If Boris Johnson is a clown why not those in Guyana?
Kaieteur News – There are some shocking, flap-free, acidic descriptions by the former UK Cabinet Minister of current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his predecessor, Theresa May. Sir Ian Duncan, a former International Development Minister and Johnson’s deputy when Johnson was Foreign Secretary, painted this canvas in a newly released biography, “In the Thick of It.”
Duncan referred to Johnson as “a clown, a self-centered ego, a vicious buffoon, with a sloppy mind and sub-zero diplomatic judgment.” On the former Prime Minister, May, she wrote that she had no personality in pursuit of the campaign and that she is “a scared rabbit, a cardboard cutter, her social skills are below zero.”
There are two things to note about these insights. No libel chicks are going to be because British courts, like American courts, are going to interpret those reflections of Duncan as disgusting but fair comments on public figures who must face critical assessments of their performance and their style. In fact, if the publishers felt that the words were libelous they would not have kept them in the book.
In fact, Duncan had some devastating things to say about the current Home Office Minister, whom we in Guyana know as Home Affairs. She is an East Indian woman, Priti Patel, who holds extreme right wing views. Duncan, a former head of the University of Essex, where Patel graduated, as a student, noted that Patel was “extremely demanding.” Duncan wrote that Patel was “a person of nothing, a complete and utter nightmare.”
Unfortunately, Guyana’s old-fashioned libel laws will remain because whichever party is in power, it will feel protected from critics by the ancient laws and are not interested in amending them. The judge’s attitude to stop frivolous soles is abandoned and the most powerful way to prevent nonsensical libel trials is by imposing a huge cost. If you sue for the most illogical reason and you lose, the maximum cost you pay will not exceed $ 200,000. If judges set a serious cost like $ 1 Million or $ 2 Million, it could help stem the tide. People are going to think twice about filing frivolous writs if they know they will have to pay millions in cost.
The other thing to note about Duncan’s features of the British Ministers is their application to Guyana. Do these descriptions apply to Guyana? My answer is yes. I have consistently argued on this page that the politicians who came to power in 2015 are top-class circus clowns, unfit to lead a modern Caribbean nation.
Let’s provide some examples. Every high school student knows from reading his books that the state is primarily concerned with the security of the entire territory. When APNU + AFC came into force, they changed the name of the Ministry from Home Affairs to Public Safety. The person responsible for that should never have become a Minister.
The Government’s role in the security of a country is all-encompassing so its jurisdiction is national. A simple, common sense label should have been “National Security.” Take health. The Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Public Health. The same logic applies to education and agriculture. But the word, public ”was not put before the ministries of Education and Agriculture respectively.
The Ministry of Public Works was changed to Public Infrastructure. Why “infrastructure?” Doesn’t it “work a simpler word and does it have a wider meaning? How do you explain this illogical, overlapping thinking? There is only one answer – the people responsible are clowns who couldn’t perform in the circus.
Duncan wrote that Theresa lacked personality in the pursuit of the campaign and that her social skills were below zero. To which government leader in Guyana does that portrayal apply? The answer is David Granger. I have consistently argued on this page that Granger’s personality contributed to his election defeat in 2020.
Granger was never suited to West Indian politics. Guyana is an essential part of the West Indies. He has the style of West Indian politics. West Indies like their politicians to relax with them, use Creolese, laugh and joke with them. They like their politicians to be a people person. They like their politicians to be light, moderate and humble. Granger had none of these qualities. He was stiff, severely perennial and distant.
From his attitude to the media, the analyst knew he was the wrong man to lead Guyana. He always tended to insult journalists if awkward questions were asked. He did not have the ability to emulate his Burnham hero. Burnham would turn any embarrassing question into a ribbing joke. Granger cost his party to lose power. But he chose to accept such a leader.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.)