One day, three years ago, David Hinds and I were having lunch at a Creole restaurant directly opposite the vehicle inspection unit of the license revenue authority of the GRA in Smyth Street.
I brought up a question to him with intense seriousness. I asked if someone high up in the WPA was not feeding President Burnham and the security forces intelligence data on the WPA’s activities. Too many instances point directly to one of those leaders.
Here are a few examples to reflect on. Ohene Koama drove away with arms in his trunk after a meeting of the WPA in Tiger Bay in which all of the leaders were present. When I interviewed Hamilton Green for a column in KN, he said the government knew everything Koama was up to and knew where he was heading with the guns.
David Hinds on his arrival at the airport was arrested and his luggage searched and he was arrested and jailed for what the security personnel found. Only the WPA leadership knew what David was carrying.
Tacuma Ogunseye was arrested for bomb-making and was jailed. Someone told the Pegasus management that Denise Couseau, one of its managers, had WPA personnel using one of the rooms. It was found out and she lost her employment. Only the top WPA leaders knew about the Pegasus connection.
British intelligence files on the united PPP under Burnham and Jagan revealed that the UK had a mole right up in the leadership of the PPP. Even after fifty years when those files were released they are still redacted.
The MI5 files on the PPP leadership in the fifties are now available. The mole is referred to as “Lascar.” That agent in the PPP will remain forever unidentified.
I wrote Moses Bhagwan and asked him if he knew who Lascar was. He said he didn’t. I journeyed to the office of Ashton Chase and the home of Hamilton Green to speak to them about the identity of Lascar but both of them said they cannot pinpoint who the person was. Many persons including a prominent Guyanese still alive told me Lascar was Burnham. I doubt it.
Back to the WPA and the agent right in its midst. There are many secret things about the WPA’s activism in the seventies that are yet to be revealed. Many of the WPA top guns at the time had close friendships with top policy-makers in the PNC government.
At the day of appreciation on the death of Andaiye at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Rashleigh Jackson’s daughter spoke of how close her family was to Andaiye. Forbes Burnham’s daughter also gave a tribute and spoke of her closeness to Andaiye.
It is public knowledge in the seventies that the mother of Rupert Roopnaraine was a good friend of President Burnham. In fact, a few months ago, coming out of the studio of Channel 9 with Vincent Alexander, I was talking about this very subject when Vincent reminded me of President Burnham’s friendship with Rupert’s mom.
Omawale I know had solid non-political, social relations with many PNC ministers. So did Joycelyn Dow. I would like to stress the words “non-political” and “social”.
I want to be pellucid. I don’t think any of the WPA names listed here have any knowledge of their political ties to the Burnham Government. The names are mentioned here just to emphasise the point that the WPA in the seventies was a strange set of people.
For some inscrutable reason, Elvin McDavid opened up to me. I would visit him at his working class structure in Queenstown and we would talk about the Burnham era and the Burnham magic. He saw the seventies as the golden moment for Burnham. He was a dye in the Burnhamite wool.
But McDavid was no fool. He told me only what he wanted me to know. I also had to be careful because McDavid could also have been exaggerating.
I remember well there was always a broad smile that indicated relish and satisfaction when he spoke of how Burnham’s state apparatus had penetrated the WPA’s hierarchical edifice.
I can distinctly recall one episode in which he said, “We know everything they were doing.” Strangely enough, Hamilton Green echoed those identical words when I raised the subject with him.
I believe there was a very high mole in the WPA’s top layer. Of those that know the agent would be Godwin McPherson, Elvin McDavid, Laurie Lewis, and James Mentore, head of Special Branch. All are dead.
Those alive that probably would know are Hamilton Green and Norman McLean. I have a name. More later.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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