I would like to comment on the recent articles in both the SN and Kaieteur News, reporting Mr. Robert Corbin’s statements concerning the revelations by Mr. Raphael Trotman and the AFC, that, there are ongoing “secret” talks between the PPP and PNC and furthermore, Mr. Trotman’s insinuation that there is something sinister in such talks.
The PNC and the PPP are not mistake-free and guilt-free in the history of Guyanese politics but the deep schism between them is the primary cause of our nation’s troubles, both in the past and down to the present; but there has always been a dialogue between them and a reluctance to take Guyana to a everlasting political/racial conflict which would have made us poorer and more devastated than the worst parts of Haiti.
As a teenager, I remember, during the ‘Dark Period’ of the early 1960s, when the PNC and PPP were engaged in spreading violence, my godfather, Forbes Burnham, and my father, Cheddi Jagan both met on several occasions secretly (they even went to the seawalls some evenings) to, I am sure, contain the violence.
As recently as 1985, these great Guyanese leaders met to discuss a coalition government of the PPP/PNC, and Mr. Trotman, as a former leading luminary of the PNC, has to be aware of these historical events; he also has to be quite aware that his party’s six seats in Parliament with single digit support at the 2006 polls, with the present constitutional arrangements, is really a ticket to no-where.
So why is Mr. Trotman so opposed to Mr. Corbin asking and seeking shared governance, which is what we really need, and why is he attacking Mr. Corbin for alleged talks with the PPP (especially when shared governance will hopefully get the AFC a chance to participate in a government of national unity)? The answer is simply that even though the AFC wants us to believe that it’s about change, it really is about politics-as-usual and a power seeking mentality aggrandized by what they perceive as wider support in the next elections, which will never happen.
If one looks at Northern Ireland and the shared governance between the Protestant and Catholic sides, (after years of terrible violence, bloodshed and mayhem) which is working quite well for the people of that country, one cannot help but come to the conclusion, that Mr. Trotman is willing to risk national unity and a united effort for a better future, just for small gains for the AFC.
Coalition and shared governance has been a success story in many countries faced with deep racial, tribal, religious or communal problems and Mr. Trotman knows that quite well. Guyana fits into the group of conflict ridden countries where shared governance is the urgent answer to that of majority rule and where everyone will feel a part of development; did Mr. Trotman leave the PNC because he is against everyone getting a piece of the pie?
I want to take this opportunity to compliment Mr. Corbin on his stand in exposing the anti-national characteristics which have come to the surface in the AFC’s propaganda and rumour mongering; trying to capitalize on the perceived weaknesses (splits?) in the PPP and PNC by derailing success in shared governance.
We, the Guyanese people need advancement and betterment in our daily lives and the concept of a government which will represent all sections of our country is indeed a sacred principle and one which needs to be encouraged and if the PPP and PNC hold talks, either secret or open, to bring peace, stability and a better life for us, then right on! Mr. Trotman is way off the mark and should be careful in his statements because the Guyanese people are very politically smart and will reduce their support to his party.
The AFC tries to make us, the Guyanese citizens, believe that they represent a cross section of the Guyanese electorate when in fact, they have failed to bridge the racial/political gap in our divided electorate; the false assumptions which the AFC have drawn have been a direct result of the media coverage which gives that Party a lot more press and exposure than it really deserves for the single digit support it has.
The AFC supporters should stop and ask themselves if the factors entwined in the wisdom of the Carter Centre in demanding a shared governance approach, the hard work of our former leaders to find a common ground and the present divisions in our society, should not lend themselves to applauding both the PPP and the PNC, if, in fact, they are indeed trying to find accommodation, common ground and a new dispensation for the people of our dear country.
Cheddi Joey Jagan Jr.
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