I received a rather interesting email message recently from someone in Toronto I think deserves mention at least to jump-start this piece. The email stated that the single biggest obstacle to progress in Guyana has been the PNC now APNU. The PNC party has never won a fair election on its own.
For those of us who lived under the PNC, the aforesaid comment is nothing new but a sad reminder of a not too distant past. But those who were born just before 1992 and are currently the majority population, this history needs to be told to them at least on the eve of 50 years of colonial emancipation dubbed fancily as independence. Guyana seems to be stuck in-depends.
For about 28 years, the PNC stayed in power through rigged elections, intimidation, suppression and brutalization. Now, the full repercussions of the illegal PNC regime have yet to be fully assessed, particularly by those who supported it, particularly by those who have returned to power under a different guise, particularly by those who are willing to forget the past.
One thing is absolutely sure about PNC rule in Guyana. It moved the country backwards for at least fifty years with regard to human development with the most obvious being in education and health care as well as the suppression of various forms of freedom. This is when Guyanese, especially Indians, began to distrust government. This is when racial tensions in Guyana escalated. This is when mass migration in Guyana spiraled out of control. This is when the good reputation of Guyana took a nosedive. Tell me, how can a country recover from this experience?
One does not have to hold a PhD in political science or ethics to be convinced if the Jagans had ruled Guyana half of the time the PNC did, Guyana would have been a better place today. The Jagans were young and full of energy. They were decent and honest. They had always put Guyana first. They had the support of most of the people. They had their faults. They knew their limitations. Cheddi Jagan never mastered the urban Euro-Creole language, Guyana’s national language, because he identified more with his rural support base.
The Jagans never had in their blood to suppress the Guyanese people as much as the PNC did for the sake of power. Arguably, the Jagans would not have rigged elections. Over time, they would have been more open to power sharing with the opposition. Walter Rodney would have been alive.
Before May 2015, any writing on the PNC was a futile exercise, a waste of time. But since the old guards of PNC are back in power, so do the analyses of grave concerns that have reached worrying heights.
Rhyaan Shah observed impressively that the President and his gang have turned Burnham party paramountcy into personality paramountcy. Her perception is spot on. She is bright.
The gang of ageing men in the coalition regime, and more so from the AFC entourage, are encapsulated in the drunken chalice of power. This gang is guided, guarded and governed by not the duties of leadership but rights of leadership. This gang is intellectually lazy.
When your name is David Granger, Moses Nagamootoo, Khemraj Ramjattan, Joe Harmon, Raphael Trotman, among others, then certain things come easy: a good salary, a safe and secured place to live, a good health plan, a good vacation package, and a ticket to fly out of Guyana any time.
But when you still have the above names certain questions are difficult to answer: How come the nation is at standstill? How come the economy has slumped since last year? What are you going to do about the crime situation? When are you going to deliver?
By far, the single saddest event in post-independence Guyana is the denial of Cheddi Jagan’s right to govern Guyana for nearly three decades. Jagan was probably a dictator of the Indian proletarian, awkward, infatuated with communism, and the like but he should have never been denied the right to govern by a clique of political animals.
Can you imagine if things were reversed? This is where Jagan is unmatchable. He was never wicked, never violent-oriented, but was considerate and careful about the Other in the pursuit of power. Jagan remains a victim of political apartheid in the Caribbean.
I do hope during the fifty years of wining, dining and sporting, Jagan can hear these words in his grave from the Almighty. Come home my native son, you have laboured amongst the beasts of beasts. You are tired. Come and nestle into my arms so that you will feel the flow of my blood in yours. They are warm. You are safe. Your people are safe. Your children of all race and ethnicity in Guyana will someday taste the milk and honey that was denied to you for about 30 of the 50 years independence ([email protected]).