It was Raphael Trotman, during the five-month election rigging saga that made condescending remarks about the small populations of small Caricom islands. Trotman is too ignorant to understand the historical sociology and culture of the West Indian islands.
These countries are led by politicians who are essentially committed to the future of their islands. They believe in democratic norms. There were four national elections in CARICOM countries in recent weeks and none went down the chasm of nihilistic depravities as Guyana did – St. Kitts, Suriname, Trinidad and Jamaica. There were no accusations of rigged elections. There were no attempts at power grabbing.
While Trotman was laughing at the small populations in the islands, he was involved in rigging Guyana’s election which none of the leaders in those CARICOM nations would ever contemplate. None of the leaders in these small territories that Trotman was ignorantly insulting would ever tell the world that half of 65 is 34 and that there is no legal avenue in a country to upturn the decision of the Chief Elections Officer.
For a minister of government to say things like that proves he is scientifically and morally unfit to be a minister in a country’s government. History has been good to Guyana, Trotman and his colleagues in the AFC like Cathy Hughes, Khemraj Ramjattan, Dr. Vincent Adams and David Patterson are gone from power; never to return. But something happened in Barbados this week that we need to throw in the faces of people like Trotman and the entire PNC leadership.
Little Barbados with its small square miles and small populations have leaders who are more committed to the freedom of Barbadians than people like Trotman and his PNC and AFC acolytes. Barbados has now made 14 grams of marijuana legal. The Mottley government came into power three years after the APNU+AFC won the May 2015 elections. The APNU+AFC spent five years in office yet never amended the law to make it legal to possess even one gram of ganja. In fact, during the reign of the APNU+AFC, persons went to jail for possession of a smoking utensil.
People like Trotman and his acolytes in the PNC and AFC inserted into their manifesto a promise to amend the law during the 2015 election battle. They never did after spending five years in power. These are the same people who went to Region Five and proclaimed their concern for the future of Black Guyanese.
Many of those young men who were on a rampage in Region Five last week after being incited to violence by PNC and AFC leaders are going to jail if they smoke a gram of ganja. Many of these poor souls do not know that once they enter a guilty plea, the magistrate has no jurisdiction to free them.
In legalizing up to 14 grams of ganja, it is interesting to read the reason the Barbadian government gave. The statement said that charging and jailing people for very small amounts is a waste of the courts and police’s time, and conviction has severe implications for employment prospects and visa applications. Almost 100 percent of the people jailed in Guyana for small amounts of the drug are Africans. Almost 99 percent of them are below age 30.
With the announcement of the amendment in Barbados, Guyanese academics must continue to analyze why the APNU+AFC lost the 2020 election fight. It was not only the 2011 and 2015 voters that turned away from the AFC in 2020, but African Guyanese showed immense and bitter chagrin with the PNC. See my columns of Friday, September 4, 2020, “Untergang: Granger in a crowd” and September 3, 2020, “Untergang: Rupert Roopnaraine in a cartoon” in which I described the reaction of African voters to how the PNC and WPA performed from 2015 onwards.
It is on issues like the betrayal of the ganja amendment legislation that contributed to the 2020 defeat of the PNC. The PNC leaders do not have the analytical capacity to understand the frustrations of the African Guyanese people that cost them the election. I do not have the percentage for the Rastafari community in Guyana but it is possible that over 2,000 of them chose not to vote because of the failed ganja amendment.
The crucial mistake the PNC leaders made is that they calculated that African Guyanese would turn out in record numbers to put them back in office. But these were ignorant people who couldn’t see that African Guyanese felt betrayed. A substantial quantity of public servants probably did not vote because of the refusal to up the retirement age. African Guyanese need to chase the PNC out of Guyana.
(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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