Reacting to a stinging critique of the PNC under Granger degutting of the Foreign Service, one long-standing defender of Burnham, Bacchus, took offence at the former PPP Minister of Foreign Trade’s comment: “Those of us who lived through the Burnham dictatorship would easily discern the similarities in the diplomatic gallivanting and opportunistic forum shopping between the then Burnham dictatorship and the extant Granger caretaker administration.”
The interlocutor – the wife of a prominent trade unionist – retorted, “There was no “diplomatic gallivanting” of the Forbes Burnham administration. His foreign policy, in the Cold War era and the period of struggles against colonisation and apartheid, was studiously conceptualised and executed with precision by personnel of competence.” Really?? Well, there’s no need to speculate about Burnham’s foreign policy adventures: let’s just quote Dr Festus Brotherson’s paper, “The Foreign Policy of Guyana, 1970-1985: Forbes Burnham’s search for legitimacy”.
Brotherson wasn’t just an academic; he was a die-hard PNC who was Executive Secretary (ag) in the Departments of Planning and Research and of Foreign Affairs, member of the PNC Central Executive Committee, and Editor of New Nation, the PNC’s newspaper. He was a consummate insider in the Burnhamite dictatorship. This is what he said about Burnham’s “struggles against colonialism and apartheid” in international bodies such as NAM and G77:
“This image of Guyana, as a well-intentioned, principled loyalist of the NAM cause, made to suffer for its loyalty, is a flawed one. The country’s foreign policy was not crafted over the years to serve the objective national interest. Rather, the overriding objective of Guyana’s authoritarian leadership was to do abroad what it had failed to do at home: ie, to establish legitimacy. With this approach, the late President Burnham sought to follow the strategy outlined by Niccolo Machiavelli, namely, to legitimise one’s regime by means of glorious foreign adventure or diplomatic success, which would whip up nationalist fervour on the one hand and stifle domestic opposition on the other, wringing grudging support from the latter in the process.”
The objective of a country’s foreign policy is supposed to be the furtherance of its thrust for development. Compared to say, Singapore – which was at our level of development with less resources when they got independence in 1965 – what did Burnham achieve for Guyana?? As Brotherson writes: “between 1980 and 1987, Guyana ranked fourth from the bottom of Third World countries suffering economic decline”. Singapore, which embraced free enterprise as apposed to Burnham’s co-op socialism, moved from a per capita GDP of US$925 in 1970 to US$6782 in 1985!! And is now #1 in competitiveness!!
But yet Granger wants to follow Burnham’s gallivanting in G77!! Also in search of legitimacy!!
Your Eyewitness is waiting for the Pastors Party (officially the “People’s Republic Party) to launch their manifesto. He was intrigued that they took the time to make an early declaration that they were totally opposed to folks of the same sex getting married. There were so many other pressing issues, he thought – the voters’ list; our plummeting economy; Ferguson’s Palace etc – which they just glided over. Your Eyewitness, therefore, figured they’d discerned some danger in same-sex marriage that threatened our national survival, which has obviously escaped all the other political parties.
Were these goodly pastors (their confidence in their “goodness” was promising in wanting to “save” the rest of us!) worried that this same-sex marriage thing was “catching”? Like those pesky flu viruses that pop up every year, or those American holidays like Thanksgiving, that’s suddenly in?? If it wasn’t catching then, there was no danger of our birth rate dropping too far – with the same-sex couples unable to procreate and all that!
Ah well…ain’t democracy a great thing?
Seems those two feisty young ladies – Tina and Mona – who created a ruckus over the Police videoing them – have been taken under the wing of Simona “I Is” Broomes.
Who better than the “boom out” Minister who created that ruckus with the security guards??