Kaieteur News – Zoom is the big thing in the world. One journalist sits in a café in Nairobi and talks to an international athlete and citizens in Jamaica can see them chatting on Zoom. A dog runs into the café and eats the sandwich that the athlete had on the table and the entire world can see that.
This is the technological world we live in. You cannot say that you do not have the facts on what the interviewer asked the sport personality. It is there on your smart phone or laptop to see. It was for this reason, I have withdrawn my respect and admiration for Eusi Kwayana.
I would have preferred if Kwayana in his reply to me in April last year on the election drama had said he did not accept the return of the PPP in power. What I rejected was his explanation that he didn’t have all the facts and from where he lived, he was not going to make pronouncements.
I had warned readers that as soon as the election imbroglio was over, you will find people, who refused to pen even one line on election rigging, will devote time and energy to all types of occurrences in Guyana. One prominent North-America-based Guyanese actually appealed to an influential international body to rule against the continuation of gas and oil exploration here.
The person was listed in the press as a human rights activist. But such activism should have compelled this person to speak out against the attitude of the ruling party after it lost a no-confidence vote (NCV) and the five month-election saga. I cannot and will not accept a human rights actor confining their activism only to the oil industry.
Out of the blue, I read a well-known academic writing in the newspapers about placing too much emphasis on Burnham’s role in the overt and covert American intervention against Premier Cheddi Jagan in the 1960s while he claims analysts tend to obfuscate the role of the Americans.
As with the activist that is against oil exploration, I am confused why this academic did not want to comment too on the absurdity Guyana faced in the eyes of the world when the NCV was rejected because the ruling party argued that the majority of 65 members of the House constituted 34.
Why this academic never sought to focus on what was taking place from March to July 2020. In that period, the right to vote that the very Americans in the 1970s and 1980s took away from Guyanese through acceptance of election rigging was being attempted again.
Surely if this academic can express familiarity with what the Americans did to oust the Jagan government, then he has to know the relentless turbulence since that era that weakened Guyana, made this country into almost a failed state. The reason was directly related to election rigging from 1968. Walter Rodney confronted Premier Forbes Burnham in tempestuous ways that led to his assassination.
Rodney saw how a referendum was rigged to give Burnham hegemonic ownership of Guyana. Rodney did not live to fight against the 1980 bogus election; he was murdered in 1980. The election took place in December 1980. The new constitution and the illegal usurpation of power empowered Burnham to become executive president.
The year 1980 forms one of the most tragic years in post-independent Guyana, Rodney was assassinated. Peter D’Aguiar, the man who paved the way for Burnham’s dictatorship, died without being given an official funeral. An authoritarian constitution transformed Guyana into a quasi-monarchial regime. The rigged December election gave the PNC 78 percent of the votes with 42 seats. The PPP got 19 percent with 10 seats.
Here is a breakdown of the ethnic make-up in 1980 in percentage: Indians – 52, Africans – 31, Mixed – 11, Amerindian – 5, Portuguese – 0.4. If all the voters from the Mixed race, Amerindians, Portuguese and Africans voted for the PNC, it could not carry the PNC over the 50 percent mark. This meant that 31 percent of the Indian population voted for Forbes Burnham. It means that in 1980, Guyana did away with racial voting and Guyana back then had a sound multi-racial party in power.
The bogus 1980 election gave a two-third parliamentary majority to the PNC thus creating the super-power authority of Burnham. This is what rigged elections did to Guyana. In 2021, if the world had allowed an illegal government to be in power until the 2025 poll, we were going right back to 1980. How could any human rights activist, any civil society actor and trained social scientist write on oil and the events of the 1960s and say not a single word of the March 2020 election is beyond belief.
(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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