I must congratulate Mr Trotman on a well written letter but one designed to dodge issues and claim innocence of any political dimorphism on his part (‘The AFC did not join the “Third Force platform” and therefore could not be responsible for its collapse’ SN, April 10). The first issue he cleverly dodges is not commenting on the concept of a grand coalition or ‘big tent’ opposition in the 2006 elections, which Mr Mervin, brought up and which prompted my letter. So, first of all, especially with the recent comments Mr Ramjattan has made, the AFC and Mr Trotman are dead set against a big tent opposition as they were in 2006; and the result then will be the same in 2011, unless a big tent is achieved, that is, a PPP victory and another five years of the same old, same old. As I said in 2006 and will repeat again, without the PNC (or, if it was reversed and the PPP was in opposition) in a united opposition there is no way that this government can be removed. The AFC going with other small parties and against a big tent, as they did in 2006, will get them nowhere, and that is exactly what will happen. Editor, just as they’re against the big tent concept, they’re against the concept of shared coalition governance.
The nonsense which Mr Trotman is peddling about them not being involved in nurturing and getting involved in the third force in 2005, is convenient now after five years have passed. He conveniently forgets the time he came to have discussions at my house when I had a massive injury to my leg and it wasn’t about my leg which we talked; he conveniently forgets to mention that he was at many meetings of the third force where he spoke quite a bit and empathically about the prospects of third force unity in the 2006 elections; he conveniently forgets that in December 2005 when the photo of third force leaders was published, the AFC had already scuttled from the rest of us in that picture and were hard at work ‘buttering their own bread’; he conveniently forgets that when he mentions the question of him and Ramjattan retaining their seats in Parliament which was discussed in a third force forum, everyone besides them was against that position because the seats really belonged to the PNC and PPP respectively, so how could the third force have sitting members of the PPP and PNC in it; they disagreed; he conveniently mentions that I was the declared presidential candidate for Unity Party and that the AFC’s declaration “aggrieved” me when he knows quite well that there was never any announcement to the public that I was running for president, because he knows that there was a seven-year residence requirement in the constitution in order to run for president and I thus was not eligible – he’s trying to pin ambition on me when ambition underlined everything he did as no one else in the third force had declared for president either except for him after they launched the AFC; he conveniently refers to the fact that the AFC was never a part of the third force but he never mentions the plans he himself put forward for third force advancement and the role everyone would play; he conveniently forgets the proposal he himself put forward, early in the game, before the AFC’s launch, to have Hardy as presidential candidate and he (Trotman) as prime ministerial candidate for the third force; it was turned down.
So, Editor , we now come to the last part of Mr Trotman’s letter where he asks me to comment on Keith Scott and his part in the PNCR-1G effort and the reason why only Scott ended up there. My answer is to ask Mr Trotman the same thing, because he should know after spending a number of years in the top leadership of the PNC and then walking out while holding onto their seat in Parliament. All I know is that when I left the PPP in 1998, I immediately gave up my seat in Parliament and all the benefits which came with that position; it was the honourable thing to do. Maybe Keith Scott has a greater commitment to coalition politics than Mr Trotman, and he put his money where his mouth is after the AFC initiated the break-up of the coalition process we were working on. Mr Trotman’s closing remarks in which he warns me to “train my guns elsewhere” or I would be caused “injury and embarrassment” is sheer nonsense, and I remind Mr Trotman that I am not training any guns anywhere because the truth is what matters and I can never suffer injury and embarrassment the way the AFC and Mr Trotman will come the next general elections when the citizens will realize that they are splitters, not uniters, as the experience of third force politics taught me.
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)