‘An erroneous interpretation’

Dear Editor,

I want to make one correction in response to Mr Desmond Trotman’s extended version of what caused the collapse of the Guyana Third Force, ‘The collapse of the Guyana Third Force was a consequence of intrigue; representatives were not prepared to place the interests of the people of this country first,’ (SN, May 6).

I am not going to rehash the histrionics of the Guyana Third Force or the big tent coalition, but focus instead on what I wrote, what Dr Joey Jagan erroneously interpreted and Mr Desmond Trotman’s troubling duplication of Dr Joey’s error.

In his letter, Mr Desmond Trotman cited me as one of several writers whose letters on the collapse of the ‘big tent’ coalition were published, noting in particular that I “attempted to link the Leader of the PNCR Robert Corbin with the formation of the GTF and its eventual collapse,” and further, that I “could not have been more wrong on Corbin’s alleged role in the collapse of the GTF. As Dr Jagan said, Corbin was not anywhere near the GTF at its formation or demise.”

Based on what he read from the writings of Dr Jagan, Mr Desmond Trotman appears to have taken not so overt swipes at me. If he had taken the time to read my original letter, rather than rely on Dr Jagan’s irrational response, he would have been better informed and avoided repeating the latter’s mistake.

I refer Mr Desmond Trotman to the April 2 edition of SN for my letter, ‘Will Mr. Corbin step down as party leader?’ In it I questioned the sincerity of Mr Corbin’s announced decision not to be his party’s presidential candidate in 2011, citing the fact that (and I am quoting here what I wrote), “Mr. Corbin said in the run-up to the 2006 election, when the PNC agreed to be part of a ‘big tent coalition’ being touted, that he had no problem standing down as the tent’s presidential candidate. Well, the tent collapsed, the PNC contested as a single entity and Mr Corbin continues to be the leader of his party and the main opposition leader.”

Then I draw his attention to Dr Joey Jagan’s actual response to what I wrote above so he can see the basis of his flawed charge that stems from Dr Jagan’s own in his April 8 letter to SN, ‘Mr Corbin could not have broken up a coalition that he was not a part of in the first place.’ Dr Jagan wrote these words: “He [Mervin] implied that the ‘big tent’ for 2006 was broken up by the PNC and Mr Corbin.”

Implied? Would Mr Desmond Trotman, on reading the two contrasting extracts above, still conclude that I said or even implied Mr Corbin and/or the PNCR helped form the GTF and/or caused it to collapse? I want him and other readers of his thinking to note that Dr Joey Jagan used the word ‘implied,’ as opposed to ‘said’ or ‘claimed,’ and the only logical conclusion to come to was that he used it to help make his baseless argument, since I neither said nor claimed that the PNC and Mr Corbin broke up the big tent coalition in 2006. Mr Trotman stands corrected and that’s all I have to say on that score.

Meanwhile, I feel greatly tempted to take up Mr Desmond Trotman on his apparent advocacy of shared governance, but while I will let my past written positions on this speak for me, I will conclude instead by referring to his revelation that “most members of the GTF wanted an arm’s length relationship with the PNCR, and at least one member organization demonstrated what can best be referred to as a rabid hatred of that party and its leader.”

Hmmm! That stands in stark contrast to Dr Jagan’s position that, to this day, favours a unity government that involves both the PPP and PNC, and also begs the question: Where did the PNCR get the notion that it might be welcome to join the big tent in 2006, thus leading Mr Corbin to say he was willing to step aside to facilitate another person being the big tent’s presidential candidate?

I hope Dr Jagan read Mr Trotman’s letter, for even though Mr Trotman appears supportive of Dr Jagan in one area, he also appears diametrically opposed to him in another. So, was the GTF’s members arm’s length posture and rabid hatred in any way responsible for the PNCR being shut out and the tent’s collapse? Dr Jagan had actually contended in one of his letters that the big tent collapse was caused by the AFC, and Mr Eric Phillips also said even he was accused by Dr Jagan of causing the tent’s collapse. By now we all should know this is purely an academic narrative with no possible changes or predictable benefits. If there is any consolation, however, shared governance advocates have at least 18 months in which to regroup and make another try at forming the next government.

Yours faithfully,
Emile Mervin

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