Dr. Henry Jeffrey in his regular Stabroek News column, ‘Future Notes’ chose to respond to my letter in which I made the point that there is a qualitative difference between the PPP and the PNC especially as it pertained to the fundamental issues of governance and political legitimacy.
In his response, Dr. Jeffrey resorted to a red herring which is clearly intended to detract from the pertinent issues. He again sought to draw a parallel between the PPP and the PNC by making it appear that both political parties were guilty of political indiscretions when in office and therefore lacked the moral right to criticize each other.
In his twisted and convoluted logic, he accused both the PPP and the PNC administrations of using their positions as the ruling party to either have legislation railroaded in Parliament or make deals with each other, whichever is considered politically expedient.
The truth is that there has always been a qualitative difference between the PPP and the PNC. The first is the fact that the PNC always lacked political and constitutional legitimacy to govern this country having rigged all elections since 1968 right up until October 1992 when it was forced to agree to democratic reforms under the combined weight of domestic and international opinion.
It must be said for the records that the PPP remains the only political party in the country that has won all free and fair elections in our post colonial history. It was manipulated out of office in the elections of 1964 mainly out of geo-political and ideological concerns by the United States and other vested interests. Earlier, in 1953 the Party scored a massive victory but was removed from office by a constitutional coup after a mere six months in office.
This is quite in contrast to the PNC which never gained a majority or won a plurality in its entire political history even though it held on to political office for close to three decades through fraudulent means.
The second point about the PPP which sets it apart from the PNC and for that matter all the other political parties is its embrace of ideology, in particular a working class ideology from which it has never changed course since its formation as a political party sixty four years ago. The PNC, on the other hand, has vacillated ideologically over the decades joining forces with any other party or parties which it perceived could enhance its political fortunes. This explained why it entered into a coalition government with the right-wing United Force in the elections of 1964 to remove the PPP from office even though it had professed to have ‘socialist’ leanings. Today, it has morphed into an alliance with a number of smaller parties under the name APNU, one of which has only recently signalled its intention to withdraw from the partnership.
Thirdly, the PPP has always embraced political and ideological pluralism and a culture of inclusivity and participatory democracy. This is reflected in the several initiatives taken by the Party to broaden the scope of political involvement by all those who shared the vision of a free and democratic Guyana. This explained the formation of the Civic component of the PPP of which Dr. Jeffrey himself was one of the early recruits.
The PNC has demonstrated that it is prepared to sacrifice positions of principle on the altar of political expediency. Today, it has joined forces with the AFC to firstly usurp the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and to dominate all the parliamentary committees under the spurious mathematical formula that two minorities constitute a majority. This is clearly an aberration of the democratic process and a miscarriage of parliamentary democracy which is now blatantly used to frustrate the Government’s parliamentary and developmental agenda.
The doors of the PPP are always open to accommodate all those who genuinely want to contribute to this exciting task of national development. This is why as a political party it has in its ranks the most politically and ideologically advanced contingent of the Guyanese people.