Brig Granger, the Leader of the PNC, spent the 48th anniversary of Guyana’s independence in New York and New Jersey meeting with Guyanese, especially traditional PPP supporters, Indo-Guy-anese. He started off with a dinner meeting at the Santoor Indian Restaurant in Queens on Friday evening(May 13). On Saturday he had a TV interview with Ms Tanuja Raghoo, a walk-about on Liberty Avenue, lunch at Sonny’s Roti Shop, a town hall meeting at Richi Rich Palace, and dinner meeting at Mike and Indranie Persaud’s home.
On Sunday Brig Granger had a lunch meeting at the home of Sandra and Fred Shivdat in NJ, and a dinner and reception in Brooklyn in the evening.
At the meetings with primarily Indo-Guyanese Brig Granger fielded questions about Wismar, election rigging by the PNC, the Walter Rodney assassination, the 1980 Burnham constitution, and under the PPP, drugs, lawlessness, criminality, corruption and dictatorship. In one venue at Queens Brig Granger was greeted by PPP protestors.
He walked the picket line, shook hands with some, and engaged them in short discussions. The picketers were respectful and cordial.
At the meeting at Mike and Indranie Persaud’s home, some Indo-Guyanese argued for a political apology from the PNC for its excesses when it was in power; some argued against it, and a few argued that the PPP owed Guyanese an apology more than the PNC.
Mike Persaud, who over the years had consistently called on the PPP and the PNC to transform into multiracial parties, explained his thesis to Brig Granger who impressed all with his scholarly response, and surprised us with his vast knowledge of the political and military history of post-independence countries in Africa and Asia. Two PPP stalwarts expressed respect and admiration for the Opposition Leader.
Brig Granger explained that he believed in inclusionary democracy in which all parties and groups were involved in the decision-making pro-cess and governance so as to avoid antagonism and conflict. He believed in partnerships and this was why he had entered into alliances with the WPA, GAP, JFAP and others in creating APNU.
In 2013 he had encouraged the start of the Pro Guyana Movement in which all groups can become involved in solving Guyana’s divisions. Brig Granger does not require anyone to change his political party, his social organization or his ethnic identity. Guyanese can remain supporters of the PNC, PPP, WPA, AFC, GAP, ADCA, ROAR; one can be an African, Indian or Amerindian rights activist, Hindu, Muslim or Christian and still be part of the Pro Guyana Movement. He wants all of us to sit at the table and voice our concerns, to engage in dialogue, and forge consensus.
Brig Granger acknowledged the great harm that was done to Indo and Afro-Guyanese during the early 1960s and vowed that he would never let Guyana slide into racial violence again. In recognition of the deep desire of all Guyanese to live in peace and harmony, and to make all our pains worthwhile, he declared that by the time Guyana marks its 50th independence anniversary we should have a unity government, and if he were to be elected President in 2016 he would form A Government of National Unity which he would invite the PPP to join.