By STABROEK STAFF | LETTERS | MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012
Freddie Kissoon is bang-on with his position that the PPP has and has always had an authoritarian culture. However, Mr Kissoon did not examine why. I must state that many features of the analysis below are applicable to that other political wrecker-in-chief, the PNC, now APNU. It starts with the fact that the PPP remains a communist party at heart. Communist parties are totalitarian in structure and practice. Nonsensical notions like democratic centralism are used only to hoodwink the followers. At the end of the day, a handful of men and women handpicked by the bigwigs have always controlled all the power within the PPP, excluding the rank and file. Ever since Balram Singh Rai challenged the Jagans, the PPP has centralised power in the hands of a few who make all the decisions for the hundreds of thousands who support the party. It is this travesty that saddled this nation with a neophyte like Mr Jagdeo who went on to rival Burnham for his authoritarian tendencies and currently Donald Ramotar, who had many questions surrounding his qualifications for the presidency. The autocracy started with the Jagans and has continued. Cheddi Jagan’s political skill and class made him an obvious choice for leader but there was nothing wrong in Cheddi being re-elected in a proper transparent democratic process.
Authoritarianism thrived in the PPP because of several factors. Firstly, the PPP inner circle fooled its membership into believing that internal dictatorship was necessary for the survival of the PPP in order to prevent Western intrusion. Secondly, this argument was extended to the claim that PPP’s internal dictatorship was necessary to fight the PNC dictatorship. Thirdly, the PPP inserted serious anti-dissent clauses in its communist constitution to keep the membership in line. Fourthly, totalitarian concepts like democratic centralism were masqueraded as democracy when they were nothing but rank autocracy. Fifthly, the PPP exploited the lack of education about democracy among its supporters. Sixthly, the PPP exploited ethnic insecurity and promoted the concept that democracy within the party was expendable in order to maintain the PPP’s standing as the provider of security for Indians. The PPP blurred the lines between ethnic affinity and party fairness. Ethnic security or insecurity is no barrier to internal party democracy. In fact, the PNC has just demonstrated that fact. Democratic elections within the PPP would have still delivered Cheddi and Janet Jagan as leaders, but likely not Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar.
Ninth, the PPP practised blame transference by focusing on the PNC’s dictatorship to deflect its own internal autocracy. Tenth, the PPP congresses were carefully managed, controlled and influenced events which led to the same set of people getting selected again and again to the prime positions within the PPP. Eleventh, the PPP centralised power to small groups such as its Executive Committee, a group of 15 that directs and controls the party. Twelfth, the PPP fosters functional superiority where an incompetent who is loyal must be put on a pedestal by the general membership simply because he has ingratiated himself with those who were handpicked for power. The incompetent serving as a minister or as a party executive must not be questioned and must be embraced at all costs. This is classic functional superiority and leads to party totalitarianism. Mr Jagdeo who could not hold a candle to men like Mr Nagamootoo and Mr Ramkarran within the PPP obtained functional superiority over these giants by an innately undemocratic selection process led by Janet Jagan. The same could be said for Donald Ramotar’s selection as the PPP’s presidential candidate. Thirteenth, the PPP has planted some fears in its supporters such as don’t-split-the-vote and unity-at-all-costs to detract PPP supporters from the real problem of internal dictatorship.
There is nothing wrong in the PPP having an internal revolution akin to what occurred in the PNC after its 2006 election debacle. Despite its continuing flaws, the PNC has become more democratic than the PPP and has elected its presidential candidate in a far more transparent process than the PPP. It is quite ironic that PPP supporters who complained bitterly about the PNC dictatorship had nothing to say about the PPP’s own internal dictatorship. The PPP supporters must demand democracy within the PPP before it wrecks itself. It is not only the loss of Indian support that internal authoritarianism brings, it is the loss of ethnic crossover voters who are necessary for the PPP to win a majority.
The post-colonial insanity of the PPP
The story of the failed leaders who inherited the territories of the Third World after the white man left is tragic in the extreme. No writer with access to Dickensian ability to use the English language can even attempt to describe the economic and psychological death of the Third World after Independence.
To say that I am not emotionally overjoyed with the defeat of Gaddafi is to exhibit immense personal dishonesty. This fool of a leader overthrew the monarchy forty years ago, then, became a monarch himself. One of his sons paid the superstar Beyonce, two million dollars to sing three songs. The year before, he paid Lionel Richie, one million dollars to do two songs. This money wasn’t his; it was the country’s resources he was using so wastefully.
All over the Third World you see the pitiful, Naipaulian failure of post-Independence leaders. Their people run from the psychological prison these rulers built and turn themselves into second class, third class and even tenth class citizens in other lands.
A friend of mine told me it was a horrible sight to see how four Berbician carpenters were living in Barbados. Apparently the employer of the construction work they were doing, allowed them to stay in a large dog kennel he had. I mean every word of this. I am dead serious of what I have just written here.
If the citizens of Niger, Guatemala etc., run away from their birthplace and submit to these semi-civilized conditions, one can understand, given the economic ruins they are fleeing from. But not Guyana. The consensus of the economists who visited this land is that Guyana is a rich territory.
What do our leaders do with our money? From August last year right up to the time of writing, the State is involved in the expenditure of funds to sustain non-stop entertainment. It has gone so bizarre that it goes beyond singers and dancers. They bring in international cricketers to play in meaningless matches. The Government essentially pays these cricketers and performers. Of course American money is the preferred currency.
I am still to make up my mind which is the stupidest statement I ever heard from a PPP leader since that party came to power in 1992. I know Mrs. Jagan wrote in one of her Mirror columns just before she died that Guyana’s medical services are superior to the US, because in Guyana there is free medical treatment. What was foolish about this is that if people could afford it they would spend their money on private hospitals and refuse the Health Ministry’s generosity.
The Secretary of the PPP’s Executive Committee is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Heath. His name is Hydar Ally. Mr. Ally published a brief letter in the Stabroek News informing readers that the founder of the communist ideology, Karl Marx was proven right by the United States in 2011 because right now in America, life is about the rich dominating the poor.
No one will pay any attention to Mr. Ally; no one did. But what is frightening is that this man occupies one of the most important positions in the public service and is a high-ranking member of the ruling party.
He is followed closely by another PPPite that has substantial authority in the public sector, Prem Misir. He wrote that all over the developed world (and he cited the UK), Governments are cutting back on funding the universities. This was meant to justify the limited money UG gets from the State. What Misir deliberately, and I say deliberately omitted, was the gigantic fact that Guyana has only one university while the UK has over one hundred.
Go on High Street today and you will see the post-colonial insanity of the PPP. More Guyanese citizens are served by the Licence Revenue Office at Smyth and Princes Streets than the Magistrates’ Court on High Street (courts 1, 2, 3). Yet there are extensive extensions being done to these courts and the High Court. But the Licence Revenue Office, smaller than perhaps the large cow pens of rich farmers, remains an incommodious hell-hole.
To accommodate the large influx of people who have to be there, Smyth Street, between Durban and Princes Streets, has been made into a one-way. The PPP expects more persons to be charged and placed before the courts so they extend the agencies of coercion. Institutions of force get more priority than places where development takes place. Only a change of government can save Guyanese.