Ramkarran fails to acknowledge that the PPP has become the PNC it so enduringly fears
Ralph Ramkarran wrote an outstanding opinion piece on what shapes the PPP’s mentality, posture, stance and modus operandi since the fifties (“The PPP’s enduring fears”, SN, Jan 14, 2013). But alas, it remains an opinion piece and is devoid of the kind of complete analysis that Mr. Ramkarran is eminently capable of.
Ramkarran states that fear of the PNC has predominantly shaped the PPP’s psyche. If Ramkarran asserts this is the case, it very likely is how the PPP hierarchy thinks in Freedom House. This mindset cannot be realistic and is downright unhealthy and symptomatic of a crippling disease infecting those who have hijacked the PPP leadership.
No party that lives in perpetual fear of another party, or anything for that matter, could make rational decisions, informed choices and do the right thing when necessary. That party cannot govern freely or properly. It is trapped by an unhealthy paranoia and a cultural mental illness. It is a party of weak-minded individuals and feeble souls who are perpetually afraid to define and defend themselves, their constituency and their country. This impotency and weakness leads to selfishness and this focus on self because of an impotency to act fearlessly, leads to corruption and self-aggrandizement.
Fear compels some to take immoral ways out. Instead of fixing and tackling head-on those corrupt institutions that they see as pro-PNC – like the police force – to make them better poised to fight crime, these weak-hearted individuals employ criminals like drug kingpins to fight crime.
Criminal versus criminal warfare escalates and innocent citizens increasingly lose their lives and the entire country becomes a crime safe haven while the cowards cower in fear. Roger Khan’s crime-fighting was not because of some valour from the PPP, but because of Khan seeing an opportunity where the PPP was obviously hiding, and decided to exploit it to expand his empire.
This fear of doing the right thing in the first place, fixing the police force, leaves this country a criminal safe haven and murderous and violent drug-trafficking paradise, and the Guyanese people pay the price daily for the gutlessness of the ruling party.
The PPP’s continued fear of the PNC is largely demented and race-driven. Demented because the PNC has not turned out to be what the PPP caricaturized it as in 1992. We have had no civil war. The pro-PNC military and police have been very balanced. The last two elections have witnessed largely peaceful PNC protests. In fact, the PPP has probably seen more protests from their own supporters in the sugar belt than from PNC supporters in the past decade.
The PPP’s continued fear of the PNC is race-driven because racial-political fear is big political business as the strenuous efforts of the PPP in the last election to preach fear showed. However, what the election result showed is that there is a psychological divergence in the PPP. Many PPP supporters no longer actively fear the PNC. Some fear the PNC less. Others were not even born when the PNC ruled. Thus, we have the present PPP leadership hiding under desks at the mere mention of the PNC while many of their supporters simply do not fear the PNC. This validates the recurring perception among those supporters that the current PPP leadership is not only corrupt but extremely soft, weak and supine. In their minds, these limp figures cannot represent them because they are not like them. That is a growing drawback of this fear mania. Even if there is fear and a siege mentality within the PPP, it is no justification for any party to practise dictatorship, thievery, tyranny and ignorance against its own and the entire nation. When you are doing wrong and know it, you will live in fear of the consequences of prosecution. Much of the PPP leadership’s fear of the PNC today has to do with a selfish worry about going to jail under the PNC and of losing their ill-gotten wealth.
At the end of the day, the PPP produced the PNC and played a significant hand in creating this fear of the PNC. The PPP knew the PNC was going to create a socialist dictatorship if it won power in 1964. The PPP would have created a communist dictatorship itself. But the PPP did nothing to prevent this reality. It made no approaches or sought any deals or even toned down its hard-line communist rhetoric or cut a deal with the West.
The PNC did all those things and got power and did exactly what everyone knew it would do. During the 28 years of PNC power, the PPP went on an exaggerated campaign of paranoia, victimization and fear among Indians which, coupled with the PNC’s own fear-based agenda, psychologically devastated and trapped an entire ethnic group.Even when the PPP gained power, it continued with this fear agenda for 20 years. In those 20 years, what has the PPP done to remove that fear of the PNC? Absolutely nothing.
Proper, just, fair and equitable governance as well as initiatives such as reforming itself into a genuine multi-ethnic party, ethnic balancing of the armed forces, power-sharing agendas, constitutional reform, party reform, more inclusive wealth-sharing, conciliatory talks and the like, would have either erased the PNC from the political map by now or driven it to intense reforms, reducing its overall fearfulness.
If the PNC could reform and become more democratic even if it fears the PPP, what is stopping the PPP from doing the same and not suspending party general congresses? Fear is no excuse for sabotaging decency, integrity, accountability and clarity. For any party to claim it is trapped in fear and does nothing about it for 20 years does not deserve to rule and deserves any fate that befalls it. Imagine a party that has been in power for 20 years continuously and in authority for 34 out of the 62 years since the PPP was formed, is still huddled in fear of a broken and incompetent opposition entity. Forbes Burnham is truly something else. If fears are the primary building blocks of the mindset of the PPP and PNC, we are a doomed nation.
It is easy to blame others for your own shortcomings, but this is exactly what Ramkarran is doing here. To claim that fear of the PNC is the primary posture of the PPP when the PNC has staged a mini takeover of the PPP with the steady stream of PNCites like Lumumba, Bynoe, Hamilton, Burton, etc., crossing over to the PPP is laughable.
Maybe it is the PPP’s way of overcoming their fear – replacing PPPites with former PNCites.
How does one fear a return of tyranny and yet practice tyranny? The PPP has become the very PNC it supposedly enduringly fears. As long as the PPP and PNC exist, they will constantly be under sieges of their own making and Guyana cannot advance.