From the Diaspora…DOES THE OPPOSITION WANT TO TAKE GUYANA BACK TO THE SIXTIES?
By Ralph Seeram
I really wanted to keep away from writing about the Linden tragedy. It was bad enough that three young men lost their lives. It’s even worse that politicians and to a lesser extent some sections of the media are using the tragic shooting deaths to further their own agenda.
As I watch how the events unfold, I am reminded of that dark period of Guyanese history which took place during the early sixties.
Then, the PPP was in power, the PNC in opposition along with the United Force. The object of these two parties, then, was to bring down the democratically elected PPP Government at any cost. They encouraged their supporters to foment unrest, strikes and violence which eventually led to a full scale race war. Eventually British troops had to come to Guyana.
The period 1962/1963 is not a time many Guyanese who experienced that era would want to relive, and I personally would not like to go into details of that period. Suffice to say that the opposition created a monster then which they could not control, and we are looking at a similar situation at Linden.
It brings me to the current action of the opposition. The people of Linden had a grievance— the electricity rate, which justifiable or not, was an issue which the government did address and did engage APNU in the process.
The agreement did not sit well with APNU supporters. APNU backed out of the agreement, and instead urged its supporters to oppose the gradual increase in the electricity rates.
Today, the opposition APNU and the AFC are blaming the Government, the Police and the Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee for the tragedy, while absolving themselves from any responsibility for the situation. Their rationale? Rohee did not pull the trigger but he is responsible. Using the same argument, my contention is that APNU and the AFC bear the greater responsibility for this unfortunate incident. As I said last week they were the ones that were inciting the residents of Linden leading up to the tragedy.
The AFC leaders, in particular, are wetting their pants with excitement over this tragedy, running around the country urging people to continue subsidizing electricity rates in Linden. Does the AFC think Guyanese are so stupid that they are going to support one section of the community to pay less electricity rates than they are paying? Do they really think they can get solidarity on that issue?
The next best thing is to exploit the death of the three young men. By the way, what has the AFC to show for its new found political power, what have they achieved in concrete terms. I am sure some of their supporters must be regretting their votes now.
I mentioned earlier the PNC creating “a monster they could not control”. The aftermath of this tragedy has been complete lawlessness in the area. The silence is deafening, when it comes to condemning the actions of these “peaceful protesters” buildings have been burnt and looted, vehicles destroyed, innocent people robbed, and now they have resorted to highway banditry extorting money from vehicle owners passing through the main roads in Linden from the interior.
Most of you may have seen the “peaceful protester” on the internet with the heap of money extorted from vehicle owners. By not condemning this lawlessness by “peaceful protesters” one can only assume that APNU and AFC see no wrongdoing here.
Then we have the so-called political activists, who saw this as an opportunity to enhance their agenda against the Government. There is David Hinds who sees race in every action of the Government and whose inflammatory statements border on racism, some may even construe them as racism. Then we have the other person who writes a column in this newspaper who is yet to condemn the actions of those “peaceful protesters”.
If the Government does not take steps to restore law and order in Linden, the situation can escalate and lead to more tragedy. They do have a right to protest peacefully, the untimely deaths of three of their brothers and demand an impartial inquiry into the circumstances of their deaths.
What the people of Linden do not need are politicians and so called activists exploiting them to further their own political agenda.
One can see where the opposition is going with this issue. It is not about the deaths of the three men. The opposition sees this as an opening to bring down the government. They feel that by bringing down the government, they can then unify into one force to contest the next election, hoping they can maintain their majority status to form the next government.
Ralph Seeram can be reached at email” email@example.com