We are fooling no one with patchwork apologies and bogus reformation

Dear Editor,

With respect to the Mr David Granger’s visit to Mike Persaud’s home in Queens, New York, last week, there have been some letters in the Stabroek News as well as some interesting related blogging, and a number of persons have requested the script of my short presentation, slightly edited, which I hereby submit: [Ed note: A few small sections have also been edited by SN, as can be seen from the ellipses and square brackets.]

“Honourable Leader of the Opposition, members of his entourage, friends all, I was asked by my friend Mike Persaud, whom I have known since I was nineteen, when both of us taught on the West Coast Demerara and rode our motorcycles after school to attend evening classes at UG at its then virginally immaculate campus at Turkeyen.

“Mike asked if I could argue the case for a PNC apology for its years of rigging elections.

The truth is I do not believe in political apologies. I believe in being correct, not politically correct, just as I believe there can be no remission of sin without repentance – a complete turnaround, a reformation, so to speak. To me, an apology without restitution serves no useful purpose, just as an apology for slavery is meaningless without reparation.

“Furthermore, I do believe the PNC no more owes the Guyanese people an apology than does the PPP. If the PNC is guilty of rigging, the PPP is equally guilty of racially manipulating the Indo-Guyanese into voting for them. If the PNC is guilty of abusing state resources for party purposes and winning elections, so is the PPP. If the PNC is guilty of [misusing] the military and paramilitary forces and the police, [and using] Rabbi Washington [against] its enemies, isn’t the PPP also guilty of misusing the police and the army, and [accepting help from] Roger Khan? If the PNC is guilty of killing Walter Rodney, isn’t the PPP equally guilty of strategically abandoning him to the mercy of Burnham in order to pick up the spoils? If the PNC and Burnham are guilty of widespread corruption, I believe the PPP has made them look like a schoolboy in this area. Everything the PNC has done the PPP has done in multiplicity.

“But the actual objective behind this apology business is not so much an attempt to break the stalemate of ethnic voting in Guyana, but more so to attract Indo-Guyanese to the PNC. The two are not the same. One addresses the entire population while the other, only Indo-Guyanese. Besides, I ask, would an apology really bring more Indo-Guyanese into the fold of the PNC? I don’t think so. Indo-Guyanese would gloat, not vote.

“My position on breaking the pattern of racial voting in Guyana is that we require a more holistic approach.

“We must first understand that our political superstructure is not only built on the economic, moral and cultural foundation of society, but that there is also a symbiotic relationship between the two. Let me explain.

“Let’s take a real look at Guyana and related leadership behaviours. Daily there are complaints of garbage in Georgetown and all over the country. The filth we live in directly influences the behaviour of politicians and population alike. Look at our presidents. Two of them have so vulgarly but proudly and publicly demonstrated the backball. Isn’t this demeaning and symbolic of what they do to the population? Frequently we hear of drunken ministers driving dangerously, abusing spouses, becoming [wealthy]… Spousal homicides, child rapes, suicides, drug smuggling, police bribery and brutality have become regular occurrences in our cultural landscape. Even our religious leaders, secluded in their respective utopias, and clouded by increasing accusations of inappropriate behaviours, insensitively make joyful noises at decibel levels that truly convince one that their gods are as deaf or dead as they. Police, civil servants and the entire population follow suit or as we say, “monkey see, monkey do.” Our population is bent on copying every vice of America and those of our local leaders. But where it comes to public nuisances such as noise and garbage, we have outdone them.

“This is the environment which spawned our political parties, and which in turn influence public behaviour. Our youthful population is begging for leadership and guidance.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the PPP boasts a civic component. Frankly, I see no civic-mindedness in any of the two spouses. They have even flaunted their hypocrisy by drafting their most [dishonourable]… one into their executive leadership. The PNC calls itself reformed, but re-anoints a former Burnhamite, who tenaciously clings to the politics of the sixties. The AFC is all about change, but is sadly comprised of mostly men with axes and machetes to grind, not to mention, they too have their Jagdeo and Green… in the person of Nigel Hughes.

“Like our constitution, our parties are a hodge-podge of patchworks that resemble my bicycle tube when I was a boy, with countless patches, and patch upon patch.

“What I want to see is a true reformation, not just of our political parties, but of the whole society, returning to the morals and immutable values of our foreparents. Basically, it calls for the re-emergence of true statesmen who would go to jail or put their life at risk for the good of Guyana, not just their party. Our youthful population is crying out for such leadership. About this social and political reformation, I could later amplify. But for now we are fooling no one with patchwork apologies and bogus reformation.

“I think the PNC stands at a historic moment and great advantage to truly reform and take control of Guyana. It takes a big mind to achieve big things, and truly honest men to make an honest party. The PPP will not change. History has taught us that corrupt parties in power, do not change; they have to be removed. If the PNC can truly reform, hey, I will definitely join them!”

Yours faithfully,
Gokarran Sukhdeo

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