Home Letters PPP/C has always been a multi-racial party
The mammoth Albion rally was what Berbicians needed not only to invigorate and energise them but to provide that shining light of hope in their moments of despair and acute sufferings. The behemoth collection of PPP/C supporters punctuated very short intervals with “Granger must go! The coalition must go! Vote them out!” The refrain was unending and reverberated loudly in the atmosphere at Albion.
However, the PPP/C’s Prime Ministerial Candidate Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips’ quick march to the podium and his incisive and assertive delivery made it clear to all that he had come home to return his country on the path to progress! He had come back to send an unequivocal message to Harmon and the PNC that the PPP/C is a party for all the races – all the people of Guyana! Not only Afro-Guyanese! This energetic speech made me traverse back in time.
At Buxton, Joseph Harmon made a most disparaging and disrespectful remark not only to Brigadier Mark Phillips but to all those Guyanese whose constitutional right it is to choose a political party of his/her choice, when he scornfully declared that, “It is really a contemptuous act on the part of the PPP that says ‘look once you put up a Black face deh, Black people are going to vote for you…No way, no way, no way, I say, no way, I say, no way.”
He further referred to Jagdeo’s call for inclusivity of all races as a “contemptuous statement”. If Harmon’s reasoning is deemed to be correct then his Government has wasted billions of dollars in the Social Cohesion Ministry since he seems to believe that Blacks belong to his party, the PNC. I wish for Harmon to go back to the formation of the PPP and he will learn that the PPP was formed by both Afro- and Indo-Guyanese but it was the greed for power which caused one of its founders to split from the PPP in 1955.
In 1954, a British parliamentary fact-finding mission found that Burnham’s whole political approach was opportunistic and he made several failed attempts to hijack the PPP’s leadership. He finally engineered a split in 1955 but continued to call his faction the PPP until 1957 when he officially launched the People’s National Congress (PNC).
However, even Burnham’s close friend RBO Hart wrote in the then Guiana Graphic on February 20, 1955, one week after the split that, “Burnham now emerges as a racial and sectional leader. He leads the African section of the population rather more than less. Jagan has greater claims to being called a national leader, since in any showdown, Jagan will get 10 times as many following him, as Burnham will get Indians”. The PNC never changed and if any party is guilty of tokenism then it should not be the PPP!
History will attest that the PPP was never formed for Indians. It was formed for all Guyanese but Burnham formed the PNC primarily to capture the Black votes. This was dictated by the USA and Britain’s desire to topple the PPP Government since they knew of Burnham’s greed for power. It is a mark of willful deceit that Harmon ignores his party’s history but that is how the PNC operates. These people are giving a new and ignominious meaning to ‘honesty and decency’.
Therefore, Brigadier Phillips has gone back to his roots where Black people have been an integral and inherent of that root – the PPP! All races are always welcomed to the PPP/C! He asked a pertinent question: How will Harmon address the non Afro-Guyanese in the PNC? He can go back to Dr Latchmansingh and Jai Narine Singh in 1955 and work forward!
In closing, I would wish for Harmon to call Volda Lawrence’s statement ‘contemptuous’ when she had sought to explain her discriminatory statement about giving jobs to only PNC people. An issued statement said that “The Chairman stated that we must bring in everyone in whether they looked like her or not”. What sayest thou Harmon?