For the purpose of this column, I went back to my files to look for a column I did for the Stabroek News, many moons ago, in which I described the absolute deception and confusion in Guyanese politics to the extent that you didn’t know who to trust and which politician was friends with the other side. I didn’t find it. But I do recall vividly that column to which then editor-in-chief David De Caires did a supporting editorial.
However, I recall three events that are germane to the main arguments of this article here. Joey Jagan, son of Cheddi Jagan, said on television that he can remember as a little boy his father, then, Premier of British Guiana, would take him when he secretly met on the seawall with then Opposition Leader Forbes Burnham on several occasions while publicly they were fighting each other violently. No one has ever written about that or even alluded to that before Joey Jagan revealed it.
Secondly, one of founding members of the WPA, Dr. Joshua Ramsammy, is dead and gone but on several occasions he told me that Dr. Rupert Roopnarine had a thing going with the PNC that he, Josh never understood. Thirdly, I found that that the enduring matriarch of the WPA, Joycelyn Dow, had a close connection to PNC big wig, Dr. Kenneth King. My sources told me that it was King that facilitated her being on the Election Commission.
I wrote a Stabroek News column to that effect. The time was early 1994. Dow didn’t deny it but she went straight to the then unofficial advisor of the PPP Government and co-owner of the Stabroek News, Miles Fitzpatrick, and asked that I be removed as a columnist. The next day De Caires called me in. He ranted and raved about the column, telling me how angry Fitzpatrick was. I stood my ground. My column was factual. De Caires said I was a good columnist but he has to placate Dow and Fitzpatrick. He decided that I should resume writing after a hiatus of three months. I told De Caires to go to hell. That was the end of my relation with the Stabroek News.
This was politics in Guyana that was so confusing that humans could not (and would not) understand it. Fitzpatrick was close to the PPP Government in 1994 and to the WPA. Dow was in the WPA leadership and close to the PNC. In the meantime, the PPP Government and the WPA were becoming bitter enemies. From 1992, when the PPP won power right up to 2017, there have been confusing and deceiving signals among all major politicians in the major parties – PPP, PNC, WPA, AFC – about who is who and who is close to whom and who has close friendship with whom. I’ve been told Raphael Trotman is closer to APNU than AFC. In this swamp of entangled overgrown weeds, one should be careful how one treads.
It hasn’t stopped. I told two Kaieteur News colleagues that I think the PNC may be playing the ethnic card with attorney, Emile Dodson. I said to my two colleagues that if an East Indian lawyer had taken Bharrat Jagdeo’s case to challenge the two term limit for the presidency, the PNC would have ostracized him immediately; he wouldn’t have been entertained by PNC leaders or welcomed at Congress Place.
A Black woman, Dodson, took Jagdeo’s case, won it in the High Court and is now in front of the Court of Appeal arguing for Jagdeo to run a third time. That woman is close to the PNC leadership and was accepted by that leadership to sit on the Procurement Commission. The same PNC leadership rejected people like Chris Ram and Anand Goolsarran that were very critical of the Jagdeo Government when the PNC was in opposition. It is my firm belief that the race card was the reason for accepting Dodson on the Procurement Commission.
I may be wrong, but that is my opinion. It goes back to the confusion in politics I described above. Dodson is fighting Jagdeo’s case, which she willingly accepted to do. If she wins the appeal, Jagdeo may become President a third time; he will crush the PNC if he wins but Dodson is also close to the PNC. Isn’t this confusing? In the meantime, Jagdeo’s Prime Ministerial candidate, a Black woman, Elizabeth Harper, is re-employed by the Government on the explanation that her skills are needed. But Mike Khan who has skills in hospital administration and served Guyana as long as Harper has, was sacked. Aren’t his skills needed too? Or has it to do with race?
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