Mike Persaud has gotten a lot of heat from some Guyanese for hosting Mr David Granger in Richmond Hill, NY. Whatever the rationale behind such criticism, it is unfathomable to me. I recall in the 1980s when Dr Jagan was in the wilderness and had few friends, he came to speak at Howard University, in Washington, DC, where I was a lecturer and an active member of a non-partisan group, advocating free and free elections in Guyana. Dr Jagan, who was my guest for two days, was running late for a reception with some of his supporters because he remained after his presentation to address the concerns of a few hostile supporters of the PNC. I tugged at him and reminded him of his commitment to his supporters. He scolded: “No, I would rather stay here and talk with them.”
The lesson? Never mind your base; focus on your opposition instead. That is why Mr Granger graciously walked into Mike Persaud’s home, not knowing what awaited him. He is a seasoned politician and I give him high marks for that.
A lot has been said about the A word. It reminds me of that famous phrase in James Joyce’s” A Portrait of An Artist. . . “Pull out his eyes, Apologise. Apologise.” At the meeting with Mr Granger, I did not exactly use the term ‘apologize’ (and I certainly don’t need anyone’s eyes), but I did suggest that at least the party ought to concede that certain mistakes were made during its tenure. After all, what guarantees will voters have that we won’t be returning to the PNC’s modus operandi of the 1980s? It takes a big man to say mistakes were made. Where are the men in the PNC?
The following is an excerpt from my presentation before Mr. Granger:
“The legacy of the ghost of PNC lives through PNCR. I recall a story a friend of mine told me. A family bought a house that turns out to be haunted. They heard strange movements and a shrill, whispering voice goading them to be violent towards their neighbours. They tried to exorcise the spirit but could not because they themselves were not cleansed. So to be rid of the ghost, they sold the house, packed all their belongings in the U-Haul van and drove off to their new home to be free. While happily cruising along the highway, the maid said, “Gosh, I think we forgot to bring the broom.” Then they heard that shrill, whispering voice respond, seemingly out of nowhere, ‘Don’t worry; I got it.’ They stopped the van and froze, not knowing what to do.”
Mr Granger kept his poker face during my presentation. But he must know that the PNCR has to devise a way to wrest free of the ghosts of the PNC that stunt its growth. It takes more than a name change to eradicate the memories of misery that the PNC wrought on the Guyanese people—of all races.
I believe that Mr Granger needs to take this lesson back to his base. He should consider his opposition’s concern—unless he believes that he doesn’t need to widen his base. Additionally, the PNCR, as a major opposition party, has an obligation to set an example of grace and civility. It is all right to disagree but not to disrespect. To criticize every single act of the PPP and to attribute every problem in the nation to the PPP destroys the PNC’s credibility.
My friend, Gokarran Sukhdeo, tried to equate the PNCR with the PPP/C. (‘We are fooling no one…’ SN, June 9) He states, “Everything the PNC has done the PPP has done in multiplicity.” Really? I have an open mind when it comes to the mistakes of the PPP, but to compare the two parties? My father would have said that such comparison is like “chalk to cheese.”
At any rate, at this point of our history, we ought not to bring in a scale to say which party is worse, or even which group has committed more atrocities. (Beneath his breath Mr Granger murmured that atrocities were committed by both sides, although I doubt that he really he believes that.) We must decline to take that road of reliving each gory atrocity committed by any side. Can we now find a way to fix the mess we have become?
Mr Sukhdeo is rightly irritated by the garbage in Georgetown. I suggest he speaks with Hamilton Green (oh, good ole Hammy), who is a ghostly and ghastly reminder of repression. He exemplifies how we can decay as a nation when we are governed by race-based politics. The stench of Green’s Georgetown is a metaphor for the nation.
And I absolutely reject any suggestion, as another one of my friends espoused, that the solution to Guyana’s race problem is partition. Guyana won’t be the Guyana I love were we to be separated and torn asunder. We are one people and as I have said multiple times, we are stronger together. We are capable of growing up.
If I were to cast my ballot today it would not be for the PNC—or the AFC. They have not yet developed the maturity and wisdom to govern. The current parliamentary stage displays an array of puerile politicians running around like bullying schoolboys in a middle school playground. The interest of the nation seems secondary to personal vendetta and pettiness.
I fully support Mr Sukhdeo’s call for returning to the “morals and immutable values of our foreparents.” I recognize that times have changed, but we do not have to surrender our cherished values of civility. We need to place a value on each life and respect each life—including that of our stray animals that rummage the streets for bits and scraps.
Dolly Z Hassan