Guyana President Donald Ramotar
U.N. General Assembly – New York – September 2014
Photo Credit: World Politics Review
During my adolescent years in Guyana, everything was nice. The dress was nice; the food was nice; people were nice. The word nice was so overused that our high school English teacher prohibited us from its use in our essays.
By the time I moved to the United States, everything had become awesome. Your macaroni and cheese is awesome! You look awesome! I’m awesome!
Notwithstanding the American excessive use of the word awesome, I was taken aback at a Fox News TV host’s response to the recent release of the CIA Torture Report covering the Bush-Cheney period in government (January 2001 to January 2009).
“The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome,” host Andrea Tantaros ranted. “We’ve closed the book on it [torture], and we’ve stopped doing it. And the reason they [the Democrats] want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.”
Tantaros’ public outburst gave new meaning to the word awesome: to be always on top, to be viewed as better than others, refusal to admit wrongdoing as a big deal.
In colonial British Guiana, we-the-people—descendants of African slaves and indentured immigrants from China, Madeira, and India—were not raised to think of ourselves as awesome. We were a subservient and oppressed people who looked to Great Britain as our Motherland.
Following the Guyanese people’s struggle for independence and during the forty-eight years since then, a new breed of leaders arose from the ranks of the people. As a son imitates his father, local elites in power mimic the behavior of their former colonial masters. Like them, Guyana’s power elites continue to use divide-and-rule strategies, fuelling interracial mistrust and misconceptions of the Other. The predominantly black Police Force serves as an arm of the autocratic State in maintaining its power.
After creating a political crisis on November 10 by suspending Parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote, Guyana President Donald Ramotar announced on December 6 that he has alerted the international community “to the possibility of early elections and the desire for them to field observer missions.” The actual date for new general elections remains a mystery.
Certain of his government’s performance in moving the country forward for the people’s benefit, President Ramotar is confident that his party will regain the parliamentary majority lost in the 2011 general and regional elections.
Through their actions, Guyana’s power elites manifest symptoms of Tantaros’ awesome delusions. To them, mismanagement of public funds, abuse of power, police brutality with impunity, and other crimes against the people are acceptable and legitimate behavior. For how much longer will their supporters fall for their awesome deception?