Feb 12, 2024 Letters
Dr Fenton Ramsahoye was Attorney General for the PPP administration just before independence. After the 1968 rigging, he did not see PPP returning to government unless it changed ideology and advised Dr Jagan ‘to reconcile’ with USA as a guarantor to free and fair elections. In the Cold War, America was not prepared to allow a socialist Jagan to assume power. Jagan did not return to government till 1992 after the global collapse of communism.
Dr Clem Seecharan pens a fascinating book on Jagan and the Cold War. It takes courage to write a critical analysis of the politics of Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham. Their loyalists would come after the writer with the most scathing attacks as indeed happened for every piece penned on both nationalist leaders, hero of Indians and Africans respectively. Fear of being character attacked did not deter Prof Clem Seecharan to write a factually account (a book) focusing on Dr. Jagan and the Cold War. It is a very good read.
The Cold War (1947-91) was a contest between the USA with the West against the Soviet Union with the Eastern bloc or between capitalist West and communist East. The two sides never attacked each other in a real war. Both sides competed to spread their influence, resulting in several hot wars in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The people in each country, where the real war was actually fought as in Guyana, paid the price for the contest between the Soviet Union and America. Guyana was affected by the near forty-five years of the contest. Communism eventually collapsed in 1990, and one can, therefore, say that capitalism has triumphed over that failed ideology. But Guyana paid a telling price to its freedom and economy (and migration of her people) as a result of Dr Jagan’s insistence on installing a democratically elected communist government which was not possible. The Americans would have none of it. Communism and left-wing politics or radicalism were considered a threat to the American homeland. Radical governments or leaders, Jagan included, in the West and in the Americas in particular were isolated or destabilized or toppled from office. Examples abound! No need to repeat them!
In his newly released book (2023), Dr Seecharan provided a rigorous analysis of the impact of the cold war in Guyana and Cheddi’s role in it. The cold war was brought to our shore by Cheddi, as the British claimed. The British and Americans tried to reform Jagan, to moderate his ideology and move him away from Communism. They failed! In the interests of Jagan’s supporters, Indian businessmen also appealed to him to moderate his ideology and move away from communism. Jagan rebuffed them as he rebuffed Yesu Persaud, Fenton Ramsahoye, Baytoram Ramharack, Ravi Dev, I, and so many others.
In my many encounters with Dr Fenton in Barbados, Guyana, New York, Trinidad, Antigua, and St. Lucia, he related accounts on Jagan. He told how he tried to get Cheddi to moderate his left-wing anti-American politics and communist ideology. After Burnham rigged the 1968 general elections, Fenton said he told Cheddi that Guyana would not have free and fair elections again and that the country would become a full-fledged dictatorship. He recognized that the PPP was doomed to opposition and insignificance unless the party changed its ideology to win over the Americans. He advised Cheddi accordingly! He stated that Dr Jagan told him that the party would not moderate its ideology and that he can leave the party if he was not pleased with its communist ideology. Fenton left the country after the 1973 rigging to launch and head a law school at UWI, St. Augustine. Later, he was knighted as Sir in recommendation of Antigua. Sir Fenton would turn out to be right. Guyana became a dictatorship right after independence. All elections under Burnham and Hoyte were rigged. Had Cheddi heeded the advice of so many of us who implored him to drop the communist ideology, Guyana would not have experienced the civil (race) war of the 1960s, delay in independence, and the rise of the authoritarian state.
Although we did not embrace his communism, Jagan was a hero to us, a fatherly figure and moreso for me having come from a few streets where he grew up and with he and my father being friendly and his father and my aja being close friends. The globe had rarely seen a politician who was so incorruptibly honest and who fought for justice and equality for all. But being our hero does not mean he was above critique. We learn from his errors through an honest assessment of his politics and what to do to guarantee free and fair elections. Dr. Jagan’s dabbling in cold war politics is primarily responsible for many problems Guyanese experienced from the 1950s onwards.
Everything that comes out of Jagdeo’s mouth is aimed at confusing this nation.
Feb 28, 2024– Surinamese pugilists to ignite two-night event Kaieteur News – The Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) Developmental Championship will commence this evening at the National Gymnasium,...
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – When the Foreign Ministers of the world’s wealthiest nations gathered in Brazil... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.