Feb 06, 2015 News
Vice Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Moses Nagamootoo, pointed to interesting historical facts yesterday, to prove that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic is not only hypocritical, but has no basis for condemning his party’s right to explore coalition talks with other stakeholders.
At his party’s press conference which was held at the Georgetown Club, Nagamootoo told media operatives that he feels it is necessary to give the government a history lesson, since it has been “deliberately undermining” any progress that could be made from the AFC’s pro-democracy alliance talks with A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
He then strongly condemned what he believes to be a “desperate and divisive” campaign by the PPP in that regard.
Nagamootoo is also of the view that even though, for 60 years, the search for a multi-ethnic, multi-class, national coalition government has eluded the nation, the goals of national unity remain viable and ought to be pursued by all genuine patriots.
He emphasized that the AFC’s coalition policy, is based on principles of winner-does-not-take-all, and inclusive democracy. In any such alliance, the AFC, he said, is only seeking to promote the mutual interests of all.
He began his “history” session, by first stating that it was Dr. Cheddi Jagan, the late founder-leader of the PPP, who had fought tirelessly for a coalition between the PPP and the PNC. Nagamootoo said that Jagan did that “before and after Independence, episodes of rigged elections, and Walter Rodney’s death”.
It was Dr. Jagan, he said, who advocated ethnic and national unity through a mechanism of one government, two parties. The lawyer said that in 1964, it was Dr. Jagan who invited Mr. Forbes Burnham to form a PPP-PNC coalition government.
Nagamootoo said that Dr. Jagan offered Mr. Burnham the Deputy Premiership and half of the Cabinet. He said that he exhorted Mr. Burnham to join him, as that was the only recipe for unity, peace and harmony.
Dr. Jagan, he stressed, wanted a PPP-PNC merger or coalition since the split in 1955.
Nagamootoo recalled as well that not long after “rigged elections” in 1973, the PPP gave the PNC government “critical support”, which was a form of alliance, only that the PPP was not included in the government.
By 1976, he said, when it was apparent that the PPP and the PNC were driven by the same ideology, key leaders of the party defected to the PNC.
“Some served as Government Ministers, and the PPP’s key ideologue and heir-apparent Ranji Chandisingh was to become the PNC’s General Secretary. By 1977, on the eve of the rigged referendum, the PPP proposed a National Patriotic Front Government that would include the PPP and PNC.
The PPP again courted Mr. Burnham to form a PNC-PPP coalition government after Walter Rodney was killed, and after the 1980 elections were rigged.
“On the eve of Burnham’s death, there were secret talks at Burnham’s Belfield country house, to hammer out a PPP-PNC Coalition. When Burnham died in 1985, the coalition idea died as well,” Nagamootoo articulated.
It is upon this background, the AFC Vice Chairman emphasised that he finds it to be nothing but pure opportunism on the party of the PPP’s “pseudo-leaders” to now be accusing the AFC of betrayal for exploring the coalition idea.
He said that faced with a similar situation as today, the PPP in 1990 joined with other opposition parties to form the Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD).
The politician said that it offered the fringe parties 50 percent of the joint electoral slate, 50 percent of the Cabinet, plus the Prime Ministership. But Nagamootoo noted that the talks collapsed when the Working People’s Alliance opposed Cheddi Jagan as the consensus presidential candidate.
“Having tasted rejection more than once, the PPP now resorts to “sour grapes politics” by attacking all those who want to come together in a broad alliance. At the same time, it dances with political wolves in a frenzy of opportunism,” he stated.
The AFC executive member said that the PPP has incorporated into its ranks, elements who once determined to destroy the party.
He said that the PPP imported Odinga Lumumba from the PNC, Joseph Hamilton from the House of Israel, Leslie Ramsammy from the Guyana Republican Party (GRP), Nanda Gopaul from the Guyana Labour Party (GLP), Kwame McCoy from Good and Green Guyana (GGG) and Manzoor Nadir from the United Force (UF) – the latter having coalesced with the PNC in 1964 to keep the PPP out of office for 28 years (1964-1992).
Nagamootoo concluded that the PPP has no morality to lecture anyone on alliance politics.
He added that the ruling party therefore must back off from its “dirty, racist propaganda” to confuse and fool mainly its Indo-Guyanese constituency, and further divide the nation.
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