The PNC needs to deal strategically with its past

Dear Editor,

There seems to be a multi-pronged approach to a new propaganda blitz involving the PNC. There are those who accept that it has a sordid history but say it happened so long ago it should be ignored, while others are in denial and yet others attempt to whitewash this history.

None other than Mr David Granger is reported to have said in an article in the SN dated June 14, 2014 captioned ‘“No blanket apology’ for PNC government,” that every government everywhere makes mistakes and he called upon all to point out the errors and they would be investigated. Some time ago Granger said he would not apologise as Mr Jagdeo has many things to apologise for.

Each party would be judged and possibly trusted again by the level of remorse they demonstrate. It remains to be seen who is the principled man among them who is willing to show some remorse and apologise for the “mistakes.” I find it difficult though to regard the deliberate hijacking of ballot boxes and stuffing them with fake ballots; the throwing out of polling agents by the army, and literally stealing successive governments; the murder of political activists; and the beating and wholesale arrest of opposition activists, etc, as “mistakes.”

Well, we are fighting to remove the PPP and since the PNC is also guilty of “mistakes” like the PPP we have to fight them too as these are two peas in a pod.

On the other hand there are those like Gerhard Ramsaroop and Tarron Khemraj working to separate the Hoyte years from Burnham’s years and listing all the positive actions of Hoyte and ignoring his negative deeds.

Every single time the PPP is accused of anything its puerile answer is look at what the PNC did. Here the question of the PNC apologizing is raised and the answer is that the PPP have got things to apologise for also. I personally do not want the PPP to apologise for the atrocities, the deep-rooted corruption, the lack of proper governance, the extra-judicial killings and undemocratic resistance to much needed local government elections. I want them to go, period. So that leaves the PNC. In a letter dated June 9, 2014, captioned ‘We are fooling no one with the patchwork apologies and bogus information,’ the writer stated the following: “Furthermore, I do believe the PNC no more owes the Guyanese people an apology than does the PPP. If the PNC is guilty of rigging, the PPP is equally guilty of racially manipulating the Indo-Guyanese into voting for them. If the PNC is guilty of abusing state resources for party purposes and winning elections, so is the PPP.”

What I gleaned here is that, yes, the PNC should apologise as should the PPP.

The actions of the PNC can in a meaningful manner shape the future of this country. It is a mass-based force supported mainly by Afro-Guyanese. It needs to deal strategically with its past. The writer of the letter referred to above made it clear that the PNC is guilty of so many things, and I include the violence of 1992, 1997 and 2001. It’s hanging over their heads. So how they deal with it is important.

Has the PNC changed? It is recognized that the violence has ceased but is the PNC seriously willing to change? Is it serious about making a fresh start? Is it desirous of uniting with others to change the government of the day? Can it honestly face the Guyanese people, especially the victims of its rule, and say, look things have changed, we have new blood, we see things differently, we will never repeat the mistakes we have made in the past, there is a need for some kind of unity and we are prepared to go the way necessary for change and the betterment of the Guyanese people.

But I do not believe they understand this as a recent letter in the KN seeks to whitewash the history of Hoyte’s rule. This letter written by Gerhard Ramsaroop and Tarron Khemraj is captioned ‘To be fair, we must compare the PPP to PNC part 2 and not part 1,’ and is dated June 12, 2014. These two opined that the good deeds of Hoyte actually constitute an apology when they wrote in their letter “Sukdeo hits the nail on the head here. The Hoyte years precisely constituted the PNC apology.”

Well neither Hoyte nor Granger thought of that, and it is indeed hilarious.

They wrote they cannot find a single incident of being harassed or victimised by PNC part 2. Here they profess to speak for everybody. When and where did the good Dr do his research? They know of my history when I was transferred from a secondary to teach Prep A because I publicly criticized the PNC. For them Hoyte doing business with businessman Boyo Ramsaroop, Gerhard’s father, giving Jagdeo a job are major apologies, as were the removal of banned items and the freeing up of the media and the ushering in of free and fair elections.

Well the radio station and the Chronicle were controlled as under Burnham, and as now under the PPP. Hoyte did nothing to change the real content of the Burnham era and he took for himself an extra two years by messing up the electoral list and it is within these two years that he negotiated with the IMF and had the Washington Consensus thrust down our throats.

The McIntyre report states that real wages fell by 50%, and there was no audit of public funds for the years of Hoyte’s rule. Then there is the crudest of rigging of the 1985 elections (landslide votes in Albion and Port Mourant). Hoyte ordered the arrest of over 250 members of the PYO, PPP and GAWU in the wee hours of the morning. This was during the six weeks strike of bauxite and sugar. Those arrested were shifted to different jurisdictions so that the families would not be able to contact them. I barely escaped the dragnet as I left minutes before they came to my home as I was informed.

The army raided and seized goods stored in GAWU Headquarters that were destined for the bauxite workers on strike.

The position of the Alliance for Change is clear. It came into existence because of the collective actions of the PNC and the PPP to keep this country in a racially polarized state. None other than Tarron Khemraj referred to the PNC as a political dinosaur while Gerhard did his fair share in lashing out against the atrocities of the PNC during the 2011 national elections.

The AFC will continue to act independently supporting whatever positions of the parties seem to be more progressive. It obviously has to work along with the APNU ever so often because of the very nature of the PPP’s corrupt rule and its autocratic form of governance. But it also on occasion voted with the PPP.

Yours faithfully,
Rajendra Bisessar

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