Comparing chalk to cheese

Dear Editor,

Mayor Hamilton Green in a letter in your edition of Monday, March 2 (‘Lionel Luckhoo never represented the PNC at an Independence conference’), said that comparing Boysie Ramkarran with Burnham was like comparing chalk to cheese. I set out below the horrors that Burnham wrought on Guyana, as described by VS Naipaul, the Nobel Laureate in Literature on whom Mr Oscar Clarke, the General Secretary of the PNCR, relied to prove that Burnham was a great orator:

“Every important industry − bauxite, rice − was taken over by the PNC-controlled government; and the government gave jobs, or created jobs, for its supporters. So the communist-style tyranny of the state was also a racial tyranny; and the corruption, petty and big, had a further racial twist. Everything became rotten in this state; everything began to lose money… Imports were regulated, many items banned… Guyanese began to leave, legally and illegally… (A Handful of Dust: Return to Guyana, 1991).

It was Burnham who created this situation and Hamilton Green who was his loyal lieutenant. It was Ramkarran who was one of the leaders in the fight against Burnham from 1957 until the latter’s death in 1985. So Mr Green is correct − comparing Ramkarran, a stalwart in the struggle for freedom and democracy, and Burnham, who destroyed them, is indeed like comparing chalk to cheese.

Yours faithfully,
Albert Marchand

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