine why this would be such an issue with dear old Peeps, but as these pages show quite well - we all have our own opinions about life, love and politics.
Peeps pointed out that I did not specify the traits these new faces should embody and then suggested that if I were looking for certain traits, such as vision and leadership, that I would probably look no further than my own family. This hurt, Peeps. And I thought we were such good friends.
Referring to my “family,” Peeps said, “Fortunately, most of us know that it takes more than billboards to identify the future generation of leaders.” I thought my good friend Peeps knew me better than to insinuate that I have a hidden agenda that would cause me to speak for a family member, friend or any other politician. My voice belongs to the people alone.
Moreover, if Peeps knew me half as well as he should, he would know that this family member and I have very different views when it comes to politics. In fact, he leans very far in one political direction and I travel a whole different road, which of course is the right road.
If Peeps had read (without his preconceived notions) my analysis of some of those old faces from my original column to which he responded, he could have easily concluded how certain family members of mine could possibly fall into the “old faces” category. Peeps, I’m so hurt. I thought you knew me better than this.
Peeps also said, “I am not as keen to see the experienced hands disappear as I am to see the resignation of leaders who prop up only in Guyana at election time; leaders who know more about image than substance; political hoppers that cannot even sustain a political chat group much less a political party; leaders who could not even put together a coalition of attention grabbers and publicity freaks.”
Peeps, this statement proves we are destined to be friends for life because I could not agree with you more. However, we have very different methods by which we hope to see change come to Guyana.
For example, you said, “I am not so much interested in new faces as I am in new ideas because this column has always insisted that what can result in a qualitative leap in this country is to find different ways of doing the same things.”
It’s like this, Peeps, you want to “find different ways of doing the same things,” and I think it all needs to change. Why would Guyana want to find new ways to continue the reactive governance, the neglect of the infrastructure, the continuous decline of the educational system, the incestuous corruption, the unbridled crime and the lethargic economy?
Guyana’s politicians already have plenty of ways to accomplish these tasks.
To be a good sport, I will tell my good friend Peeps what I deem important in a leader and would like to see from any new faces that pop up in the near future. I believe leadership is a responsibility that should be accepted by the most humble of society since it carries such heady power.
I believe politicians must not be money hungry since they need to handle so much money, which is why it is important to know how much a politician is worth when he/she takes office, how much salary will be acquired during the elected term and how much he/she is worth when the term is over.
I believe the government should answer to the people on every official decision, which means these decisions should be maintained on public record. I believe the people are intelligent and know best how to run their nation. Therefore, it is unnecessary to “protect” them from information that should rightfully be theirs.
I believe an elected leader should work tirelessly for the people who put him/her into office to create better lives for the citizens of the nation. If a leader is more concerned with playing politics than helping the people, that person should be taken out of leadership as soon as possible because he/she has no worth to the country.
I loathe narcissistic, egotistical and selfish leaders. The motives of these politicians will never bring good things to the nation because they will always seek personal gain over national growth. Fortunately, the people usually see right through such people and these leaders never go anywhere politically.
I could go on all day, Peeps, but I know you have a column to write and research to do. I do hope this clears up any misunderstanding. I would hate for anything to cause a rift in our friendship, but I can’t help but wonder if you are the one with a hidden agenda.