There are times that you do things and years after you say to yourself: “Why did I do that, this is not who I am?” But as the medieval philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote, everything has a rational, logical explanation.
I look at what the Alliance for Change has become and I look back with deeply piercing angst at my active support for that party. I believe deep in my political soul that Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman are two of the most dangerous, undemocratic, conspiratorial, narrow-minded, and unprincipled politicians this country’s history has produced.
Each time these men open their mouths, there are echoes of fascist rhetoric. Were these the two men this nation put its faith in to carve out a progressive future? I knew long before 2015, things about Trotman that cannot be published here and one day I hope I can do that. Ramjattan was always a devious human and I saw graphic manifestations of that instinct long before 2015.
I saw all the faults of these two men and their shameless middle-class acolytes way back in 2011 yet I campaigned for that party in 2015, and no doubt my columns and social activism between 2011 and 2015 must have, in some small way, helped to propel it to an election victory. Why did I do it?
I confess to all those who may have a positive opinion of me that I supported the AFC in 2015, campaigned for it and wanted it to have power essentially because of Nigel Hughes. Now that the AFC has become semi-fascist, I apologize deeply from my heart. But if I didn’t believe in Hughes, the way I did from 2011, I perhaps may never have entered the doorway of the AFC.
I became close to Nigel during the libel writ filed by then President, Bharrat Jagdeo. After the first few days, Ramjattan left the trial and never returned even for a fleeting second. Nigel endured with me for eight years. I came to know him closely from 2011 when the case began.
Nigel reminded me of the politics of Walter Rodney. Nigel was a middle-class guy alright, but his politics transcended race and class. From 2011 as the libel trial went on month after month, year after year, we interacted personally and as WPA colleagues. Nigel was different from your typical middle class “jive ass” politicians that I interacted with in the WPA in the seventies and in the AFC after 2011.
He had ideological orientations that derived from the struggle of the seventies and resembled those that Rodney embodied. If I trusted anyone with state power that would not turn his back on working class people and pursue democratic governance, it was Nigel. In my activism with the AFC, particularly after 2012 when the opposition cut the national estimates of the PPP government, I found people in both Georgetown and in the countryside gravitated toward the AFC because of the large presence of Nigel.
It was like Rodney in the seventies. The youths went in the direction of the WPA because of Rodney. It was the same with Nigel. In fact, between 2012 and 2014, I detected a certain amount of jealously in Linden by the PNC over the towering personality of Nigel. I sensed most definitely that the PNC felt that Nigel was a threat to them among urban youths.
But even among Nigel’s own friends in the AFC, there were thoughts of creating distance which climaxed when he showed his Rodneyite approach to power. Nigel felt the local people should be left alone to run their communities and the parties in central government should not contest in certain areas of the 2016 local government election. With this kind of perspective, he did not support his own coalition formation contesting in Bartica.
In 2015, I believe I had no choice but to campaign for the AFC. Nigel was the chairman. I owed him a tremendous debt. The libel writ lasted eight years and Nigel never charged me a cent. I figure with his standing, I owed him more than four million dollars. No one in my entire life has been that nice to me except Yesu Persaud.
I honestly felt that if the APNU+AFC had won power, then Guyana with Nigel’s influential presence in government we could see an innovative approach to good governance. Looking back, I think I did the right thing in 2015 given what Nigel did for me. But I know in my heart I had suspicions of Trotman and Ramjattan. I guess it all ended well. Guyana will never see Ramjattan and Trotman back in power. I wish Nigel well in whatever he does.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Sep 22, 2020By Calvin Chapman At just 15-years-old, Forgotten Youth Foundation’s Alesha Jackman is already a Caribbean champion and is on the right track in achieving her dreams of following in the footsteps...
Transparency Institute of Guyana (TIGI) has published a letter on me in the Sunday edition of the Stabroek News. The statement... 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]