Ruth Grant of the Department of Political Science of Duke University said
at the recent Dr Eric Williams Memorial Lecture: “When partisan loyalty
replaces political judgment, elections no longer serve as a means of
judging the performance of particular political leaders in office.”
us, it is everyday depressing reality. So
we go down, inert, cynical, weighed down by this 18/18 straitjacket,
knowing another election with a similar result may drown us altogether.
Wendell Mottley: A Yale and Cambridge graduate, former world class
athlete, a Finance Minister who, under the NAR, bit the bullet,
(demonstrating a capacity for risk-taking) by successfully floating our
dollar, and upon leaving politics made the easy transition as a
high-profile investment banker in the US.
again, he’s bitten the bullet, by launching a political party, The
Citizens Alliance which he says is to be community-based rather than
‘top-heavy’. One may argue he’s being strategically ambitious,
testing the arena, since apart from himself there are no other candidates,
(although 200 people are being trained to work in communities) and he
plans to put up a full slate of candidates for the next election.
admits in this interview “there is a lot of ripe fruit about”,
doesn’t deny that he could be positioning himself as king maker. But
beneath that ambition, one can’t help but believe him when he says
he’s “a sucker for service, and for challenge”.
Citizens Alliance personified by Wendell Mottley is a fledgling entity,
waiting to take root. Can it? Can
Mottley survive in this murky cavern inhabited by our politicians - this
turgid lions den, where elders encourage sycophancy, where deals are
shady, where stale ideas are passed around like cud from mouth to mouth,
where those fattened by preying upon the spoils of the land, roam in a
they pounce on this new arrival because he will threaten them for being
urbane, too educated, with too many ideas, much too much energy? Will his
brand of passionate intelligence be snuffed out by the mediocre? They may
not rattle sabres at him. They will simply turn their backs on him summed
up in that chilling phrase of ours when anyone attempts to push
boundaries, “Who he feel he is?”
asked him that myself recently, and this is Mottley in his own words:
know the saying, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to
desolation’. In the last six to seven years I have travelled widely
throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa and I have seen what ethnic
warring does between tribes, religions, races. The opportunities presented
by the 18/18 situation were missed. Once you slip off that track, cross
the Rubicon, you never recover. We’ve seen it in Guyana. We are
dangerously near the precipice.
country is experiencing economic crimping as a result of political
uncertainties. People are holding back investments, construction is
suffering, retail sales are suffering, unemployment may be inching back.
statistics imply that some 80,000 of our able people are unemployed. The
real figures is something like 300,000 because the half-assed jobs in
which workers can’t plan a career, which are not purposeful, which are
uncertain, poorly paid, don’t count.
long-term prospects are bright because of current investments in oil and
gas. The question is, will these resources heighten income inequality so
the rich and well-connected will fashion soup ladles to dip up more than
their fair share, and the poor and young will stand hungry with a fork in
am not underplaying our relative financial stability but I passionately
believe this country needs a driving, new economy, that does a China with
8 or 9 per cent growth rather than 3 or 4 per cent. I am absolutely
determined that we get out there and successfully market 3 or 4 services
linked to world standards, which will sweep our young people up to
meaningful careers, such as the creation of a tertiary education hub.
work as an investment banker alerted me to the possibility of success in
countries such as Costa Rica and the enormous abyss of failed countries
with no return. We need our industries to interlink to America and Europe,
sustain growth and prevent regression. Look at Barbados, with its tiny
population. Their tourist industry and high level of service reach into
every cranny of their country, because nobody is going to buy a $15
million house there and die of a lack of a $10 injection at a medical
institution. On the other hand, look at Guyana’s rapid downward spiral.
We need to learn from that.
of the requirements of a successful society, especially small island
economies, is openness. The size of the population of movers and shakers
here quickly reverts to comfort levels - with the big fish in a small pond
mentality - so there isn’t the jostle of shoulders, or competition to
drive change or significant growth.
was warned when I decided to remove foreign exchange controls to do it
piecemeal. I decided to move it clean and cause a turbulence and
self-generating drive. It worked.
only lurch forward when people are ready for change.”
have to admire Mottley, if only because it takes grit to plunge into this