Today is the death anniversary of Guyanese hero, Walter Rodney, who was killed on this day in 1980. Episodically the WPA observes the event always presided over by two women, Joycelyn Dow and Danuta Radzik. These are two intriguing personalities. They are never ever seen in any other WPA activities other than the death anniversary.
WPA officials say they are not members of the party and the women themselves openly say they are not members. But come June 13, they preside over the anniversary. Prime Minister Sam Hinds often appears as their guest. At one time, Prime Minister Hinds got entangled in a controversy with the WPA in which he publicly said that Walter Rodney’s family had requested a postponement of the inquiry into his murder.
The WPA leadership was enraged and denied Hinds’ claim. You would have thought that this faux pas by Hinds would have brought ostracization of the PM by the WPA but it didn’t.
The next year, Sam was there on June 13 where he played it again. Sam continues to play it again every year on June 13. Walter Rodney moves in his grave every time Sam plays it. One year, I became so angry that I went up to the podium after Sam spoke and denounced him.
I pointed to the WPA’s incongruity of having Hinds speak at a death anniversary of Walter Rodney. I made the point that Hinds was a spokesperson for and a defender of an oppressive system that Walter would have fought against.
Dow and Radzik were in no mood to tolerate me. Radzik got on the platform and in turn denounced me. Then a gentleman took the mike, further denounced me and praised then President Bharrat Jagdeo as a democrat. There were applauses after he spoke.
Who were these people that the WPA had invited? Who or what had the WPA become? Guyana is indeed a confusing country. Poor me! There were no claps for me after my presentation. But months later, I ran into Stanley Humphrey of Linden, a founding member of the WPA at a symposium at the TUC
Stanley came up to me and said, “Freddie, Freddie, maan, ah really like wuh yuh seh at de anniversary. Yuh right, maan.” I turned to him and said but I didn’t hear anyone clapping for me but they cheered for the speaker who praised Jagdeo.”
With a silly grin on his face, Stanley couldn’t respond, he went quiet. Stanley is still my friend and he knows nothing personal is intended by these words on him. Three years later, both Dow and Radzik became consultants to President Jagdeo on his LCDS circus and sat next to him on the plane to Copenhagen to attend a global conference on climate change. Dow and Radzik are still consultants at OP on the LCDS farce.
So if you are reading this column in the morning hours, your guess is as good as mine if Sam Hinds will be the guest speaker at today’s event. What is predictable is if Dow and Radzik are in charge then Hinds will be there. My friends in the WPA like Tacuma Ogunseye and David Hinds will be there, of course, but I know they are not the persons who would have presided over the invitation list.
Of course I am going and if Hinds speaks, I will take up the mike unless I am stopped of course. And if I am stopped I would expect some support from my friends in the WPA. But suppose there is no event this year given the macabre direction in which the WPA has gone since the results of the 2011 elections. First there is David’s open criticism of some behavioural mistakes of APNU. Then Tacuma has publicly challenged David Granger on his denial of Burnham’s involvement in Walter Rodney’s death.
There is the feeling in many quarters that Rupert Roopnaraine is chummy with the regime. Folks in Linden told me that during the negotiations with the regime after the death of the three protestors during the electricity protest last year, Roopnaraine would remain in the office at OP after the discussions ended and spend hours talking with Gail Teixeira. Roopnaraine and Teixeira run things on the UG Council.
In a debate that is still raging about Burnham’s involvement in Rodney’s death, there is no statement even a terse one line comment from the WPA. Tacuma penned his personal opinion which he stated was not the WPA’s position. So did Eusi Kwayana. If the Rodney family asked the South African Government to cancel the Tambo Award for Burnham, the family must want to know why the WPA is so silent.
PNC demanding answers for smuggled chicken early Sunday morning after church!
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