Once again, the People’s National Congress (PNC) is refusing to heed the strictures of the Constitution to insist on remaining in power, by any means necessary. In 1964, they insisted on voting be changed from “First Past The Post” to Proportional Representation. They then flagrantly rigged elections in 1968, 1973, 1980 and 1985 – with the referendum of 1978 thrown in for good measure. In 1992, it took a call from the White House for Desmond Hoyte to demit office after that landmark free and fair election.
In 1997, they protested the internationally certified elections and rioted in the streets, leading to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) truncating their term and holding elections in 2001. Losing once again, they launched their “slow fyaah; mo’ fyaah” strategy that segued into open warfare against the Guyanese State. In 2006, they again protested their losing results and Police had to open fire (rubber bullets) on protesters. In 2011 and 2015, when along with the Alliance For Change, they checkmated the PPP Government all was quiet. Now that they lost on a No-confidence Motion in 2018, all sorts of excuses are thrown around as to why they will not leave office.
After the Joint communiqué following the meeting between the President and Jagdeo, I am reminded of what I wrote after hundreds of Indian-Guyanese were beaten in the streets of Georgetown on Jan 12 1998, in the wake of PNC protests.
“While for purposes of analyses we may sometime distinguish ends from means, they are ontologically identical since ends are no more than realised means. If we persist with the artificial distinction in real life, we court disaster. The recently Caricom-brokered (Herdmanston) Accord between the PNC and the PPP is a case in point: while in theory it appears to be a step forward out of our Guyanese dilemma, the means by which the PNC brought the PPP to the table vitiates all hope of any lasting and permanent progress.
The Accord rewards the PNC for jettisoning the rule of law and due process in Guyana. It rewards the PNC for demonstrating to the people that if you lose by a set of rules you yourself had drafted, simply seize the umpire and demand new rules which will guarantee your victory. The Accord rewards the PNC for its willfully lawless, bullying tactics culminating in the January 12 pogrom launched by African-Guyanese against Indian-Guyanese.
The PNC went into the elections under some misguided notion that they could wean away enough Indians (with the help of the micro parties), from the PPP to win the elections outright. But with the benefit of 1992 hindsight, they had a fallback plan. When by 23:00h on December 15, they knew they had lost, they activated Plan B. The audit will reveal that the election machinery was thrown into a loop because polling agents from Region Four did not submit signed Statements of Poll . This is not a fortuitous circumstance: investigation will reveal that most of these recalcitrant officers are graduates of the old PNC rigging combine. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out what happened.
Exploiting the crisis they themselves had manufactured, they proceeded to do what the PNC can do best – destablising the PPP. Seeking ex-parte injunctions, staging marches, closing down businesses and governmental offices, appealing to “kith and kin” in the Disciplined Forces, they were bent on forcing the PPP to conclude as they had in 1964, that they could not govern the country, and for the PNC to step into their shoes.
In tandem with these activities, they made escalating demands, as will all bullies when they see their victim backing down. The PPP has gone beyond what even the PNC had been asking for. For instance, the proposals for constitutional reforms and a truncated term of office were suggested by the PPP on its own, according to Ralph Ramkarran of the PPP.
The PPP misjudges the PNC… the PNC will be satisfied with nothing less than total power. It is not interested with sharing power with the PPP, which Ramkarran informs us, is implied by its offer of constitutional reform. Hoyte is following his mentor Burnham in absolutely rejecting this option. As soon as the Caricom team had departed, Hoyte, while addressing his “Religious Rally” declared that he would accept nothing less than the PPP out of office.
The PNC can, and will, manufacture any number of reasons to abrogate the Accord…”
What, if anything, has changed??