Navin Chandarpal is dead. May his soul Rest in Peace.
He was a stalwart of the political struggles. He was part of the heroic struggle for the restoration of free and fair elections in Guyana and a part of the process or rebuilding Guyana when the PPPC won political office in 1992.
He was a leader of the PPP at a time when there were other militant young men and women in the party. He was an activist in his own right, earning his every political stripe. This is very much unlike so many others today who either by calculation or miscalculation, were catapulted to positions of authority and influence without even lifting a placard on behalf of the PPP and the struggle against imperialism.
Navin was a renowned anti-imperialist. He mellowed afterwards but the record will show that he spoke out and protested over western imperialism.
In the days of struggle he was one of the PPPC’s foremost leaders, an able lieutenant to his idol, Cheddi Jagan. He was the head of the Progressive Youth Organization at a time when the PPPC was under attack by the ruling PNC. He suffered in the trenches.
A great many of those who came after have no such history. They compensate for his shortcomings with theatrics.
It must have been painful for Navin to have suffered during his last days due to illness. But the physical pain that he had to endure over the past year is nothing compared to the psychological hurt which he must have endured when he was humiliated by being booted out of Cabinet after somebody told somebody that he, Chandarpal, had said something about somebody. He was a victim of talk-name.
Such was a great warrior for freedom in this country. He took spears for the PPP. He deserved to have been treated better. He should never have been thrown out of the government at least not by anyone who was never a significant player in the anti-dictatorship struggles. Navin was too long a stalwart of the party, a veteran of the political struggles of Guyana to have been treated with such disdain.
I raise this issue because I notice a great many persons singing his praise. I do not judge them. All I ask is for them to let me believe that they did speak out against the humiliating treatment that was meted out to this outstanding PPP cadre. All I ask is whether they said anything in his defence. That would be enough for me to believe that at least he was not abandoned.
I take my hat off to Donald Ramotar who as one of his first acts as President reinstated Navin as a Presidential Advisor thus reversing one of the gravest historical injustices ever meted out to a leader of the PPP. A President of Guyana is vested with full executive authority. All of those who feel that they have pedigree are, in the realm of political authority, mere underlings to the one whom Executive Power is vested, the President.
I hope that the President will ensure that this great fighter within the PPP, whatever his sins of commission or omission after 1992, is restored to his rightful place in the annals of the history of the ruling party. He deserves nothing less.
And as he is laid to rest, those who knew him should ask, how did he feel about the hijacking of his party by persons who would never have been fit enough back in the day to tie his shoelaces.
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