Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stella Says…Roop-de-doo

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 15 August 2007)

Peter Ramsaroop announced over a week ago in a Kaieteur News column that he intends to run for president of Guyana in 2011. Yes, he is my brother-in-law and as such I should probably hold my tongue on this subject. However, it seems necessary that someone should point out the obvious for Peter Ramsaroop.

For example, it is four very long years before the next election. I remember thinking late last year - when American presidential hopefuls started announcing their candidacies – that it would be a long two years before the next elections. At least their excuse is that there will be a primary election early next year.

By the time Guyana’s next general election comes around, I could have grandchildren, global warming could force Guyana’s population to move further inland and Poised and Proper Priya could have outmanoeuvred Smart and Sharp Robert for the PPP’s nomination.

It is not as if anyone enjoys the prelude to an election. This is true no matter what country in which you live. However, there are some countries that find the pre-election mumbo jumbo even more precarious than others.

The pre-election political climate in Guyana is not an enjoyable time for people, so I am sure everyone will feel nothing but deep appreciation toward Peter for attempting to force this upon them so soon after the last election.

I saw a news report in passing on the television the other day in which it seems the American candidates are having second thoughts about starting their campaigns so soon. It seems this extra time has given the media plenty of time to dig around in their personal lives and pick apart the things they do and say even more.

For example, I can easily come up with a few things that deserve picking apart from Peter’s two columns in Kaieteur News. In his column from August 5 he declared himself a pro-West presidential candidate for 2011. To put it bluntly, this is political suicide from the get go.

I simply do not think it is good political stratagem to declare oneself a pro-West candidate nowadays. In case Peter does not know, the Lebanese candidate backed by the West lost the election last week and most political analysts are saying the loss was precisely because of the Western support he received.

Quite frankly, the West is viewed as a plague on the earth right now and the Western principles that Peter so proudly touts are scorned by many (and rightfully so) thanks to Bush and Blair. As such, any candidate with support from the West is sure to alienate a healthy portion of the population.

It also seems Peter should invest in a good public relations specialist to help him weed out bad ideas, like the idea to use a response by the government to one of his Stabroek News articles in an attempt to compare the PPP to Hugo Chavez (a comparison I think stretches reality quite a bit). If Peter intends to write columns that toss about criticisms of the government, he should expect a reply if the government feels one is necessary.

Every columnist has to learn how to bite the bullet and allow others to respond to the articles they write without feeling as if there is a boogieman behind every response. The government's response to Peter's column (though a bit childish in parts) should not even come close to being received in the same vein as Chavez expelling foreigners from his country for calling him a dictator. That is just silly.

In fact, if Peter were paying attention he would know that Guyana’s government is actually enacting a comprehensive ethanol strategy, which Peter had suggested in several of his earlier columns. I am sure they have their twisted agenda (as always), but they are in fact working toward ethanol production. No boogieman there.

It seems as if Peter wants to stir the pot and be known as a social agitator. I’m just not sure if Peter realises the complexity of such a role. Or if he does, it is not clear that he has yet to comprehend the weight of such a function and apply the necessary tact.

A public relations specialist, or maybe a good dictionary, would also keep Peter from embarrassing himself by tossing about words like “foreign coup,” in a positive light - like he did in his most recent column in Kaieteur News.

In that column Peter said, “It's our outside lobbying that is bringing in the Foreign Coup in order for our nation to develop and create wealth for our people and get them out of poverty.” No matter how one phrases the word “coup,” it is not a word that should be tossed about airily by commentators or politicians.

Peter’s phrase makes it seem as if some foreign forces are waiting to pounce on Guyana. Again, this is just silly. If he had just Googled the phrase “foreign coup,” then perhaps he would have known how dangerous the phrase truly is and saved some face in the process.

Yes indeed, this could be a long four years if Peter intends to continue to subject us to such writings. On the other hand, Guyana will have some well-needed entertainment between paying VAT taxes and fighting traffic.


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