On Thursday evening I was liming with friends at Nicky’s Fish Shop at Drury Lane in Campbellville having Guyanese fries (plantain fries) with fried fish. As the evening wore on, one of the leaders of Team Legacy, which recently won two Georgetown City Council seats, said to me, “Freddie yuh gat to hear dis.”
He took out his smart phone and played for us around the table, two speeches by Raphael Trotman during the recent Local Government Elections in Bartica.
I wasn’t shocked at what I heard from Trotman but what I heard was shocking. This was a hate-filled speech that manifested the cruelties and sadism of old political culture. Raphael Trotman has demonstrated by those two speeches that he does not belong to the future of politics in this tragic land. Goose bumps emerged on my body when Trotman went into his demagogic rage of ethnic loyalty.
It was not as crude as Jagdeo’s constant racially charged rhetoric but the race card was played by Trotman. What was embarrassing to President David Granger was that each time, he give out a divisive sentence and the crowds cheered, he heaped praise on President Granger and wrapped his panegyrics with religious ribbons. At one time, he told the crowd that it was God who wanted Granger to become President of Guyana at this time.
The Bartica speech could be analyzed as having four dimensions. First, there were excessive references to the Bible. Every major observation in his speech was backed up by some religious quote (I hope Trotman does not become a Christian preacher in later life).
Secondly, the acknowledgement that he, Trotman, has returned to the PNC. He openly told the crowds that although he was a part of the AFC, he never left the struggle and that the Prodigal Son has returned. Thirdly, the entire speech was laced with high eulogies for President Granger. He then told the crowd that ten years ago, he and David Granger met in Nassau (Bahamas) and Granger laid out a plan for Guyana.
On the day in 2015 when the elections results were made known, Trotman indicated that Mr. Granger called him and said to him, “Raphael, this is Nassau.” Trotman left the crowds in suspension because he thinks that it is President Granger that should be the first one to reveal what the two of them dialogued on ten years ago in the Bahamas.
I don’t have a clue what it is but whatever it is I would suggest you listen to the tape, and when you hear Raphael Trotman speaking at that Bartica LGE public meeting, then what was spoken and planned in the Bahamas ten years ago has to be frightening, because Trotman doesn’t come across as a powerful politician that will shape a progressive future for Guyana.
I am typing this column on Friday morning and I rang David Patterson, General-Secretary of the AFC and suggested to him that the leadership of the AFC listen to the tape and take disciplinary action against Trotman. I sent a copy of the tape to David.
The third dimension was his appeal to ethnic loyalty. Two weeks ago, Bharrat Jagdeo was shameless to say that the PPP is consolidating its Indian support. Trotman using subtler linguistics mouthed off the same symbols to that Bartica meeting. He told the gathering that Bartica was a PNC stronghold, asked the attendees if they see anywhere in Guyana that in the LGE, there is opposing parties contesting in PPP areas? The implication and message were there for even a school boy to understand.
The fourth dimension was his theory that the independent group, BIGA, was presumptuous to fight the PNC in its own constituency when the PPP is not being challenged. He very subtly implied that BIGA’s presence is helpful to the PPP.
This was the part when as I listened to the tape the goose bumps got larger. Trotman’s stratagem of maintaining ethnic loyalty was the very weapon the PPP used against his party, the AFC, when it was born.
PPP leaders went all over the entire 83,000 square miles and told Indian people that the AFC is not attacking the PNC, but the PPP and that the intention of the AFC is to weaken the PPP. In similar language, Trotman accused BIGA of doing so. What was strange and is perhaps incomprehensible is Trotman’s pronouncement that night that President Granger has an interest in Bartica in the LGE than any other part of Guyana.
Why is President Granger so enamoured with Bartica? I know all Guyanese would like to know why. Listen to the Raphael Trotman tape.
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