Kaieteur News – What more appropriate time to reflect on my life than on the anniversary of the attempt to rig the March 2020 general election. It was a turning point in my life. The event has provided me with an opportunity to assess my long years in politics.
One of the nuances of life I have been grappling with is the question of how does one shape and evaluate one’s moral values in a complex world where some choices are hard to live with but you accept them and exist with them knowing that you have accepted actions and motives that are questionable.
Can one cope with the conscious perception that some of the values you carry with you can be opened to serious questioning? I think that throughout my decades of activism, I have done things to redeem myself. The description of my faults and acts of redemption contained in this column will be in my memoir if I ever get around to writing it.
I entered politics as a polling agent for the PPP in the 1968 general election at St Thomas Moore Primary School on D’Urban Street, Wortmanville, next to my house. From there I went on to work at the Michael Forde Bookshop of the PPP.
From those days right up to 2022, I have been associated with people some of whom were absolutely no good and will never be good. But I wanted to change Guyana and the world so I accepted that the world is not pure and simple and you have to endure and wait until you could assert yourself.
Three of us moved on from the PPP. As a teenager you were young and idealistic and you expected people to embrace the very things they preach. I met someone in the PPP that I admired and loved – EMG Wilson nicknamed “Cocoa”.
We followed “Cocoa” into the East-German-Guyana Friendship Society where I met Boyo Ramsaroop, the father of the former famous AFC activist, Gerhard Ramsaroop. It was the same there. You met people who did not practice what they preached, except “Cocoa.”
My 70s were filled with WPA activities and I saw most graphically the failings and flaws of people who wanted freedom, justice and liberation for Guyana but didn’t have the moral qualities to bring them about. But I stuck with the WPA because the bigger picture was the removal of Burnham and the PNC.
This is what perplexes me. Why does one remain a comrade of those who you know are of little difference with the leaders they want to remove? After the WPA, the next stop was the AFC. My life continued with the same pattern. But I found redemption in portraying who I was and will always be. I spoke my mind in both the WPA and AFC, kept away from any close association with the flawed middle class leaders, and immersed myself in the world of the working class members of the WPA and AFC.
In the WPA, I was close to only one leader –Moses Bhagwan. In the AFC, it was Khemraj Ramjattan. It still drives angst in me to see how horrible their politics have degenerated. My wife can tell you, our home was always filled with the third level leaders of the WPA. She came to know Osaze, Mobutu, Ogunseye and Ali Majeed very well because I was close to them.
In the AFC, she came to know Michael Carrington because he was a frequent visitor to our home. Here is an example of my redemption. During the 2015 election campaign, the AFC printed and pasted on the wall, a list of names only permitted to enter the second level of the head office.
By that time, I was a larger name in politics than most AFC leaders and a bigger catch at campaign meeting but I never allowed that to go to my head. I never went upstairs and never requested my name be put on the list as others did. I was satisfied to make my contribution from the lower flat of the building.
I wanted changes to come in my country for the better. The AFC was an avenue, like the WPA was in the 1970s. Never for a moment did I lock out of my mind since my teenager days that I was in the midst of people who were no different from the leaders they wanted to remove. Up to this day, it leaves a taste of emptiness and lost dreams. I leave you with some words from the Anne Murray hit song, “Snowbird”
“When I was young my heart was young then, too
Anything that it would tell me, that’s the thing that I would do
But now I feel such emptiness within
For the thing that I want most in life’s the thing that I can’t win”
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Guyanese you are being prostituted by your politicians!
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