…Cheddi, after Burnham
Your Eyewitness found it interesting that while Forbes Burnham’s 100th birth anniversary was commemorated quite extensively and in style by the PNC and other Afrocentric organisations, Cheddi Jagan’s 26th death anniversary passed with just a few comments by some older members of the PPP!! Now, it could be that a century is a “rounder” number, more worthy of commemoration than the “awkward” 26, but your Eyewitness thinks it’s more than that. It gotta do with how the two parties see the legacies of their “founder leaders” in their present circumstances.
For the PPP, they’ve unequivocally set out on a new path – away from the Marxist orthodoxies of Cheddi. Even though 28 years in the political wilderness had kept Cheddi away from the levers of power, he’d swallowed hard in 1992 when he took over, and inherited the IMF package foisted on Desmond Hoyte. For his whole life, he’d fought against the economic premises of what the IMF represented: miniscule governments, liberalised markets, and privatisation of state entities.
It’ true, however, that he didn’t go down without a fight, and he stopped the retrenching of Public Servants that had been started by Hoyte – something he’s not given credit for – and didn’t privatise GuySuCo. But after those 26 years since he passed, the new economic dispensation – dubbed neo-liberalism – is now the new orthodoxy, and the present PPP leadership aren’t about to put “the West on trial”!! From where your Eyewitness sits, it’s clear they’ve decided if their hand is in the tiger’s mouth, they better pat his head!!
Meanwhile, over in the PNC camp, his successors across the board were stumbling over each other to claim his legacy!! So monolithic is this thrust that even the WPA – whose leader, Rodney, was assassinated on the orders of Burnham – jumped aboard!! And what’s that legacy?? Right up there, of course, is to TALK about democracy, but betray its fundamental tenet of “rule by and for the people” by rigging elections. How can the “people” rule when they got no say in selecting their representatives??
And the irony is they’ve no need to rig elections!! But after being suckered by a coalition partner like Burnham, that insisted on kicking them to the ground – forcing them to rig after five years in power!! – they so loved their Leader they sacrificed their only chance of practising democratic politics! They forgot that “dis time nah lang time”!! The Yanks aren’t gonna go along with their schupidness, ’cause Jagan ain’t no mo – and his successors aren’t so daft as to follow his policies!!
So, what’s the lesson here? It’s one articulated millenia ago: you can’t stick your toe into the same river twice.
Rivers, like history, move on, and you gotta move with the times!!
…the old PNC paramountcy
But they do say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, and, as such, dogs used to sucking eggs will continue doing so. So here we now have the PNC claiming that a Government building in Lethem is theirs!! And how’d they accomplish this feat?? They don’t deny it’s a Government building, but they insist that since they’ve been occupying the building for almost FIFTY YEARS, they’ve earned prescriptive rights!! In other words, like the supporters they’re defending all over, they’ve been SQUATTING all these years, and now claim OWNERSHIP!!
But there’s another slant to the case. “Almost 50 years ago” means the PNC’s occupancy started around 1974. That’s just after their “Declaration of Sophia” – which announced the PNC paramount OVER the Government!! They even flew their flag over the Court of Appeal, then the highest power of the supposedly separate and equal Judicial Branch of Government!
So, are the present PNC following Burnham to declare “paramountcy” over Government – even when they’re out of power??
An environmental activist complained she visited the gas-to-shore landing site on West Demerara, and was told by “three men in hard hats” that she couldn’t remain. She found them “menacing”.
Didn’t the “hard hats” signal her non-compliance with safety rules??