In March 2016, I got into a big newspaper clash with Henry Jeffrey over a statement he made. I thought it was extremely misleading what he wrote though I believe he has a right to his interpretation. But if we let misinterpretations on important historical events go unanswered, then history gets into trouble and by extension the knowledge that future generations have to learn from.
Here is what Jeffrey wrote; “I do not believe that our country is in this condition because over the last half a century our politicians have been wicked and intended this kind of backwardness.” When I saw this expression, the first thing that came to my mind was that this gentleman is an academic and a long practising politician, holding important positions in the PNC and PPP administrations, how could he not see the brutal nature of ethnic competition in Guyana?
So many examples of PPP and PNC’s deliberate destruction came tumbling down from my memories that I could never have seen Jeffrey’s scholarship in the same light again. I don’t know if Jeffrey still holds to that perspective but I will continue to confront any similar view. Our political culture generates wilful destruction.
It is for this reason, the country needed a Walter Rodney bandwagon, a multi-racial party grounded in people’s struggle and a young generation that doesn’t care a damn about texture of hair, colour of skin, and last names. Why Jeffrey, who saw firsthand, as part of Burnham’s machinery and first hand as minister in the PPP government for sixteen years, the deliberate destruction, is incomprehensible or opportunistic.
Here is a sad episode, I never wrote about since 2015. I am writing it for the first time. I only knew about it in January of this year but it occurred in the middle of 2015. In 1978, when I was courting my wife, we would stop quite often on our way from the seawall to Wortmanville and drink coconut water directly at the junction of North Road and Orange Walk. This gentleman was a fixture there. Two generations in that family have carried on that business. It is still there. A few years back, it was featured in the newspapers because of its longevity.
While having my nut, the grandson of the owner told me that after APNU+AFC came into power, the army and police force stopped buying water from him and started to patronage his African neighbour. He said for over 30 years, they supplied the State.
He was talking to me with rage in his voice. He implored me to write about it. I asked if he was comfortable with the publicity. He said “why not?” Then, his brother chimed in and said; “you should write it Mr. Kissoon because you brought them to power” (his exact words).”
Surely, the African vendor should get a part of the State’s purchasing order. You have to share the pie and I am an unashamed, unapologetic defender of African people getting their fair share of the nation’s wealth. But the way it was done to this Indian family was crass and deliberate.
I cannot see how Jeffrey could refuse to see the thousands of wilful acts of destruction in our post-colonial history. Was it not a cunning, carefully planned story when Forbes Burnham at his party congress at Sophia said this; “it was decided that the Party should assume unapologetically its paramountcy over the government which is merely one of its executive arms.”
This was known as the Declaration of Sophia. A party that had less than forty percent of support from the population and never won a free election became paramount to the government. The inherent disaster was clear for Guyanese to see. This was no accidental occurrence.
In 1974, the denial of a teaching job at UG was not accidental. From 2001, Jagdeo’s systematic discrimination against African Guyanese was not accidental. See my research paper, “Ethnic Power and Ideological Racism: Comparing presidencies in Guyana,” June 2010. The refusal by the Ramotar Government to put the 1823 slave uprising monument on Parade Ground was not accidental.
This brings us to the three-month election fiasco that Guyana is drowning in and the destruction that has followed the rigging of the March 2 general poll. We are seeing huge acts of deliberation that are causing terrible disasters. APNU+AFC leaders are inciting people. These are wilful acts. Can you excuse the appeal by Joe Harmon to the security forces that their votes were not counted? Do you know the destruction that intended fiction can cause? Unless, ethnic rivalry in politics dies, deliberately planned evil will continue.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Jul 05, 2020Executives and members of the Georgetown Softball Cricket League Incorporated (GSCL) express their grief at the sudden passing of a true cricket all-rounder Anil Persaud. At the time of his sudden...
The hot question at this moment is what type of attacks we will see on the Secretary-General (SG) of CARICOM, Mr. Irwin La... more
The government should not be selling any lands. It has long gone beyond being a caretaker administration and is merely in... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders There have been unhelpful and destructive attacks by leading members and zealous supporters of the... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]