From ‘colonial divide and rule’ to ‘local divide and overthrow’

Dear Editor,
We all know the old colonial model of domination was based not only on economic exploitation but also on divide and rule. Guyana was subjected to this sinister strategy, a strategy of creating and reproducing structural antagonisms among our people.
Formal colonialism may well be gone, but now, it has been replaced by an equally sinister plot, namely ‘divide and overthrow’ (my construction). The main objective of divide and overthrow is to cramp the current Administration in its efforts at economic and national development and ultimately remove the PPP/C from office in the next national elections. The plan has already begun and daily iterations of it are spread across the pages of a couple of dailies.
The crux of divide and overthrow is to split the PPP leadership at the top, in this instance, to create a wedge between President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo.
The plan will fail because both men are astute politicians and are fully cognisant of what is afoot. They are superbly equipped to deal with the machinations of the handful of self-described activists who play on narratives foreign domination by the very companies that have put Guyana on a path to leapfrogging entire stages of modernisation.
There are two similarities between the divide and rule methods of the 1950s and 1960s in British Guiana, and the divide and overthrow campaign currently underway.
Firstly, as Fr Andrew Morrison has admitted, the Church used its principal organ, the Catholic Standard to attack the PPP because it was afraid of losing what Dr Rishi Thakur some time ago labelled “Anglo-Christian hegemony” (Thakur, 1994). Today, the press is again at it. Not a day goes by without letters, editorials, or columns advocating the split in the PPP leadership. Catholic Standard, of course, later became a leading light for the democratisation of Guyana once what it wanted (defeat of PPP), turned out to be a definitive failure.
Secondly, the language of race and racism is now, like the period of foreign intervention, constantly used to divide the country, always disguised in the name of greater equality and other worthy objectives that are actually manipulated and maligned. President Ali just days ago spotted this invasive narrational species and repelled it with an impassioned call for national unity.
In the current moment of divide and overthrow, political mischief is hatched, petted, and fattened in so-called civil society outfits. Their products are then given full priority in various media spaces, both print and electronic.
Jagdeo and the PPP/C will prevail over the current efforts to sow division within the party and its supporters. They did it before. Just think of the security threats posed to the State in the early 2000s when Jagdeo was President and the mid-2000s when Irfaan was a member of the Cabinet. Many will also recall that anything that Jagdeo and his Government did in terms of development was characterised as ‘bound to fail’. If you are not old enough to know, or do not recall, the purveyors of division had predicted failure for the National Stadium, the Berbice Bridge, the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, the Hope Canal, the Marriott Hotel, not to mention the then President’s signature long-term development plan for sustainable development, namely, the LCDS.
All the above projects were successful, and the sustainable economic strategy is still buoyant in the form of the LCDS 2030. Space does not permit me here to go into Jagdeo’s transformation of Guyana from a seriously indebted nation, to one with a sustainable debt to GDP ratio, with renewed credibility of Guyana in International Financial Institutions. More on this to come.
There is no doubt that those who do not want to respect election results or are worried about their chances in the next elections, will resort to innuendo, half-truths, or outright lies, to besmirch the name of Bharrat Jagdeo with the aim of separating him from President Ali and the rest of PPP/C leadership. Why, might you ask? Well, the answer is straightforward. The Opposition and their so-called civil society backers know that President Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo are an indomitable pair in political leadership.
Divide and overthrow will fail miserably. Vice President Jagdeo is here to stay. If you doubt that, go to the next outreach that he leads.
Dr Randy Persaud