Contrary to Mr. Ralph Ramkarran’s view there has been no misreading of his article (`The PNC, APNU and National Unity’ – SN 13/10/2013), moving the goal post or uprooting and running off the field with it. In fact Mr. Ramkarran is confirming I haven’t with his statement that he wanted Brigadier Granger to rely on “… the 2001 conversion of Desmond Hoyte to shared governance as platforms to promote and build on its national unity credentials rather than on statements by Forbes Burnham which he could not have meant since to maintain Western support he had to keep the PPP out of office” (`Hoyte was not interested in a national unity arrangement with the PPP’ – SN 20/10/13). If, according to Mr. Ramkarran the PPP was kept out of office due to Western influence and also had to contend with Mr. Burnham’s insincerity for a National Front Government (executive power sharing/shared governance), then by the same reasoning, and given the assumption that Dr. Jagan was sincere, it would be interesting to know the force(s) that prevented him from pursuing same during his presidency (1992-1997). Could it be a pact with the Western or Eastern power for the PPP to be in office; Dr. Jagan no longer desired a National Front Government (NFG)? What was it? But thereto adding Mr. Hoyte as the hindrance to same in the post-1985 era no longer makes serious the claim of Dr. Jagan’s commitment, given his determined spirit and persuasive capability. Why must Mr. Hoyte be blamed for Dr. Jagan’s apparent failure? As president, Dr. Jagan had a bigger megaphone to pursue his claimed belief, and the support of allies when he was in opposition. And an insight into Dr. Jagan’s politics would reveal there was no stopping him when he felt conviction.
In the instant letter Mr. Ramkarran says “the WPA declined the offer of the PPP for a governance arrangement.” This statement does not make clear if such offer constituted the parameters of a NFG and clarification is needed.
And this brings us back to accurate content and context in recounting history because Mr. Ramkarran’s encouragement and anecdotes to Mr. David Granger in pursuing his focus on national unity will only have merit if properly situated. Both Messrs Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham operated in the Cold War era and were influenced by the politics/ideologies of the Eastern and Western blocs. And both sought support from same, and at various periods relied more on the other in pursuit of their interests.
Though it continues to be told that the PPP was denied office because of Western influence and its supporters and Guyana denied ‘democracy,’ it cannot simultaneously be ignored that Dr. Jagan’s local politics was significantly influenced by Eastern ideology and he continued to give support to and receive support and economic aid from this region even though those governments were known for their one-party politics, suppression and human rights violations, rigged elections and absence of ‘democracy’. It cannot be recalled, if ever, Dr. Jagan and the PPP supported the people in those countries who fought these practices. Such arguments also ignore similar practices of “suppression and human rights violations” during Dr. Jagan’s premiership and presidency.
Thus, in aspiring or making a claim to accurate content and context those who engage in comparative analyses of Dr. Jagan’s nobility and, Messrs. Burnham’s and Hoyte’s rascality will also have to provide explanations how in the given scenarios one is good and the other is bad.