In the early years, the leadership of the PPP comprised a better racial composition
Guyanese must be very careful about the issues they choose to write about especially when they do not research their topic as is clearly the case with this essay by Arnold Sanasie.
Sanasie, if he is not a member of the PPP, should present himself at a PPP Congress and observe the overwhelming membership of the PPP being East Indians.
I myself am not a psychologist but I grew up and lived in the belly of the PPP monster for many years and did try as far as humanly possible to do something about the stark reality of the PPP’s inability to reach out to Afro-Guyanese, especially when I became its political Organiser in the City of Georgetown between the years 1989-1994.
In the early years, the leadership of the PPP comprised a better racial composition. Today the PPP’s leadership is sprinkled with Luncheon, Collymore, Belgrave, Rodney and Edwards among its thirty five-member Central Committee. Mere window dressing!
I distinctly remember two incidents that will resonate with me to my grave. Cheddi Jagan sent me to touch bases with and old African Comrade of his in South GT. The man had two sons whose names were Cheddie Bharrat Blackman and Linden Forbes Sampson Blackman. That was the kind of influence that pervaded in the early fifties in Guyana.
Sometime in 1990 Cheddi again sent me to reach another old African Comrade of his, who was living under a footpath off the Demerara River behind one of the banks there. The gentleman had two young daughters who had just graduated from Christchurch Secondary School at O’ Levels.
I came back to Freedom House and met Janet Jagan to whom I spoke about the two girls and pointed out to her that there was a vacancy for a Sales Clerk in the Michael Forde Bookshop and that one of the girls would lend a good face to Freedom House, that FH needed that face especially as we operated in GT, an African dominated township. Janet Jagan gave me a stare down as though she had just suffered a stroke. The Social Scientist can figure.
Upon the assumption of power in 1992, the Cheddi Jagan administration quickly took control of the commanding heights of the economy by placing three East Indians in charge of all three sectors.
Oudit went to Guysuco; Kennard went to Rice and Kissoon went to bauxite. A similar situation obtains to this day under the PPP. A
check of the names of all the Board Chairmen appointed under the PPP will reveal a similar story without fail.
Under the PNC it had been Davis at Guysuco; Barrow at Bauxite and Dundas at rice. If that isn’t that tit for tat, then what is?
This is reflective of the membership, support and ideology of the PPP since the likes of Sydney King and Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham left Jagan and the PPP in the fifties.
Suffice it to mention that at the level of membership recruitment in predominantly African dominated GT, the current PPP’s best efforts have unearthed Odinga Lumumba and Kwame McKoy. Further I say not.
In my time I was able to recruit the likes of Vincent Daniels, Troy Kellman, Terrence Simon, Bevon Currie and Curtis Roberts and his gang of grave diggers at the Le Repentir Cementry. RIP Curtis I
In resigning my job as Political Organiser in 1994, I tried to have Vincent Daniels appointed in my place. It did not last.
Currently, the PPP has three members appointed to GECOM, Mangal, Shaw and McDoom. They have always had only East Indians in that body.
Eddie Da Silva, on being recruited to the Civic List from Barbados/Canada in 1991 by Cheddi Jagan sat in the lobby by the receptionist and counted the first hundred individuals coming to Freedom House for business for three days.
On day one the count was 98 East Indians, on day two the count was 99 East Indian and on the third day it was no different at 97 East Indian. Then it dawned on him that Cheddi had recruited him to an Indian dominated Organisation that went against his best social being.
Roger Luncheon can tell his own tale about how he was sidelined for the Presidential Nomination in 1997 in favour of Ralph Ramkarran.
If he cares to he can also mention the sickening arguments presented to debunk his Candidature.
This is after Cheddi had canvassed the country on Luncheon’s Candidature in 1992 by stating that he was willing to put forward Luncheon’s name as Presidential Candidate of the PCD but the criticism was that he was, “ Black but Red”. So too were Collymore and Belgrave and yes the WPA”s Thomas also.
These are just a few of the fleeting memories of that period in the history of the PPP. There are many others who can attest to the racially inclined practices of the PPP during that period and their own time and experiences in the organisation.
I rest my case!