Was in no way responsible for Khemraj et al leaving AFC for APNU

Dear Editor,

After many inquiries regarding a report in Demerara Waves of September 18 titled, ‘AFC members defect to APNU,’which stated, “Former soldier Malcolm Harripaul, who had long switched allegiance to the APNU, has been formally added to the list of defectors,” I write to clarify my position. I was in no way responsible for Messrs Rose, Khemraj, and Mukraj leaving  the AFC for APNU. I met with Dr Khemraj a few months ago and he never indicated that he would leave AFC. Dr Rose actually surprised me with their decision a few weeks ago.

I was never a member nor a supporter of the AFC so I cannot be listed as a defector. I do have many friends in the AFC but at its inception in 2006 I thought the promotion of Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman as the symbol of Jagan and Burnham racial unity was a tragic joke, as it was those leaders who had destroyed race relations in the early 1960s and their legacy of racial bitterness was the cause of Guyana’s decay.

The AFC rather than deal with the ethnic security dilemma, chose the path of the PPP and PNC in pretending it was a multi-racial party.

It is mind boggling that after the upheavals of the 1960s after Dr Jagan’s entry into the Cold War, the beatings of Indians in the latter 1990s, the narco-politically orchestrated crime wave of the early 2000s, our political leaders still don’t want to acknowledge and deal with the ethnic security dilemma. That Africans and Indians would not accept each other and would resent being ruled by the other was foreseen as early as 1938 by the British Guiana East Indian Association.

That was why Dr Jung Bahadur Singh had in the late 1940s cautioned Dr Jagan about rushing into Independence without the Indians first winning the political acceptance of Africans. Dr Singh and the BGEIA advised that it was crucially necessary to first win acceptance by the Africans and work out a constitution that was mutually agreed upon before Independence. Unfortunately Dr Jagan was hell bent on communism at all costs and Burnham was equally fixated on Africans inheriting Guyana from the British.

Burnham’s ambitions were facilitated by Jagan siding with the Soviet Union in the Cold War and the response of the USA. Guyana became a victim of the Cold War. However in both the PNC and PPP narratives to their supporters the roles of the CIA and Cubans are omitted and instead we are told that it was Africans and Indians fighting. By doing so both the PPP and the PNC have obfuscated their roles in the mayhem of the ’60s, and have caused us to view each other as antagonists rather than victims of the Cold War.

In the 50-plus years of PNC and PPP rule there was no effort at healing Guyana. The PNC in its 28 years’ reign established an African-dominated state and the PPP in the last 22 years have established an Indian-controlled state. Indians have voted in the last 4 elections to keep the PNC and Africans out of power. This is where we are in 2013. The problem facing the current leader of the PNC and APNU is how to win some Indian votes in order to win the 2016 elections.

Brigadier Granger can win over Indian voters if he should start the healing process in 2013 and the first step is that of a political apology to all Guyanese for the PNC’s role in the 1960s.
There are some who fear a backlash from the Burnhamites but the Burnhamites have lost 4 elections in a row and they will lose in 2016 if they have their way, so why bother with them. They cheered when Burnham woke up one day and declared the PNC a socialist party and they cheered even louder when he banned wheat flour. So please let’s get them to cheer for a political apology situated in the context that we were all victims of the Cold War.

Yours faithfully,
Malcolm Haripaul

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