Kaieteur News – The recent PNC/R press conference had a ring of deja vue to it. It was a throwback to an era in which the party remained unrepentant and unapologetic for its actions.
Following the elections of 1997, there were protests launched by the PNC against the elections. Part of the protests involved the hurling of racial epithets against Janet Jagan and the beating and trampling of a white doll in public.
The protests, at times, descended into mayhem resulting in arson, racial attacks, the looting of stores, the destruction of motor vehicles and the robbing and mobbing of innocent civilians.
One such protest turned nasty on January 12th, 1998 following a decision by the High Court which went against the PNC. Groups broke away from the main protest outside of the High Court. They went on a rampage in the commercial district. The Esso Service Station at King and Regent Street was attacked. Employees of stores were set upon, beaten and dispossessed of their personal belongings.
President Janet Jagan’s vehicle was stoned when on its way to the ceremonial opening of the National Assembly on Thursday, 26th February, 1998. As was the case with other incidents, the PNC disclaimed that it was its supporters who were engaged in these violent incidents.
This became the standard excuse of the PNC whenever its protests turned violent. It claimed that its protests were infiltrated or invaded. It took no responsibility. Even after a poor bottle-seller was kidnapped and taken to PNC headquarters where he was grilled by no less than Desmond Hoyte, the PNC refused to accept responsibility. Even after media operative were dispossessed of their equipment and were roughed up while covering a press conference at the PNC’s headquarters at Sophia, the party was unapologetic.
The PNC has never accepted responsibility for its disgraceful, vulgar, criminal or violent conduct during protests. It was always someone else’s fault. As far as the PNC/R is concerned, it remains blameless.
Following the swearing-in of President Irfaan Ali in August of 2020, PNC leaders made inflammatory statements in West Coast Berbice. The PNC/R leadership however never accepted responsibility for what took place.
Nothing has changed with the PNC/R. There may have been a change in the leadership but nothing has changed when it comes to the PNC/R accepting responsibility for its actions. It is the same old rigmarole. Someone else has to be blamed for PNC/R misconduct.
On December 29th, 2021, the National Assembly debated two bills: the Local Content Bill and the Natural Resource Fund (Amendment) Bill. The APNU+AFC were part of the debate for the first Bill. It even submitted 14 amendments; the government side accepted 10 of these.
But the APNU+AFC opted to disrupt and obstruct the proceedings of the debate to the Natural Resource Fund (Amendment) Bill. A ruckus broke out involving mainly PNC/R persons. There was even an attempt to remove the Speaker’s Mace. It was an ugly, disorderly and unparliamentarily affair for which those involved have been publicly censured.
The Stabroek News in a front page comment described the actions of the parliamentary Opposition as a grotesque defiling of parliament. It urged action against the Members of Parliament who took part in such tomfoolery.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which had urged the delaying of the debate into the contentious Bill, described the disruptive actions of the parliamentary Opposition as recalcitrant and it said such actions have “no place in a modern society where civil discourse and debate ought to be the underpinnings of the dialectical process which obtains in Parliament.”
The Gold and Diamond Miners Association condemned the Opposition’s ‘unparliamentary’ behaviour. It saw it as a blatant and vulgar attempt to subvert democracy and said that Guyana cannot continue to be the Caribbean’s parliamentary laughing stock.
But the PNC/R remains immune to such criticisms. It has not changed in the last 24 years. Just as it did in 1997-1998, it continues to blame others for its own misconduct. And this time, it has, of all persons, blamed the Speaker.
Sometimes you do not know whether to laugh or cry! The more the PNC/R changes, the more it remains the same.
(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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