Kicking National unity… PPP’s teeth

At the last sitting of Parliament Tuesday night before the Big Jubilee Flag raising ceremony, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo literally rose to the occasion and delivered one of the most moving calls for national reconciliation. He was acclaimed even by the government benches for his magnanimity since very few in his position – as the officially and constitutionally defined role of “Opposition Leader” – had ever offered an unreserved olive branch.

“We believe that we have to work together regardless of our political persuasion to move our country forward. We too share a vision for our country… with ideals… similar to that the President (Granger).” He pledged that after the Independence celebrations, the PPP would spend the year working to bring the country together. “The patriotism of the PPP must never be questioned,” he concluded. Afterwards he spoke specifically to the Junior Minister of Education, in charge of the Flag-raising ceremony at midnight of May 25/26, assuring her that he and his MPs would be there.

Many had hoped after this ringing peroration for unity, Jagdeo and Granger might duplicate the famous embrace between Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham in that inaugural raising of the Golden Arrowhead when the Union Jack was lowered for the last time on May 26, 1966. But such idealists… and Jagdeo… were given a swift kick in the teeth rather than an embrace when they arrived at the Jubilee Park for the grand event.

Imagine there were no seats reserved for the PPP dignitaries – just a couple for former Presidents Jagdeo and Hinds!  While all sorts of other persons – some in the most casual attire in disrespect of the solemn occasion – were escorted to VIP seats, the PPP MPs were left standing for 45 minutes. Refusing to be disrespected any longer, the Opposition Leader and his MPs left the ground. When former President Ramotar later arrived and discovered what had transpired, he also left.

There was no other course of action open to them: the callous disrespect by the APNU/AFC government was not just an insult to the PPP individuals on site, but the 202,000 Guyanese whom they represent.

How can President Granger and his government even utter words like “unity” and “social cohesion” when they would not even deign to pick up the olive branch held out by the Opposition so openly?

Combined with all the other events that determinedly and flagrantly insisted on overwhelmingly showcasing only individuals from the old PNC days, it appears clear that all the rhetoric of “unity” and “coming together” aren’t even worth a bucket of warm spit.

That at least, doesn’t stink to high heavens.

…with National Awards

At his first opportunity to hand out National Awards last year, President David Granger picked 52 worthies as deserving of the honour. He assured it was totally on merits that former Prime Minister and City Mayor, Hamilton Green; PNC General Secretary, Oscar Clarke; former Minister of Information in the PNC administration, Yvonne Harewood-Benn; former PNC Executive Member Supriya Singh-Boden and former PNC Home Affairs Minister Llewellyn John all received awards. Nothing to do with him being also Leader of the PNC, you cynical reader, you.

Well, this year, in the conveniently scheduled government-sponsored African-Guyanese Awards in observance of the UN Decade of People of African Descent, PNC Executive Carl Greenidge proffered another reason. He claimed the PPP avoided doling out National Awards between 1992 and 2015 just to slight African Guyanese. They were the only ones deserving of those awards since they dominate the Public Service and Disciplined Forces. Other fields aren’t “national”, presumably.

Well, this year another 85 worthies collected their Awards.

Same background, naturally! Rectification of “PPP spite.”

…at “National Symposia”

The Jubilee celebrations opened with a “National Symposia” at Arthur Chung Conference Centre last Tuesday.

Guess out of the 70 scholars analysing the “Independence Journey” how many Indian Guyanese made the cut!

Let us acknowledge the magnanimity of Dr Jagan, who was ousted from office unfairly, still showing up to show his solidarity with Mr Burnham on the inaugural occasion.