To be compared to the fictitious character, Don Quixote is not as bad as Barrington Braithwaite suggests by the sensational caption of his letter, “Harry Gill, the obsolete Don Quixote” (Kaieteur News, Sept 29). For even today, the views of an obsolete Don Quixote are as noble as the character’s intent when he first appeared in the 1605 novel by Miguel de Cervantes.
I left Guyana in 1976, a dark and ugly period in our history that the likes of Barrington Brathwaite and David Granger would preferred buried and not known to the younger generation. This was the era of the infamous “kick down the door bandits” when most Guyanese lived in fear, and the reign of the racist criminal David Hill (aka Rabbi Edward Washington), whose House of Israel members served as ruthless thugs for the Forbes Burnham’s PNC government. These PNC loyalists were reputed for breaking up political meetings of the PPP and WPA, and beating up political activists in the process.
Here is how the well-respected Guyanese patriot, Eusi Kwayana described the lawlessness that existed then with the approval of the PNC government, “A Squad of uniformed policemen, including Rabbi Washington’s men dressed in police uniform and carrying no regulation numbers, attacked the meeting which they claimed was illegal. It was a total assault with batons on the crowd of peaceful citizens by a crowd of well armed policemen of the Tactical Service Unit (Riot Squad)…Scores of people were beaten by the police. They were on fire with venom not noticed before. This was due to the House of Israel.” A month earlier, Catholic Priest, Father Drake, was stabbed to death by these PNC thugs in July of 1979.
I left Guyana because it became intolerable to survive in a depressed country where long lines to buy a loaf of bread, a pint of cooking oil and a roll of toilet paper was typical in those days.
And now, I have returned because I see my homeland filled with opportunities for those who want to work. I see a government working hard to bring prosperity for all Guyanese regardless of political affiliation, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
And I write because I see the injustice of a destructive Joint Opposition that is bent on retarding progress at all cost for selfish and political gains.
Throughout his rantings, Barrington Brathwaite has yet to identify one solitary project that Opposition Leader David Granger has brought to any of his constituencies. And please do not insult my intelligence by insinuating that it is government’s responsibility only to do so.
A vindictive administration can punish constituencies who voted for the opposition, and reward only those who put them in office. We’ve seen this behavior during the PNC reign when lots of villages in Berbice and Essequibo had no electricity or potable water, and a citizen had to produce a PNC Party Card to get a job in the public sector.
But today, we have a government that keeps trying to provide equal opportunities for all, despite relentless, mostly unwarranted attacks on their credibility and motives.
A government that is constantly under attack for projects initiated by a long gone Jagdeo Administration.
Mr. Braithwaite suggested in his letter that I “tell this nation why Barrat Jagdeo should not be at the Hague on charges of presiding over numerous extra judicial murders, some randomly committed by Norco-organised crime Militias and rogue police empowered by his Government.” I will respond this way: If Barrington Brathwaite, members of the opposition, members of the media of any member of the public have any documentation, hard evidence, facts that cannot be disputed in a court of law, that could indict the former President, I would be willing to facilitate the exposure of such evidence. But it must be documented facts, not allegations, not hear-say evidence, not “I believe he did that because I read an article in the newspapers”, and certainly not gossip designed to destroy a man’s character. The same goes for Winston Brassington.
My personal opinion of Bharrat Jagdeo holds him in high esteem. He is almost single-handedly responsible for making the tough decisions that took Guyana from a state of near bankruptcy to the economic prosperity we see today. His management style and choice of words may have been abrasive to some, but none can honestly deny that Guyana and Guyanese have prospered under his Administration.
But back to David Granger. Smart politicians in the opposition the world over, work with governments to get things done for their communities and the people they represent. Schools, bridges, hospitals and factories have all been built in communities friendly to the opposition in many countries, because their elected representatives were able to broker deals with the ruling party that are beneficial to both. But with Granger shooting down every initiative the government comes up with, PNC/APNU supporters can thank their lucky stars that the PPP/C is not a vindictive government.
As I’ve said before, issues like Local Government Bills, the Procurement Commission and the Office of Ombudsman are important constitutional matters, but that does not put food on the table and money in the pockets of the working class. Most Guyanese are concerned with getting good paying jobs; free quality healthcare and education, and a safe environment to live and raise a family. David Granger would be wise to keep this in mind.
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