…and PNC bedfellows
So many of our everyday “sayings” have originated in one or another play by Shakespeare, and these have produced their own derivatives. The man had an opinion on everything!! Take the one from “The Tempest”, when the Bard claimed, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.” Two centuries later, this had morphed into, “Politics makes strange bedfellows”, and shows that when folks couldn’t do anything about their miseries in the 17th century, all they could do was huddle to commiserate with each other. But by the 19th century and the rise in electoral politics, all sorts of folks with a common enemy were willing to hop into bed with each other – and even get it on under the covers!!
Well, your Eyewitness recently was advised there’d be a panel discussion on social media on “Forbes Burnham: In time, place and memory” by the strange bedfellows of David Hinds, Hamilton Green, Vincent Alexander and Henry Jeffrey. He couldn’t resist THAT, could he? The occasion was the anniversary of Burnham’s death on Aug 6th, 1985. But by pure serendipity, in the same week, the Rodney CoI Report was finally approved by the National Assembly. Its conclusion? Burnham was complicit in the Rodney assassination!
But here it was that Hamilton Green, the fella who’d denied employment to Rodney at UG, was now discussing the man who’d given the order to kill Rodney with the most vociferous member of Rodney’s party, the WPA!! Ingredients for an explosive interaction? You bet! So, your Eyewitness sat down with his popcorn to enjoy the expected fireworks. Sadly, they never came, since the two most salient “memories” of Burnham’s time – rigging and Rodney’s assassination – were never mentioned!!
But Rodney himself had spoken about Burnham and his rigging: “We have said before that the Burnham dictatorship would prefer to hide under the disguise of being a democracy. Elections have not been abolished; instead, they have been rigged in such a way as to become a complete mockery of the most fundamental of rights – the right to self-determination and free choice of one’s government. The rigged elections of 1968 and 1973 and the amazing referendum fraud of July, 1978 all indicate that Guyanese people have not chosen the PNC clique. The regime holds power by armed force. Guyanese are finding from their own experience that the dictatorship hates to be reminded that it is a dictatorship. To expose the dictatorship, the first step is to denounce the government as illegal and illegitimate.
“The people must remove any confusion in their own minds and see the dictator clearly for what he is: a villain and a monster, the principal enemy of the people.”
Burnham killed, but couldn’t silence Rodney!
…of (Burnham’s) Dictatorship
Rodney also described the nature of Burnham and his minions: “Like all classic dictatorships, that which exists in Guyana has fostered the cult of the personality. The minority PNC regime has used all manner of tricks and gimmicks to make the “Comrade Leader” appear to be a demi-god. (Like) on the exercise books of school children, the face of the reigning English Monarch was simply replaced by that of the Prime Minister. (There is also) the highly personalised nature of the dictatorship. The dictator and his cronies make it their business to hire and fire…(via) the state control over the economy was the main weapon used to keep people in line (or) who to prosecute in the courts…
“Burnham encourages around himself individuals who are weak or corrupt, because he then exercises vicious control over them… On the international scene, Burnham could never be a powerful force. But he has proved crafty and cunning in achieving his ends within Guyana.
“An old woman at Bourda shouted at a recent political meeting that “Burnham mek Satan cry!”
…and Burnham’s touch
Rodney advised we mustn’t mince words on Burnham: “Our language must express not only ridicule, but anger and disgust. Guyana has seen the “Burnham Touch” – anything he touches turns to shit!”