As expected, there is a storm in a teacup conjured by what Jagdeo said at Babu John. This time by a Government which has no claim to upholding the laws of this country. All Jagdeo did was that he made an emotionally loaded utterance which graphically depicts a course of action to deal with this coalition’s barefaced violation of our Constitution heralding a new type of dictatorial rule in Guyana. The late Jagan would have done the same!
Since December 21, this coalition Government has done everything possible to destroy ethnic relations in Guyana. Therefore, It is quite hypocritical for the APNU/AFC and the MP Barbara Pilgrim to complain that Jagdeo’s statement runs counter to the country’s values of ethnic relations and social cohesion and “will only serve to create ethnic tensions and confusion in Region Six where I reside…I am, therefore, asking the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) to apply its strongest possible sanctions available against the maker of this statement”. The coalition has done so many things to cause ethnic divisions when they closed down the sugar estates, yet the people remained united and the continued violations of our Constitution have yet to spark racial divisions so Pilgrim’s statement to the ERC is utter rubbish.
On the other hand, the PPP’s Executive Secretary and MP for Region Six recognised that the current actions of the coalition have the possibility to create ethnic conflict and could have grave consequences for Guyana, its people and national harmony. This is not nit-picking like the APNU’s MP but based on realistic consequences. The coalition’s ‘acts and omissions’ with regards to the violation of Article 106 will have serious implications for ethnic relations and not the “chase them out” statement made by Jagdeo. Already, this violation and the refusal of the APNU/AFC Government is creating racial tensions as is evidenced by posts on social media. The statement did not connote violence against any particular ethnic group, it was a statement made against those who hold office in Government and who are of diverse ethnic bearings.
This ‘condemnation’ of Jagdeo’s statement is an attempt to silence the voice of the PPP’s leader so that civil society remains docile not unlike the PNC’s dark era from 1964 to1992. They feel that if you muzzle the leader then you can muzzle his followers. On many occasions, PPP officials were not only chased out of PNC-dominated areas but were physical manhandled and brutalised. Jagdeo is not asking for that, he is simply saying to tell them ‘you are no longer the President or the Prime Minister or a Minister and you should not be here in that capacity…you are illegally usurping that position, so get out of here!’ This will be done by mass protests and demonstrations not by violence. The PPP is not a party of violence and has never pursued that path, it has always been one of non-violence and non-co-operation.
It will really put a strain on a reasonable man’s imagination to conclude that Jagdeo’s statement promotes ethnic conflict and disharmony. There was no ‘call to violence or a breach of public order’ and to interpret the statement as such is to take away of our democratic right to reject what is illegal and unconstitutional.
All Guyanese must stand united and reject this Government which becomes illegal after March 21, 2019.