Kaieteur News – When Rohee announced that he had published his autobiography, I had to read it for two reasons. We were contemporaries in politics and it is my work to understand his theories and explanations of Guyanese politics.
The book was 63 American dollars and my age and experience taught me to have a look at the book first before spending such a large sum which was quite expensive for a published memoir by any Guyanese.
When Rohee was the guest on the Gildarie-Freddie Kissoon Show, I did say to him I can afford 63 American dollars but I don’t want to spend that on an autobiography. I requested a copy from him but he said he couldn’t offer complimentary copies.
The memoir came into the country for me on Wednesday afternoon. I am typing this column at 3.30 PM on Thursday afternoon. It is a disappointing, frustrating read.
There are three dimensions to a politician’s life. 1 – His/her evolution and immersion in his/her party. This aspect of his/her life is about the entity that made him/her. 2 – His/her experience in government. This involved shaping his/her country and his/her time interacting with the world.
3 – World of politics. This is about how the politician saw and understood politics in general apart from his/her party life and his/her time in government. This dimension takes in his/her confrontations with his/her enemies, the trials and tribulations with those seeking to undermine him/her and the friends from all aspects of society that helped in his/her preservation.
Rohee’s memoir is about the first two dimensions and a complete avoidance of the journey into the third aspect of a politician’s world. In this respect, Rohee’s work leaves the reader irritated and generates not a school but an ocean of questions.
For Rohee’s evaluation of his life in general to be a satisfactory work, he has to do a sequel in which he must answer readers’ curiosities and believe me those queries are endless.
Missing from his memoir is an explanation as to why as the Minister of Foreign Trade, his American visa was suspended for six months. The world does not know the reason and it is obligatory of the author to give us his version. Readers would have had at least, an account of what transpired. Surely such material must be part of an autobiography.
Rohee tantalizes the readers in one particular way and this habit is a pattern throughout the volume. Here is what he does. He prints a headline with the name of a person or an event or an organisation. He pens some notes on the subject matter but they are brief without any analysis. So you ask yourself – What are his thoughts of the issue?
The examples are countless. He prints the name “Ralph Ramkarran”. He offers a few words as to why Ramkarran stepped down from the team that was to be implemented to succeed Cheddi Jagan. But there is absolutely no elaboration; none whatsoever.
All we know is that he tells us some leaders rejected Ramkarran’s explanation. There are no paragraphs on Ramkarran’s decline of the offer. There are no notes as to why some people rejected Ramkarran’s position.
This kind of pattern is all over the book. He headlined the words, “Civic Component (CC)”. He tells us some party leaders were not too enarmoured with the political efficacy of the CC but he stops there. He chose not to detail his feelings on the CC which he offered me one morning when I encountered him in the Pegasus parking lot while he was a minister.
On a most shockingly frustrating page (204) he informs us of a big crucial difference between the WPA and Cheddi Jagan. But he leaves it at that without his inputs. On page 206, we are told that the Cuban government put the PNC on the same level with the PPP. There are no comments from him on his attitude to this.
On page 218, he mentions meetings between the PNC and PPP to forge greater unity among themselves in 1985. He wrote that Burnham died and thus the talks died. There are no words about his thoughts on the fiasco.
In fact, Halim Majeed’s slender book, “Forbes Burnham: National Reconciliation and National Unity, 1984-1985 is a more useful forum to consult for this period in Guyanese history.
What is difficult to understand about Rohee’s disinclination to be copious in his autobiography is that he was one of the top leaders of the PPP and would have been part of the great moments and great decisions of the PPP in its 28 years of being in the political wilderness and 23 years in power. Sorry Clement! You have to come again!
(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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