THE GRAND BETRAYALS OF WALTER RODNEY
The WPA should cease pulling wool over the eyes of the Guyanese people. It latest ploy that it can use its leverage within APNU to push for a motion calling for an international inquiry into the death of its founder leader smacks of barefacedness and stinks of hypocrisy.
It is the WPA that betrayed the memory of Walter Rodney, and not because it entered into an alliance with the party that murdered him but because it was the WPA which was responsible in the first place for there not being an inquiry. That was the first betrayal.
The WPA betrayed Rodney a second time when it sold its political soul in return for a place at the table of A Partnership for National Unity.
While the party is still holding to the line that Rodney was the victim of an assassination plot orchestrated by the then PNC government, it must be recalled that the WPA itself objected to the wording of a motion in the National Assembly in which the word “assassination” was used.
It may have then had a fair basis for such an objection since the language of the motion could have been deemed prejudicial.
But it was not that motion that halted the promised inquiry. It was the failure of the WPA to develop the terms of reference for the inquiry that eventually brought an end to a process that was initiated during the 25th anniversary of the historian’s assassination. At that event the wife of the slain WPA leader called for closure to be brought to his death. The Bharrat Jagdeo administration agreed to bring closure by having an inquiry.
The government asked the WPA to develop the terms of reference, no doubt because of the historical attitude of that party which claims Rodney for itself and which has always behaved as if Rodney belonged to the WPA and the WPA alone.
But the WPA was not keen at all, despite the promises made to the Rodney family, to go ahead with the inquiry.
And the reason was clear. The 25th anniversary of Rodney’s assassination was in 2005. It was then that the promise was made for an inquiry into his death. The next year was however an election year and the WPA, which by then had become miniaturized as a political party was interested in the leech politics. It wanted to suck political nectar from the PNCR as part of a Big Tent arrangement.
If the WPA had moved ahead with the development of the terms of reference of the inquiry it would have jeopardized its chances of being part of the Big Tent and so it simply forgot about the request of the family for closure to be brought to Rodney’s death. This was the first betrayal of Rodney and it was done in order to safeguard the possibility of the WPA linking up under the Big Tent with the PNCR.
The Big Tent never got off the ground. The AFC and ROAR put paid to those hopes. The WPA therefore could not latch on to any party to find its way into parliament.
In order to enjoy some degree of political relevance, the party, five years later made the long leap into the arms of the PNCR in preparation for the 2011 polls. But it was required to pay a price and that price was the second betrayal of Walter Rodney.
This time it was forced to make a confession that would lend to the perspective that Rodney got what was coming to him because he decided to wage war against PNC.
To give credence to this view, the WPA made what was called a confession that the party had been stockpiling arms just prior to Rodney’s death. It was a most shameless betrayal, and all for a place within APNU.
The WPA made no attempt to qualify the confession which caused divisions and an uproar in what remained of the party.
It did not try at all to explain that this stockpiling of arms was for defensive purposes following the campaign of terror and murder that Burnham had publicly declared against the leaders of the WPA when he told them to go and make their wills.
In that campaign the WPA lost Ohene Koama, Edward Dublin and later, Walter Rodney.
It lost its co-leader Rodney at a time when the party was trying to recuperate from the onslaught of the dictatorship and when attempts were being made to reorganize the party.
The leaders of the party know fully well that hours before Rodney was assassinated that a decision was taken to prepare for some of its activists to go into hiding because of the fear of repression. In fact, one of the leaders of the WPA was mandated to undertake this task.
Burnham was therefore gunning for the WPA and Rodney’s death was a direct result of Burnham declaring war on Rodney.
Rodney probably could never have imagined what his party would have come to, that it would pay such a price to jump into bed with the PNCR.
Even the WPA perhaps could not have predicted the level of opportunism to which it eventually descended when it made its infamous confession about stockpiling arms.
And yes, this was the same party which accused the PPP of betraying Rodney by entering into national unity talks with the PNC five years after Rodney’s assassination.
Today it is the same WPA that sits with the party of Forbes Burnham in a lopsided partnership called A Partnership for National Unity. And it is the same party which still has the temerity to suggest that an international inquiry into Rodney’s death can still be undertaken.