Dr Tarron Khemraj, unlike the many faceless bloggers who hide behind pseudonyms because they do not have the courage of conviction to declare their identity, is man enough to show his name and picture against his comments on my recent letter `How credible is Dr Rose now as a messenger’ in the Stabroek News of October 26, 2013. I believe Dr Khemraj’s heart is in the right place in wanting to see a better Guyana but, in my view, he is misguided and misinformed.
Firstly, I will address his second comment in which he states “What I find interesting about this letter is not even a fierce critic like Hergash is willing to question the leadership acumen of Brig. David Granger”. Dr Khemraj seems to be confusing leadership skills and experience gained in the army with political acumen. Leadership in the army is based on command and control where the organizational structure gives an individual his/her authority and yes, Mr Granger has demonstrated his leadership talents in this environment. However, to date, I have not seen any demonstration of political acumen, i.e. the ability to make good judgements and take quick decisions in the political arena, prerequisites for earning him the Presidency of Guyana. In fact, both Dr David Hinds and Mr Annan Boodram have given failing grades.
As someone living in the United States (US), Tarron Khemraj ought to know that military leadership does not automatically translate into political acumen. There are numerous men with leadership skills and experience in the military who failed to make it as a presidential candidate, much less president of the US.
Regarding his first comment “Guyana needs about 25% of the voters to be swing voters or to use your term grasshoppers. Once the grasshopping takes place democracy will work, there will be less resentment, and democratic turnover. Look at Trinidad and Tobago”. Now “grasshoppers” is not a term I used in my letter so I will not accept Dr. Khemraj’s misplaced credit for that. I agree that Guyana needs the swing voters; the problem is how to get those voters to swing to Mr. Granger’s party. Guyana is not Trinidad and Tobago as the histories of post election turbulence in the two countries over the past fifty years are completely different, so Trinidad and Tobago is a poor comparison. As they say in North America where Dr. Khemraj resides, “you can’t compare apples and oranges”.
In a letter in the Stabroek News of October 10, Dr. Khemraj writes “It is irrational to vote today based on things that were done more than 21 years ago”. He then continues “I have decided to be associated with the forward-looking Pro-Guyana Think Movement, which Brigadier General (rtd) David Granger endorses. Many of us are busy working overtime to come up with a blueprint – policy proposals – for achieving the theme ‘Unity and Human Development’ (UHD). Brig General Granger is very passionate about the theme of UHD”. These are laudable sentiments from a professor who lives in a foreign land. Now let us look at the perspective of the Indian-Guyanese who live in Guyana and who are expected to be the swing voters that Dr. Khemraj is banking on.
The Sun Chapman disaster occurred in 1964 and no official enquiry, either by the PPP then with months remaining in office or the PNC with twenty-eight years in office, was ever held to determine culpability. Yet, Mr. Granger did not forget the Sun Chapman and in July of this year, some forty-nine years later, he announced the erection of a memorial in Linden to those who perished. I recall Mr. Kwayana and Dr. Hinds writing letters condemning the murder of the many poor and unprotected Indian-Guyanese in Lusignan, Annandale, Enterprise and Melanie after the jail break of 2002 but I cannot recall anything from Mr. Granger. Is there a monument to, or one planned, for these victims? And what about innocent little Christine Sukra, just nine years old, who was gunned down in her sleep? Will the potential swing voters be allowed to forget this apparent double standard?
So, Dr. Khemraj, Mr. Granger will have to do far more than being “very passionate about the theme of UHD” if he is to win over those potential swing voters. As of now I say “time will tell”.