I cannot help casting my mind back to the air of expectancy on the one hand and the cloud of doom and despair on the other which blew over Guyana in October 1992 with the ascension of the PPP to power after 28 years. Sometime soon after I remember a somewhat heated discussion we as university students had with former President Jimmy Carter and something he said; it was that it was their intention to create a model state of Guyana. I remember too the first cries of Cheddi Jagan about the ethnic imbalance in the composition of the workforce in the public service. I remember prior to all of this the PPP’s vehement opposition to the constitution. On April 1 I saw on NCN a rebroadcast of Attorney General Anil Nandlall speaking on a range of issues relevant to politics in Guyana today. I did not want to think that N.C.N was playing the All Fools Day trick on either the nation or on the Attorney General, however, I wonder if this is the model state of democracy which President Carter spoke of?
President Carter’s democratic model state now denies the majority their voice through Presidential non-assent to the opposition’s bills, and the Attorney General seems to have forgotten Roger Khan and Ronald Gajraj in so short a space of time. In this model state radio and television licences are distributed in a ratio with Indians getting 8 to every 1.3 issued to Afrikans and .07 to Portuguese. Amerindians don’t appear on the bandwidth. Whilst Indians are getting approximately 6 broadcasting licences to every 1 given to Afrikans the denial rate to Afrikans is 50 %, that is, for every licence denied to all other ethnicities one is denied to an Afrikan. So much for the distribution of state patronage according ethnic proportionality. The Jagdeo versus Freddie court case reveals much the same pattern in the distribution of land and all other areas of resource allocation under the state’s hand.
The AG was speaking to the PPP’s followers. That a party would want to keep its constituency at so elementary a level of consciousness is not healthy for national development. That it exclusively forms the nation’s executive and does not have the majority of the nation with it in its ramblings is oppressive at least and political backward at most. True patriots ultimately do not mind who rules their country once that rule is in the interest of the nation. The AG’s piety on All Fools Day whether born out of innocence or ignorance was almost comical. Guyana deserves better. The PPP’s role in contributing to the struggle for Independence and consequently Republicanism is being compromised by the current forms of oppressive rule. I would prefer to see the PPP sever itself from the ignoble path and proceed on a more enlightened path not only for the nation’s sake but for its own legacy and the elevation of the minds of those who look to it for leadership and interpretations of the world around them.