The rule of the PPP has degenerated in forms that are worse than under Burnham
Sunday, March 23rd 2008
I refer to a letter in your Good Friday edition by Minister Clement Rohee. It is an evaluation of the politics of Tacuma Ogunseye. I have adopted a policy that once Mr Rohee writes on the politics of this land, I will reply even if I am on my sick bed. It is important that those who care about Guyana and want to stop its gradual destruction by the PPP in a wanton display of political immorality that has exceeded the autocracy of Forbes Burnham, should inform the Guyanese people about this crass display of hypocrisy. Mr Rohee has armed himself with a pugnacious attitude, meaning that despite the ocean of venalities that the PPP is swimming in he will fight back and argue that there is proper government in this land. Even before the ink is dried on his letters, those of us who fought for the post 1968 freedoms of this country should not let political “has beens” like Mr Rohee fool our young people
The caption you gave Mr. Rohee’s letter I found to be an advantage in my response here. It is titled “Mr. Ogunseye’s approach in rejecting compromise and realpolitik as reflected in the day to day struggle for a better Guyana leaves the political arena open to the worst elements in our midst.” Your title is actually taken from a paragraph of Mr. Rohee’s letter. It shows the superficial understanding of political concepts by Mr Rohee and reminds us of the time he confused Dominica and the Dominican Republic when he addressed the UN in his capacity as Foreign Minister. Why he was not demoted after that humongous and unforgivable lapse shows the nature of Cheddi Jagan. Mr. Rohee totally misunderstands what “realpolitik” means But let’s move on to more substantial dimensions of this letter.
Sadly, Mr. Ogunseye’s politics has morphed into extremist forms. In the days of the WPA, Mr. Ogunseye acquired the status of a respected freedom fighter. Mr. Rohee and I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ogunseye. He fought long and hard in an endeavour that not even Cheddi Jagan could match. What has happened to Mr. Ogunseye is that he watched as Mr. Rohee, Mr. Jagdeo, Mrs. Jagan and the rest of the PPP leaders took his efforts, those of the WPA and so many of us and destroyed the values that returned to Guyana after the long struggle against Burnham. I am not excusing the extremist politics of Mr. Ogunseye. In that sense he betrayed Walter Rodney. If Ogunseye reads the recent speech on race by Barack Obama he probably would back off of his present doctrinaire position. Listening to Obama was as if Walter Rodney was speaking
Few political analysts would deny the process of African marginalization under the PPP. The need to diminish the “other side” is a tragic game the PNC and the PPP have played while in power. PPP ministers like Rohee know that African marginalization is the terrifying reality that may bring down the PPP, thus the frenetic, Pavlovian urge to reject the existence of the process whenever it is spoken of by opposition forces. The really sad thing about the PNC and PPP is that they are hopelessly trapped in the race game where the “other side” has to be weakened. It is in this context that I feel uncomfortable with the concept “marginalization.” I prefer the term “racial discrimination” because marginalization has a deliberate ring to it that I do not believe existed in the minds of the PNC leaders from 1968 to 1985 when Burnham died. And since 1992 in the PPP. When you refer to marginalization, you seem to wipe away the fundamental error in the political culture of the PPP and PNC, and that is they have to practice racial discrimination because it is the only way they can keep their constituencies intact. The tragedy of Guyana is that if the PNC returns, the East Indians will be diminished. The tragedy of Guyana is that once the PPP stays in power, the African communities will be neglected. For Guyana to develop, it has to go beyond the PNC and PPP. The African people did that after Burnham became totally intolerable. It is time now for the East Indians to reject the PPP
I believe the rule of the PPP has degenerated in forms that are worse than under Forbes Burnham. In my recent UG seminar (that causes so much questionable controversy elsewhere) I delineated four areas where the decay has become more frightening than under Burnham. They are: first, the labyrinth connecting the drug people and powerful members of the political establishment. It has certainly alarmed the Americans but the Americans have deliberately eschewed the exertion of pressure on the Guyana Government out of fear that if it falls, the vacuum may bring too many uncertainties that may have dire consequences for the region. Satisfied that it got Roger Khan, the Americans have eased the heat on the government. This unsavoury connection has spawned a group of rich people that have become more powerful than the government and the security forces. They are virtually the kings of Guyana. And they are buying up the country.
Secondly, Guyana must be the only society in the world where the children of the political controllers of the state have used state resources as if they own them. This is part of the degeneracy of the PPP that cries out for research. Burnham would not have allowed this. The wives and children of Burnham’s elite circle worked in ordinary jobs. Elvin Mc David’s wife was a junior teacher at St. Roses High School. An investigation would show that the children of PPP and governmental leaders have creamed off fantastic state jobs most of which are funded by international agencies. There is the absurdity where one of these children is being paid three thousand American dollars a month for a job in which she has not even a day’s training. They have now moved into property and land ownership. If the PPP stays in power for ten more years, there will be no more state lands. They will either be given away or sold to party people.
Thirdly, it is highly unlikely that Forbes Burnham would have tolerated the corruption monster that has devoured the Jagdeo Government. Surely, Guyana under the present regime has emerged as the worst corrupt regime in the history of British, French and Dutch West Indies.
Fourth and finally, there may have emerged in the leadership of this government an element of racism that I do not think was ever as determined and poisonous under Burnham. If the Indian group in the PNC like Teekah, Chandisingh, Shahabudeen, Ramsaroop, Pandit Sharma and others had complained to Burnham about African racism directed against them, Burnham would have been livid. In the PPP, open racists are openly embraced. Rohee ought to know that if any thing is certain about Guyana it is its uncertain future.
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