PPP/C General Secretary Clement Rohee, recently took umbrage at what he said was a tendency of members of the opposition to invoke the name of Dr Cheddi Jagan. This position may be puzzling at first, but can be understood when we accept that the PPP/C exists in fear of exposure. They are terrified that Guyanese will penetrate the working-class façade and reveal the elitist, oligarchic heart of today’s PPP/C.
The PPP/C like to tell us that Dr Jagan was a visionary, a patriot, a champion of the working class, the father of the nation. So, how can they now turn around and object when opposition personalities say exactly the same thing? Are we to understand that the PPP/C have a monopoly on Dr Jagan’s name? What happened to their claim that he is the father of the nation; does the nation not include supporters of the opposition?
The fact is, Dr Jagan was indeed a visionary; he saw the potential for a unified Guyana. Way back in 1960, Dr Jagan said: “I give my solemn pledge that my Government will never discriminate against any person or persons on the ground of race, religion or political creed, that the essential freedoms will be preserved and we will respect the rights of all.”
Today, the political party which he founded has totally abandoned his vision; today, discrimination is the norm. Opposition supporters know better than to waste time applying for state jobs, they will of course, be rejected. As for essential freedoms, we know that columnists, journalists, even letter writers have to watch out for attacks, lawyers’ letters and lawsuits.
Dr Jagan represented the working class, not the elite. He never owned a mansion or gave himself an obscene pension. In 1992, he said: “I am the son of sugar workers who hasn’t forgotten his roots. Many politicians have forgotten where they came from but Jagan will never forget…”
Editor, contrast Dr Jagan’s words with the actions of today’s PPP/C officials. The sugar industry has been mismanaged into terminal decline. No action has been taken to increase efficiency and calls for diversification have been ignored. Instead, today’s leaders have wasted money on expensive, projects such as the Skeldon factory and Enmore packaging plant, that have benefited only wealthy contractors and those they support. Dr Jagan, the son of sugar workers, would never have allowed those things to happen.
Editor, it is obvious why General Secretary Rohee may be afraid. The PPP/C that he now leads is a perversion of Dr Jagan’s party. This crop of leaders have none of Dr Jagan’s ideals, values or patriotic vision; they care only for their bank accounts.
Mr Rohee needs to be told: Dr Jagan was not corrupt; he did not take bribes, many in senior positions today may not meet that minimum standard. The present-day PPP/C do not speak for workers, therefore, that party’s officials are the ones who have relinquished the right to invoke Dr Jagan’s name.
If the working and poor people of Guyana decide that the opposition parties have now adopted their cause, then so be it. The opposition will be expected to uphold Dr Jagan’s standard and realise his dream of unifying Guyana for the benefit of Guyanese workers.