The overseas groups of the PNCR are as divorced as you can possibly be from local political reality. Two motions, moved by the Party’s overseas groups, reveal just how much out of touch some of these groups are from the local situation.
A lack of sensitivity was evident in the motion which was moved to have the Cheddi Jagan International Airport renamed the Burnham-Jagan International Airport. This motion will be seen as being reflective of political venom. It shows how deep-seated the hatred is, which exists for the PPPC, even by those who are distant from the day-to-day realities of Guyana.
Indian rights activists will go further and argue that the motion is an attempt at cultural erasure by seeking to diminish the role of the greatest hero of Indian Guyanese, Cheddi Jagan.
A motion like that, whatever its motivation, ought never to have seen the light of day. It is irreverent and irrelevant. It had no place at this Congress. The motion dealt with an issue which by no stretch of the imagination can be seen as a priority for the party. The PNCR has greater problems than to worry about such a silly motion.
The motion was out of sync with the times. The controversy over the naming of the airport is long buried and gone. What useful purpose can be served by resurrecting this issue?
The PNCR had ranted and raved over the naming of the airport in honour of Cheddi Jagan. Their contention was that the airport should have retained the name Timehri because of the Amerindian murals at the location. It was just a pitiful excuse, because the PNC did not want anything national named after Cheddi Jagan.
Earlier this year, the government halted the issuance of a commemorative stamp in honour of the centenary of Cheddi Jagan. The government later relented and the stamp was issued at a low-keyed ceremony at which not a single minister of the government attended.
Last year, there was an attempt by the government to seize control of Red House which runs the Cheddi Jagan Research Institute. This attempt was rebuffed, but it did show the ends to which the government would go to try to erase the Jagan name from Guyana.
The argument used by the government that there should be a building to house the papers of all Presidents is ridiculous. The ruling party has a Burnham Foundation. It does not house the Hoyte Foundation, so why should there be one building for all Presidents? What is objectionable about having different institutes for different Presidents?
The motion, therefore, which was tabled at the 20th Biennial Congress of the PNCR will be seen as part of the ongoing attempt to diminish the contributions of Cheddi Jagan.
Burnham had a whole town named after him. He had a community in the city and a village on the coast named after two of his daughters. A park in New Amsterdam bears his name. There is a mausoleum in the Botanic Gardens which bears what is said to be his remains. So why name another institution after him?
The second motion called for the establishment of a central transportation hub. It is a suggestion which reflects an ignorance of how the local transportation is structured and its importance to a number of small operators.
Ironically, a number of persons have expressed support for the measure without realizing the implications. Such a facility will require that all transportation operators be registered with the centralized service which will operate as a franchise. It means that fees will have to be paid. It means that the franchise will have a virtual monopoly on transportation. This will not pass muster with most transportation operators, the majority of whom are single-vehicle operators and who prefer to work with themselves rather than under a franchise.
Transportation does indeed need to be regularized, but not by establishing a central authority which will hold the franchise for transportation services and which will crowd out private operators.
That such an absurd motion could be moved at the Congress of the ruling party, just shows how distant from reality or how self-serving the Party’s overseas groups are.
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