What is the political objective of these attacks?
Anyone familiar with Guyanese politics will not need to be convinced that the recent attack on Mr. Freddie Kissoon in the vicinity of the parliament on the evening of August 15th, 2012 was anything other than the work of elements associated with the ruling PPPC, and government. Only the political naive would believe otherwise?
It is worth noting that to date not a word of condemnation has come from the ruling party and government disassociating them from this heinous attack. They see no need to engage in pretence.
In both private and public discussions two questions are often raised: (1) How far would the rulers go in their prosecution of Kissoon? (2) What is the political objective of these attacks?
The first question is difficult to answer, since subjective factors can be as influential as the objective political ones. However, Mr. Kissoon is convinced that someone high up in the both the regime and ruling party has an obsession with him because of his outspoken criticism of the ruling party and government oppressive, and corrupt polices and that person, (and here I hasten to add, they) want to physically take him out i.e. kill him.
Given the regime’s known history of repression in which the physical removal of persons has featured prominently, Mr. Kissoon is well within his right to feel at risk, as he has publicly stated. Kissoon’s view of his personal security is shared by the large number of Guyanese.
While the concern for Kissoon‘s safety is generally discussed openly in the opposition constituencies, in those constituencies that support the ruling party, it is done privately, except of course when it is openly discussed by the rabid PPPC activists who make no secret of their hate for him.
Therefore, physical removal of political opponents is always on their cards. Notwithstanding this probability, my judgment is that the balance of social and political forces at this juncture will make it unlikely that the rulers will choose physical liquidation of Mr. Kissoon.
There is still method in PPPC madness, their actions politically, are calculated and often measured – they carefully balance risk with outcome. My assessment is based on the regime’s behaviour since it came to power in 1992.
Mr. Kissoon falls in a special category of Indian Guyanese critics of the regime – like CN Sharma and Chris Ram. While these gentlemen are seen by the PPPC as irritants, that party believes that at this point their influence on their constituencies is minimal and manageable.
However the PPPC recognizes the potential danger they pose to the party’s future if they are allowed unrestrained, unfettered access to the party’s “supporters”. Hence that party at times expresses viciousness towards them. It is however my considered judgment that Moses Nagamooto is more at risk for physical removal than Kissoon since he represents more of a political threat to the PPPC’s ruling cabal. As hard as they try to do, the PPPC’s leadership cannot easily undermine what Nagamootoo’s long association with the party, his history of being a trusted and loyal lieutenant of the late PPPC founder leader Dr. Cheddi Jagan and his record of struggle in the trenches (unlike the very weak or non-existent record of most of his detractors) mean to those persons who are rooted historically in the party. Moses Nagamootoo has demonstrated political will and exemplary courage not only to criticize the ruling cabal, but to go beyond criticism and to provide outside of the PPPC alternative leadership to the ruling party support base. That, to the present crop of PPPC leaders, is an unforgivable sin.
As I indicated earlier, the second question which seeks to address the political objective of the frequent attacks/ assaults on Kissoon is the easer of the two to answer. The following are some of the political objectives the rulers seek to accomplish:
(1) Dehumanizing of Indian political opponents. By throwing feces on Kissoon, they are telling their supporters that the party considers dissidents like Kissoon, to be full of what they threw on him.
(2) Invoking the fear factor: The constant attack on Kissoon is one of the regime’s ways of frightening off potential Indian dissidents who might be contemplating following Kissoon’s example. Since fear factor is by no means limited to the Indian community, these attacks contribute to driving fear nationally.
(3) The rulers also used these attacks to demonstrate to the country the weakness of the political opposition and civil society, and their inability to protect citizens against the regime’s attacks thereby helping to reinforce the myth of the invincibility of the regime.
(4) Testing the loyalty of the leadership of the police force. To date no one has been arrested in any of the incidents involving Kissoon and this is not because the police do not have the necessary resources to do so, but because they have chosen not to act. The “law men” in action reaffirm their support of the rulers.
(5) The assaults on Kissoon is carried out by the “dirty tricks department/committee of the party, and Kissoon seems to have become a favored target for testing the ability of their operatives to execute operations as requested by the rulers.
(6) Whether the attacks are with human feces or with fists the ruling cabal in the PPPC and government seem to get “political orgasms” at seeing their Indian opponents appearing before the nation and world as weak and helpless under the crushing power of the rulers.
Whenever they meet at their watering holes they make jokes of C N Sharma who broke down on national TV and begged for mercy in the face of their imminent closure of his CNS TV6 in 2011.
None of them saw anything wrong with putting a large number of workers on the breadline.
In their arrogance, they are likely to see comrade Kissoon’s public appeal for protection in the same vein. In doing so they are making a big mistake, Kissoon‘s appeal is not a sign of weakness but political tactics: he is seeking to turn the regime’s aggression against him to his advantage by demonstrating to the world the criminal nature of the rulers.
In closing, the rulers have driven many of their Indian critics out of the country or into political silence, but in spite of state repression defiance is growing, and this is a political dilemma the rulers are faced with. Increasing repression against Indian dissidents and practically violent repression is politically, counterproductive, since it can create alienation in the party’s support base.
These acts of repression give the political opposition an effective platform to rally support across the race/political divide, this has the effect of under cutting the regime’s propaganda that the opposition is anti Indian.
The ruling cabal’s political survival depends of its ability to contain rebellion in the Indian community and the rest of the country. This is becoming more difficult daily.
The regime has two options available to it: political compromise or increase repression. The choice the rulers make will in the final analysis determine the faith of all, the ruled and the rulers.