Openness is apparently only for ‘the other side’
It is generally believed that the presidency of Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo constituted one of the most autocratic periods in the post-independence political history of Guyana in spite of the fact that he did not have control of both the government and the PPP the way Cheddi and Janet Jagan did. Throughout his term, Mr. Jagdeo faced substantial opposition within the ranks of the PPP. This became most public in the form of the positions taken by Messrs. Moses Nagamootoo and Navin Chandarpal. Nevertheless, given the nature of our constitution and especially his control of state resources/patronage, President Jagdeo was able to run roughshod over the PPP. Today, some of the very people who were most vociferous in their condemnation of Mr. Jagdeo’s reach and power are now contemplating uniting government and party leadership in the PNC! Is it any wonder that many believe that all the talk about the need for openness and democracy we hear from our politicians is essentially opportunistic and meant only to apply to the other side?
The PPP and the PNC more or less belonged to their founder leaders who were, for the most part, intellectually secured and sophisticated. They recognised the need for discourse and debate if they were to maintain the respect and loyalty of their colleagues, even if at the end of the day they generally got their way.
I was, for example, once involved in writing an ideological document for the PNC, and one Sunday morning President Forbes Burnham called a meeting of the party/government hierarchy at the Ogle management centre to discuss the completed draft product. The discussion went well, as changes were made to the document, but by …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.