Kaieteur News – The joining of the PNC and Walter Rodney’s party, the Working People’s Alliance, under the umbrella APNU in 2011 split the admirers of Rodney. Rodney’s famous brother, Donald, never accepted the merger. One suspects that those like Donald Rodney would have preferred some kind of acknowledgement by the PNC of its previous leadership’s role in Rodney’s killing or an obligatory apology.
Others supported the arguments of the then WPA leadership that it was time for the healing among African Guyanese that were torn apart by the zero sum battle between two Guyanese icons – Rodney and Burnham. The 2011 WPA big wigs publicly justified the merger by saying time had changed the configuration of politics and the marriage could only result in positive directions.
After turning itself from a pressure group into a political party in 1976, the WPA finally achieved state power in 2015. The chasm in 2011 between those who opposed and supported the merger became wider. Four WPA leaders had substantial state authority – Drs. Rupert Roopnaraine, Clive Thomas and Maurice Odle. WPA stalwart, Joycelyn Dow, became a huge beneficiary of the post 2015 dispensation.
Eyes around the world became wide open because the APNU led government was not only mediocre, visionless, racist and neo-liberal but had not even one item on its agenda that went back to the dreams of Walter Rodney. In fact, Dr. Roopnaraine became a shameless power-drunk revolutionary fraud when he stopped attending statutory meetings of the WPA under the explanation that as a Minister he could not discuss government’s business at the party level. This degeneration by Dr. Roopnaraine will form the basis of a separate column. Dr. Thomas was GuySuCo’s chairman when 7,000 sugar workers were laid off without the legally requited financial compensation.
The WPA’s quota in the APNU’s administration had become sycophants of David Granger, the least competent and the most lackluster of all of Guyana’s presidents. For those who opposed the merger, the belief was that the WPA had openly betrayed Walter Rodney. Only one WPA stalwart publicly said it though not using those words. Andaiye gave me permission to quote her saying she wanted nothing to do with the kind of politics that the WPA was portraying in the Granger government. I did quote her.
The APNU-led government is dead. The WPA is dead but the betrayal by those who once loved Rodney and are still around continue to be shameless humans. On Monday, there appeared a letter in this newspaper in the form of an appeal to Anil Nandlall, the Attorney General in the current PPP government, to give justice to Donald Rodney’s brother through the hearing of his appeal on the trump-up charge by the Forbes Burnham government of Donald’s involvement in his brother’s murder. This appeal is 40 years on the court shelf.
Here is where the ghost of Rodney stalks the land. Here is where the betrayal of Rodney gets more nauseating as time passes. The letter was signed by four WPA stalwarts, Abyssinian Carto who is the brother of Andaiye; enduring WPA women activist, Karen de Souza and two members of the group named Overseas Friends of the WPA – Dr. Nigel Westmaas and Moses Bhagwan.
There is a mystery behind the publication of this appeal to Mr. Nandlall. The APNU regime was the government of these four signatories. The Attorney-General of the APNU administration was a Cabinet colleague of Dr. Roopnaraine and had a close, working relation with Drs. Thomas and Odle in that very government. Why during the five years of the APNU’s control of the state these four signatories never insisted that then AG, Basil Williams, take the direction that they are now asking Mr. Nandlall to go into?
When Donald Rodney had his vigil outside of the Court of Appeal, then opposition MP, Mr. Nandlall, himself came up to chat with us and it was clear he was in sympathy with Donald’s plea. One would like to think that the AG is going to act on Donald’s plea. But when he does that, the betrayal of Rodney by the remnants of the WPA will manifest itself once more for the world to see.
The question the four signatories must answer to Guyanese, wherever Guyanese can be found, is why when the WPA was part of the government from May 2015 to March 2020, didn’t they demand justice for Donald Rodney or demand that the WPA pull out of its coalition pact with the PNC. One cannot point to even a public hint by these four signatories that AG Williams must use his office to bring closure to the persecution of Donald Rodney. How can these people face decent humans in this world?
(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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