I was delighted when I met David Granger for the first time in Richmond Hill Queens, New York. It was Tony Jones who first informed me of his coming and invited me to meet with him in Brooklyn to discuss the political situation in Guyana. Unfortunately that meeting didn’t come off. Malcolm Harripaul later informed me that Granger was having a meeting in Richmond Hill at Richie Rich Palace and would be walking through on the famous Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, followed by dinner at Mike Persaud’s place.
I met Granger on Liberty Ave and 125 Street where Malcolm introduced me to him. The walk through was wonderful for an African opposition leader in an Indo-dominated community. It was a great master stroke for Granger and APNU. It reminded me of Cheddi Jagan going into Buxton. As his bodyguard and closeman I was told that picketers were waiting but we went in nevertheless. When word got to Malcolm that PPP picketers were waiting at Richie Rich Palace he advised that we would go through the picket line, shake hands with the picketers, and invite them to come to the meeting. Granger agreed. The PPP protestors looked surprised to see Granger approaching them. Some of them shook hands with him and expressed their concerns. Granger had a short discussion with them. That was unlike the PPP leaders who usually scurry through the back door and hide from picketers. They rarely entertain questions from the audience.
Granger did a good job answering questions from the audience. He dealt nicely with the Amaila Falls project, the airport ripoff, the PPP propaganda machines NCN and GINA, and the budget cuts. I am praying for the videotape to reach safely to Freedom House so that Uncle Donald and the PPP Secretary and crew would have a nice look at how David Granger the ex-Brigadier outshone them in their own backyard.
The old PPP diehards were there. One interrupted Colin Moore who was talking about the killing of about 400 black men done by Roger Khan, saying, “Colin yuh a talk bout Raja Khan, what about Blackie.” Granger answered that Blackie was shot and killed in Guyana but Roger Khan was allowed to flee the country only to be intercepted in Trinidad by the DEA.
The question of apologizing for the wrongs the PNC did in the past was raised. I beg Granger not to apologize because he wasn’t the leader of the PNC at that time. If for argument’s sake he apologizes, then the PPP would say, ‘See, that’s what we were saying all the time. Granger was pressured in Richmond Hill after he met with the Indian community there and said he is sorry for what the PNC did to Indo-Guyanese. See this man has blood on his hands. Remember the ballot box martyrs in Berbice? It was Granger who led that operation.’ To apologise would cause his downfall and affect his popularity as leader of APNU and would score a political coup for the PPP.
Never mind those old timers who are calling for apologies. The Guyanese youth nowadays don’t care about Burnham and the PNC. They hardly know about the sixties and who did what to whom. Most don’t even know about Walter Rodney. They want jobs, nice cellphone, car, money, they want crime to stop, blackouts to stop, police harassment to stop – they want a good life. They want a president who can deliver the goods to them. They see the PPP as corrupt but they have no choice. Now David Granger has to show them he can deliver, and that when he becomes president he would be a president for all Guyana. Good luck to David and I hope he continues to bridge the divide.