Mr. Ralph Ramkarran has written a Stabroek News column entitled, “The PPP’s enduring fears” in which every paragraph, from start to end, is a narrative on Guyanese history from 1950 to 2013. Guyana’s history is painted in a zero sum drama of the good guy, the PPP, haunted and hunted down by the bad guy, the PNC. This is a simple, written article in which the writer takes the unashamed position that from the fifties onwards, the PPP has been enduring the wrath of the PNC.
It is one of the most shameless, disgraceful, propagandistic, unpolished and senseless essays ever written on this country’s history. No Guyanese citizen with a proper education should let this crude description of this country’s contemporary history go unanswered.
Mr. Ramkarran traces the post 1950 evolution of the PPP and tells us that PPP since then has been locked in a battle to survive because of the relentless pursuit of a terrible, evil party that wants power, the PNC.
Before I reply, let me offer you his periodization schema of the PPP’s will to survive the repression of the PNC. Phase 1 – the suspension of the PPP Government in the early fifties and the Jagan – Burnham split. Phase 2 – the violent harassment of the Jagan Government from 1957 onwards. Phase 3 – the PNC’s partnership with imperialism (Ramkarran’s word) to destroy the PPP. Phase 4 – the PNC’s 28 years of rigged elections and oppression of the PPP. Phase 5 – PNC’s use of violence after each election from 1992 onwards to bring down the PPP Government. Phase 6 – the present alignment of the PNC with imperialism (again, Ramkarran’s word) which drives continual fear in PPP leaders.
Here is my point by point rebuttal of this abominable distortion of sixty years of Guyanese history.
1- The PNC and the PPP took opposing sides in the Cold War. Why not use the word Americans versus Soviets instead of imperialism. In 1950, twelve years before his government encountered difficulties with the Americans, Cheddi Jagan gave an interview to a QC magazine (Lictor) in which he praised the government and politics of the second most diabolical, evil human that history created, Joseph Stalin.
For Ramkarran, the Americans were imperialist. But the world knew that Stalin was far worse than any American president.
2 – In the sixties, Premier Jagan faced a popular uprising led by the urban working class, the business community and middle class East Indians. Their grievances were directed against a government they claimed was racist, anti-working class and hostile to private entrepreneurship.
To dismiss the popular struggle against Premier Jagan in the sixties as the machination of imperialism is not worth the paper it is written on.
3- The period of PNC rigged elections was derived from the same fear of oppression and domination that Ramkarran sees in the PPP. PNC leaders told the world that a free poll would result in an Indian domination of administration, state power and the economy, thus virtually reducing African Guyanese to nobodies in their own homeland.
Look at the PPP record since 1992 and we can clearly see, as David Hinds puts it – both groups were afraid of being dissolved by the other.
4- Post-election violence was not a simple act of PNC wickedness as Mr. Ramkarran wants us to believe. As early as 1994, PNC leaders were alarmed at widespread illegal purges of the public service and the wider state realm. Genuine ethnic fears fuelled the fire of post-election violence since 1992. While President Jagan earned the sympathy of the nation after he came to power in 1992, early warning signs of what PNC leaders in the fifties and sixties dreaded most terrifyingly were beginning to show all over Guyana. Look where we’re at in 2013. Were these PNC leaders right?
5- The PNC is not and has not been the demonic monster that Mr. Ramkarran makes this organization out to be. The PNC has produced the best president of this country, far outstripping the achievements of all PPP presidents. It was a PNC leader that accepted free and fair elections that brought the PPP to power.
6- The PPP is the political party that has been at the receiving end of imperialism’s (Ramkaran’s word) generosity. In 1992, the Americans facilitated the PPP into power and since then the PPP has faithfully adhered to the American-shaped economic programme carried out by the IMF known as structural adjustment.
7 – It may be possible that more PPP leaders have children and family connections with “imperialist” countries than the PNC’s.
Space does not permit further rebuttal of Mr. Ramkarran’s good guy versus bad guy nonsense. Suffice it to say, it is sickening and obnoxious, because it is such a barefacedly twisted account of our country’s history.
One last point – in my experience in living with both PNC and PPP Governments, the PPP has produced more corrupt, more immoral and less patriotic leaders. We need to the deconstruct word “evil.”
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