Editorial: Where are the wise men?

Photo taken from: writinglives.org

That must have been the concern of King Herod as he anxiously waited for the three wise men to do his bidding – bring him “news” and betray the people unto whom “a child had been born.” Fortunately, there were a few good men left! The three wise men, after careful consideration, determined that they could not ‘go along to get along.’ They could not act in concert with the disingenuous leader and his diabolical scheme to thwart a salvation plan for the people. They realised that Herod was all about himself and his continued grip on power, and they were not going to collaborate with him in the furtherance of that plan.

Fast-forward some two thousand-plus years later and we are seeing a replay of the same story right here in the Caribbean. We are referring to the dramatic turn of events in our fellow-Caricom territory of Guyana. Apparently, a very wise man, and we call him ‘wise’ because he had the “gumption” to stand up for that in which he believed, even though it meant his demit from office – and exile – even though it meant the scorn and disdain of his erstwhile colleagues; even though it meant ceding his zone of comfort; even though it meant relinquishing the perks and ‘brotha’ of officialdom; even though it meant rejecting the alleged handsome bribe that was offered for him to change his mind and go along with Herod and the status quo; even though it meant turning a deaf ear to the entreaties of those who may have been feeding from the trough at the expense of the people – and even though taking a principled stand (in his mind, apparently) meant the alleged possibility of something untoward befalling him.

Yes, according to a number of reports emanating from Georgetown, this wise man brought down the mediocre/lack-lustre/uninspired (take your pick) coalition government of retired head of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier David Granger, even under the alleged threat to life and limb, when he crossed the aisle. Charandass Persaud, thy name is courage!

Now we here at NEWSCO are not about to pass judgment on Persaud’s motives, or how effective was the Granger coalition government in bringing about meaningful change in the lives of the Guyanese people. In fact, part of the reason for what we earlier termed the “lack-lustre” leadership of Granger could be explained by his struggle, for some time, with health issues that were recently diagnosed as cancer. We will not explore the motivation and the relentless campaign of former president Bharrat Jagdeo, who remained an unyielding foe of Granger, and who in fact filed the “no-confidence” motion. We will ignore the conspiracy theories about “malice aforethought” on the part of Persaud. So too, we will save, perhaps for another editorial offering, our commentary on the racial, social, historical and economic fault lines in the Guyana body politic. What we are celebrating is that a wise man stood up! A wise man, much like the three wise men of Christmas, refused to be seduced or induced by officialdom.

Interestingly, at this most blessed time of the year when we are celebrating the wise men, we learned that another wise man gave up all in opposition to US President Donald Trump and his head-scratching antics. Trump very rarely takes the considered and sound advice of the experts in his government. His oversized ego and conceit (he considers himself the brightest bulb in the room at all times, and everyone else is an “imbecile” and a “loser”), will not permit him to pay the more earnest heed. So, against the advice of US allies and geopolitical and military experts, he summarily announced the immediate withdrawal of US forces from Syria. Well, for the US Secretary of Defence, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Trump’s latest outrage was one that he could not abide. He took a stand!

Would that politicians in the Caribbean display like intestinal fortitude to do that which their gut tells them is right . . . and good and proper and just. It is almost an article of faith here in the Caribbean that ruling party politicians seldom rock the boat to speak out and go against their own governments. It is sad and sick that politicians, men and women who were once upstanding pillars in society, suddenly become like jellyfish – with no backbone. They have become weak-kneed and wishy-washy . . . afraid to confront their leadership

. . . afraid to jeopardise their perks! Instead of the three wise men, they are like unto the three blind mice (emphasis on mice – timid and pusillanimous) . . . much like the three monkeys from a famed African fable, they “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil!”  Yes, parliaments up and down the Caribbean archipelago are stacked with yellow-bellied men and women who ‘purge their consciences’ every day, and instead of being the servants of the people, grovel and become slaves to the party and the party leadership. It is a crying shame!

We call on men and women of good will in our parliaments to join with Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia and Gaspar of India (the names of the three wise men according to Armenian tradition) and Persaud, and “Mad Dog” Mattis, to defy the King Herods in their jurisdictions and do right by the people. Your failure to act, much like your silence, gives consent.

Meanwhile, we here at NEWSCO take this opportunity to wish all our fellow-countrymen a most delightful and blessed Christmas. May the peace and goodwill that the angel spoke so beautifully about, imbue our hearts and minds and inform our relationship with each other and the Almighty. May the wisdom displayed by the wise men reveal itself in the coming year. We thank you ever so much for your love and support of Observer radio and THE DAILY OBSERVER, and we look forward to serving you with the best product possible in the months and years ahead. May God bless Antigua and Barbuda abundantly!