Conceding defeat in a democratic election is not an apology
Dr. Ravi Dev (column of June 24) is right in stating that accepting the outcome of a democratic election is not the same as an apology.
And the population is looking forward for an apology and it is the right thing to do as so many towering personalities (including Speaker Raphael Trottman) have stated.
The PNC rigged elections between 1964 and 1992 to retain office for its supporters. The PNC had no intention to yield power in October 1992 as evidenced by the violence and wanton destruction of property.
International pressure forced Desmond Hoyte to allow the population to choose the government in free and fair elections. Even on election day, the PNC was suggesting it would not accept defeat or listen to a White man (derogatory reference to the esteemed President Jimmy Carter).
And one must not forget that measures were put in place to rig the scheduled election of 1990 that was called off because the international community stated unequivocally that it would not accept the outcome unless it was carried out under democratically accepted standards.
The Western nations stated very clearly in 1990 that aid would not be restored to Guyana unless the elections were certifiably free and fair. President Bush, Senator Kennedy, Congressmen Solarz, Engels, Ackerman, etc. warned Hoyte to come clean or else sanctions would be placed on Guyana and it would be restored to the list of pariah states.
Neither Hoyte nor any member of the PNC or the PNC itself ever tendered an apology for fraudulent elections or its misrule or for human rights abuses on a battered population. So holding a free and fair election cannot be equated to an apology.
An apology is a sincere regret in words and actions and that was never expressed by the PNC.
I had spoken with several prominent members of the PNC outside parliament chambers (individually) and virtually all of them agreed that the PNC needs to apologize to the population for its 28 years of mis-governance and human rights abuses.
But virtually all of them also stated they don’t know how and when it should be done.
One fear, they expressed, is how their supporters would react and potential fall to any admission that peoples’ rights were violated for so long.
An apology is needed to bring healing and to mend fences with Indians and others who felt in their hearts that the PNC targeted them for abuses and ill-treatment.
Everyone suffered under the PNC’s tenure, and as Trotman once said, it would do the nation a lot of good if the PNC were to simply apologize to make amends with the population and move on.
An apology could benefit the PNC by bringing a lot of votes, especially from Indians, who the PNC feels would never vote for it in light of the 28 years of abuses from the dictatorship.