Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo within the past three days on separate occasions have each made some curious statements about the LGE which by the time you read this, will be on its way with people voting. The Ramjattan emanation is full of sadness. The Nagamootoo observation is replete with political dishonesty.
Ramjattan told a press conference that the hope with which he and others had when they birthed the AFC is 2005 is the same hope they have in winning the LGE today. He went on; “We did our work …and we got five seats, then we got seats, and now the PPP is in opposition….” Ramjattan didn’t go on to talk about after 2015. Was that a Freudian reason?
What Ramjattan did not mention was that the hope the AFC had when the AFC was born and the PPP was tearing away at the fabric of Guyana also galvanized hope in the nation. It was that hope and the optimism of a better tomorrow that catapulted the AFC into the nation’s imagination.
Ramjattan, his party’s colleagues and underlings may still have hope but paradise is lost and two of those persons who caused that were Ramjattan himself and his side-kick, Moses Nagamootoo. We will come to Nagamootoo below.
So was Ramjattan the same hopeful guy he was when he became a vice-president after 2015? This was the same Ramjattan that less than a year in power, got on a television programme and ran down this columnist and Dr. David Hinds, two persons that certainly contributed to the circumstances that led to the PPP being out of power.
It was one of the leaders and a close associate of Ramjattan in the AFC who together with powerful people in the PNC secured the removal of David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis from writing in the Chronicle. Ramjattan thinks people’s memories must be short. He justified cutting NCN’s budget in 2012 when he was in the opposition, dubbing it as taxpayers’ money being spent on PPP’s propaganda.
But look how history evolves. Ramjattan’s party is now in power and the Chronicle remains the state propagandist newspaper that it was under the PPP, funded of course, by taxpayers’ money.
Ramjattan thinks his party will win the LGE and he also thinks the Guyanese people will forget that he is as authoritarian as the PPP leaders he helped to topple. Here are the words the Cyber Crime Bill which are offensive to democracy that Ramjattan fought to have remained in the legislation but wiser thinking from other leaders in the AFC and PNC prevailed; “A person commits an offence of sedition if the person, whether in or out of Guyana, intentionally publishes, transmit or circulates by use of a computer system, a statement or words, either spoken or written, a text, video, image, sign, visible representation that brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government.”
This was an assault on democracy that Ramjattan defended.
We come to Ngamootoo. In a disgraceful defence of his non-achievements, he continues to peddle the determinism of PPP ownership of the East Indian community in this country. Here are his own words written yesterday in his favourite newspaper, the Chronicle, the paper which he ordered to stop the publication of the columns of David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis.
“Ethnic mobilisation for partisan causes has become, sadly, part and parcel of Guyana’s contemporary political history. This is true … except for relatively brief spells during the Rodney Revolt and the short-lived campaigns of the Patriotic Coalition for Democracy (PCD).
“The APNU+AFC coalition government has since symbolised multi-ethnic politics, but it has not broken the back of racial cleavages in the society. It could, over time; and the broadening of the base of ethnic cooperation.”
So he agreed that there were two moments when the race ownership syndrome could have been dissolved and he sees the birth and continuation of the AFC as the third occasion. Two omissions in his delivery, I think were deliberate.
No mention of the continuing role he plays as Prime Minister in gradually breaking down traditional racial barriers. Secondly, to what extent the racial animosity is disappearing after three years in power of him and the AFC?
But the most important thing to note about Nagamootoo’s observation is if he will choose to resign if his party loses badly at the LGE today. Because remember, he says the AFC is the third occasion of removing race consciousness. Now surely, his position becomes untenable if the AFC after three years in power loses today.
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