The right to change one’s mind –and party

Public Service, Personalised Farewells

I suppose that, sub-consciously, it is one of my pastimes: paying attention to the criticisms by individuals and groups against their former colleagues and organisations.

In the context of my penchant for the folkloric oral tradition, I always employ the proverb “when yuh own louse bite yuh, it bite yuh hot!”.  The suggestion is that a louse would be familiar with the areas ripe and suitable for “biting; the personal “louse” knows the strategies, the secrets, the weaknesses of  his former hosts and/or comrades.

Former political colleagues who “fall out” with their one-time buddies and parties are normally accused of being opportunistic, of even treachery.  Why did they not criticize and reveal all, when they were chummy with original friends?  Is their new-found bitterness and accusations the motivation for their aggression?

But human nature, especially, of the political variety, dictates that those within an organisation and benefiting from it; sworn to its objectives, operations and leadership, must demonstrate loyalty, support during the period of employ and love.  Those then-members could not be expected to betray secrets and affiliations.  Certain values, virtues and principles don’t always reside in such persons when allegiance might promise much.  Whether that loyalty emanated from solid belief or opportunism.

Therefore we should allow former “die-hards” their right to criticize, from a one-time insider-level.  As the caption indicates, individuals do have a right to change their positions – based on changing circumstances, policies or, even, personalities.  Funny, my immaturity frequently makes me think twice about change-over politicians, however.)

Ringing the changes

Political old-timers would recall the numerous cross-the-(Parliamentary) – floor, the defections from the bosom of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to the People’s National Congress.  Trade Unionists, professionals, rank-and-file members abandoned Cheddi for Forbes.  After all, Forbes?

PNC allowed no other space or intrusion for nearly thirty years.  You wouldn’t expect traffic from PNC to anywhere else.  Risky!  Those who left the PNC in those days would also leave the country! Safety!

So it would mostly be PPP to PNC  – The Chandisinghs, the Majeeds, the Manns, the Teekahs, Lalls, etc etc.  To young me then, conviction would be mixed with opportunism and sweetened with tactical rewards. Burnham was a Past Master!

Of course, I expect some of you would be fast-forwarding to 2011 recalling recent defections and cross-overs before the November elections – the Hamiltons, Haynes, Ramsaroops, Bynoes, et al who merely did a Jeffrey and a Lumumba.  In considering cross-overs, one must also mull what benefits can accrue to those in power. Dare I say also, benefits to us, the powerless?  But let me conclude by referring to the phenomenon whereby politics sometimes allows the more professional to provide public service, notwithstanding, earlier professional responsibilities, if not loyalties.

Always there to serve?

No true professional dedicated to serving at the highest level should be tainted “turncoat” or political.
Even if they are, Why?  Because, amongst professionals, Senior Officers of the Disciplined Services, for example, are/were supposed to be “loyal to the government of the day”.  They swore to serve “the people”, but through the governing authority.  If not, resignation is always their option.

So, in this little-bitty town short of expertise, I have lived to see former military professionals (especially) who made Mrs. Jagan “weep” on Election Night, now serving in welcome capacities.  I have seen a professional Media Expert whom (again)  Comrade Janet disliked, work closely with Comrades Bharrat and Samuel.  Professionalism over Politics, right?

Discuss even as you listen to former comrades in the Assembly next week.

My Anecdotal Farewells…

The almost simultaneous passing of Dry Dale Bisnauth and Pandit Reepu Daman Persaud must attract my own type of farewell.
Scores have heaped justifiable and earned encomiums upon the two PPP-oriented gentlemen. I merely recall encounters with the two comrades.  Or things I heard from them personally, or in close proximity.

Pandit Reep:  For years I swore he was the heir-apparent to Cheddi Jagan.  In the trenches, in the political wilderness, in the Assembly, it was Cheddi, then the Pandit. He once spent 90 minutes explaining the Puja rituals to me for a supplementary Reader I was researching.  Then in 1992 I heard him tease Dr Reid on Nomination Day:  “In October, gun be licks like peas!”. It was.

Dr Bisnauth:   I read him avidly, whilst being “PNC”, when he wrote theology and other pieces in the then popular Caribbean Contact.  I saw him being mis-interpreted over Mashramani.  I’m using his analysis of the Enmore Sugar Massacre.  I read his pieces about trying to convert Cheddi J during mornings in Georgetown’s National Park and a signal statement he wrote in the Mirror “Not everyone who calls me `coolie’ is a racist!”

Two fine minds that served the PPP and Guyana are now at well-deserved rest.


*1)  The policeman who whipped the Marudi protesters is charged.  Those  who used live bullets to take lives in Linden are …?

*2)  Some nine months  after the July 2012 agreements, the Government and Linden’s leaders are close to agreeing on committee heads. Progress, Confidence and Achievement!!?

*3)  The NCN is advertising for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Though I appreciate the efforts of Mr. Gordon, I’ll force Enrico Woolford to apply.

*4)  Name one Opposition MP who will support the Government’s Budget next week.

*5)  Name two newspapers which Dev writes for . Is he fond of the word `wanker’.

“Til next week!


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