In Greek mythology there was a pantheon of gods. Each god had his jurisdiction. There was the god of love, the sea, the moon, the sun, you name it; the Greeks had a god for it. But there was one big god in charge of all the gods. His name was Zeus.
From the time Bharrat Jagdeo, from a position of total obscurity in 1999, became the President of Guyana, he assumed the role of Zeus. Here is just one small example of how the Guyanese Zeus commanded loyalty from his small gods.
The late, Fazal Khan, the late common-law husband of Gail Teixeira, told me that he went to visit his children in Pradoville and in a conversation with Teixeira, he accused Jagdeo of corruption – Teixeira asked him to refrain from criticizing her president or leave.
Zeus won the 2006 elections because of the support he got from PPP constituencies, because of the harmful impact of the crime spree in Buxton. Zeus would have failed if there was no crime syndrome. Zeus, in 2011, put Donald Ramotar to hold the fort for him. It was the beginning of the end for Zeus and his little gods.
I could produce several of my columns that argued that Jagdeo and Ramotar were weak election strategies for the PPP in 2011 and would be for 2015. Non-PPP supporters hated Jagdeo. Indian PPP supporters were not impressed with his leadership and they voted for the PPP as an institution, not for Jagdeo. Zeus’ stardom was long gone, but amazingly, the PPP put him as the front man for their 2015 bandwagon.
Jagdeo knew he could have governed Guyana through the backdoor if Ramotar was handed the presidential nod in front of Ralph Ramkarran. The whole of Guyana knew that after 2011, Guyana had a legal president and a real president – Jagdeo was the latter.
Prodigious sums of money running into billions of dollars; plenty media houses at their disposal; mountains and oceans of state resources to give away, Jagdeo and Ramotar entered the 2015 race hoping to remove the 2011 minority status. It didn’t happen. They lost.
Preliminary results for the 2015 results showed the PPP lost the general elections, it doesn’t matter by how close. But there is a but. With such resources why did they not get a landslide? Why didn’t champion Jagdeo and an incumbent president create a voter tsunami for the PPP? Here is the answer. Zeus represented all that was bad and corrupt about politics and each of his subordinate gods were the depraved manifestation of sick, venal power.
It was a close race only because the little gods used state resources in colossal ways in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9. It is difficult to ask a community not to vote for an incumbent when that presiding leader is pouring tons of resources to benefit the village. This is human nature.
It was a close race because Zeus and his ethnic supremacists begged for votes using raw tribal instincts. Ethnic supremacists came out of the deep-blue sea and began to sermonize traditional PPP constituencies with demonization doctrines of the PNC and by extension, African Guyanese. Ethnic supremacists sacrificed the respect they won from the Guyanese people through their artistic, intellectual and religious work and succumbed to raw, racist instincts.
It was the most terrible racist campaign ever witnessed in politics in the 21st century anywhere in the world. Not even in the recent elections in Israel was an ethnic community so vilified as in what the Guyanese Zeus preached. It will remain a nasty memory for many of us who lived through it.
The lowest point will always be remembered – Mr. Jagdeo told Indian constituencies that if Granger won, the army will invade their homes and perpetrate violence on them. Such pronouncements should never find their way in an election campaign in the 21st century.
The PPP lost the 2015 election (shall we bother to repeat how close again – a win is a win – the PPP ruled Guyana with an iron fist for three years and didn’t win the election) because the little gods behaved as if they owned the Guyanese people and the territory of Guyana. What went on in Guyana from August 1999 to May 2015 was a Faustian journey into the pits of evil. It should never happen again anywhere else in the world.
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