Here is a brief description of political instability since the 28 years of the PNC’s reign came to an end in 1992. The 1992 election results were rejected by the PNC. Violence erupted in Georgetown. Stores were looted. I saw a Portuguese businesswoman, who was one of the owners of a food manufacturing company, ferrying looters to break commercial businesses in Water Street.
In 1997, the PNC again refused to accept the election results. Widespread violence followed. As a media operative I was on the streets and I saw hooligans cutting the hoses of the fire trucks that were putting out arsons on Regent Street. The 2001 election was rejected again. Buxton became the place for the slow moving-confrontation to remove an elected administration.
It would get this columnist killed or end up with dozens of libels if I publish some of the names of opposition figures after 2002 who were involved in the “Buxton Troubles.” These names would be met with disbelief. Interestingly, I believe the then President, Bharrat Jagdeo, has a file on the politicians who were involved in the Buxton mayhem.
In 2011, the PNC-instigated violence ceased. The PPP lost its majority. In 2015, the PNC, in a coalition with the AFC, won the government. From 2015-2020, there weren’t any political lawlessness. There was no street violence. There were no arsons. In August 2020, the PPP took power and after a month in office, “slo fyaah, mo fyaah” has risen from the ashes.
What happened with the horrible deaths of the two cousins in Region Five has now presented the PNC, in collaboration with the AFC, to reignite the fire. To use the senseless killing of two young men for political gains is deep and profound moral sickness. Here is the game plan of the PNC.
If the Region Five violent protest can spread to Regions Two, Three, Four and Six, then it presents an opportunity that was lost in the five months of rigging. We are talking about power-sharing. There were two attempts at the creation of severe, crushing violence to bring about a dialogue of power-sharing. The first was the period of “slo fyaah, mo fyaah”. Opposition leader, Desmond Hoyte, was not interested in the violent overthrow of the PPP government and in fact there was a plot to harm him. It was Tony Vieira who brought out that information. A high-level PNC operative supplied me with the name of the ring-leader. I will only say that this person left the PNC and found comfort in another party.
The second attempt at confronting the PPP government was the “Buxton Troubles” 2002-2006. It did not materialize because the politicians involved (including the WPA personnel) found themselves in a bind after the kidnapping of the security advisor of the US Embassy, Stephen Lesniak. Once the kidnapping occurred, the opposition politicians who were involved in the Buxton plot knew that the American could implicate them in international terrorism.
The Buxton conspiracy failed to remove the Jagdeo government for four reasons – the society detested the misdirected, violent insanities; secondly, anti-Indian violence horrified the security forces that were prepared to kill the gunmen in consort with Roger Khan’s men; thirdly, with the exception of Ronald Waddel and Tacuma Ogunseye, opposition parliamentarians were afraid to openly be seen strategizing for the gunmen. This meant that the society saw the thing as more criminal than political. Fourthly, the gun men themselves were hardened criminals who refused to take orders from politicians and just wanted to lust, loot and kill.
We come now to the present crisis in Region Five in which overt racial instigations are taking place. After losing the election, this was the fall-back plan. It will only succeed and lead to negotiations if the PPP fails to detect the plan and allow their supporters to retaliate. One would want to believe that the PPP bigwigs have already gathered in their war room and are analyzing the situation.
What is there to analyze? The PNC and the AFC, (yes, the AFC is in the conspiracy which makes it incumbent on Dr. Vincent Adams to denounce the AFC’s complicity). There is nothing to analyze. The PNC is hoping for racial tit for tat and the generation of a national, violent upheaval. Sections of society (ACDA is already on board) and international society will then urge the PPP and PNC to sit down and have a hard session of bargaining. In the realpolitik game that the PNC is playing, there is only one demand – power-sharing. My honest opinion is that the Region Five tragedy is going to be viciously and violently used by the PNC.
(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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