In times of crises, volcanoes, tsunamis, warfare, some politicians rise to the occasion and show immense courage against the tide of pessimism. The name Dominic Gaskin comes to mind.
Before the election rigging by the PNC, WPA and AFC, I did not see Minister Gaskin and politician Gaskin in a positive way. He was a lackluster Business Minister unable to fully comprehend the developmental quagmires of a post-colonial political economy like Guyana. This lacuna undermined his competence.
As an AFC politician, Gaskin belonged to a highly stratified political party where class differentiation pervaded every aspect of its structure. The AFC was a throwback to Sir John Carter’s NDP of the fifties and sixties where colour and class were the main criteria for elevation in its hierarchy. I regret dearly I supported the AFC and it is one of the torments I will have to live with for the rest of my life. The only comfort is that I am conscious that the AFC and its remnants are now dead meat.
Deep in my soul, I believe that my daily critical columns for five years in the Kaieteur News when the APNU+AFC ruled from 2015 to 2020 including my contributions to the no-confidence debate and the five-month rigging saga helped in a little way to cause people not to vote for it, thus I contributed to the death of the AFC. I am glad, elated and overjoyed, I helped to weaken and eventually killed off this monster.
During the early days of the Mingo/Lowenfield election insanity, Gaskin put on display his huge courage by fulfilling his obligation to history and Guyana. He told his country that as a leader in his party that contested the election, he knew his party had lost. The name Dominic Gaskin is now part of Guyana’s current history and he has my respect.
It is for this reason, I have consistently called upon Dr. Vincent Adams to either admit to this nation that the AFC was part of a rigging process after the tabulation showed the APNU+AFC lost or tell the Guyanese people if he believes the election was tampered with. But he has to do like Gaskin and put his obligation in front of the eyes of this country.
We come now to Volda Lawrence. Whatever mistakes Ms. Lawrence made during the past two years while in government and whatever distempering deportment she manifested during the five-month election drama, she came good at a time when every Guyanese needed her.
She went to Region Five and spoke to the violent demonstrators. Her words were patriotic, nationalistic, politically correct and spiritually comforting. She pleaded with them not to do what they have been doing because such insensitivities and cruelties are not in the DNA of African people. She took a stance against violence. She was anguished at the act of the demonstrators and protesters killing a 17-year-old boy. She referred to him as a child. She openly exclaimed that protesters cannot kill a child like that. She asked that the blocking of the roadways be called off.
Why Ms. Lawrence’s pioneering spirit is so admirable? Context is everything. She knew she had to set herself apart from the marauding cabal in the PNC hierarchy led by David Granger and Joe Harmon. She knew these two men were sending African people to the chasm. But wait a minute. Ms. Lawrence is a woman.
This is where the gender instincts come into play. She knows how a mother feels about the loss of a child. Women make children; men don’t. Men’s role last for five minutes. They cannot psychologically feel and will never feel for a life the way women do.
I know Ms. Lawrence was one of the hardliners during the election saga. I know she was against Granger accepting the demand from US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to recognize the election defeat after Pompeo telephoned Granger on Friday, July 31. But Granger was just as hardliner as Lawrence. Don’t let people fool you. Don’t blame Lawrence alone for the vehement insistence that the APNU+AFC must not concede. There were others like her, just like her. The list includes Cathy Hughes and Raphael Trotman.
Ms. Lawrence has shown a larger heart, a warm soul, and a caring mind than any of the fascists in the APNU+AFC war-room now that Guyana is in the throes of post-election violence. I end by asking you, ‘how you feel about her?’ I will tell you about my feelings. Unless, she does something terrible in the future, she will have my admiration. I support her for leader of 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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