I had just turned 12 years old, only a few months older than my son is now, when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic came to power in 1992. My primary experience with suppression of dissent, of discrimination, of blatant corruption, of the murder and torture of citizens by agents of the state, of nepotistic incompetence in public office, and of poor public infrastructure and services didn’t happen before 1992, but in the 23 years since. On a personal level, the PNC of 1984 did not clandestinely threaten my income because I made a case of incompetence and a lack of accountability against one of its ministers; the PPP of 2014 did that.
That said, I am willing to forgive, to listen to what the PPP has to say that is progressive, that is forward thinking, that is inclusive. I am waiting for a policy on youth or culture or equitable economic growth or combating corruption, but instead what I keep getting is a rearview mirror on the PNC years.
For example, on Saturday you had stories in the Chronicle in which both Gail Teixeira and Donald Ramotar were referring to the events of the Burnham era and warning against their return.
On social media, PPP pages and accounts are popping up presenting the sort of ultra-murderous and ‘Dark Age’ view of that time that even Burnham’s worst critics would fail to recognize.
The PPP is not so much running a campaign as it is running a politically themed séance, resurrecting and pitting itself against the ghost of a long dead Forbes Burnham. But then again, even outside of Burnham, there is of course no limit, no barrier of decency restraining its shameless exploitation of the dead.
When Anil Nandlall, Kwame McCoy and Juan Edghill, all PPP people, attended and spewed divisive hatred at a Lusignan Massacre Memorial organized by PPP group, the Indian Arrival Committee, it was shameless exploitation of the dead. When this weekend, the PPP controlled Guyana Chronicle published an article claiming that news of the APNU-AFC Coalition caused a 67-year-old man allegedly to suffer a fatal heart attack at a bottom-house meeting held by the PPP’s Neil Kumar, it was a shameless exploitation of the dead.
The coalition is now set, with a presidential candidate, David Granger and a prime ministerial candidate, Moses Nagamootoo. Instead of speaking simplistically about the penalties attached to the possession of bread 30 years ago, Donald Ramotar should have the courage to invite Granger on national television and radio to debate his record as President over the past three years, or even that of his predecessor in the previous ten. Cowardly abuse of the state media and a refusal to openly debate cannot be a winning strategy for the PPP at this critical time.
And finally, on January 29, an article was published on the GTMosquito website alleging that there was a conflict of interest in the award of the National Museum Digitisation Project, launched by the Minister of Culture, Frank Anthony in September of last year.
The day the article was published, a fire broke out at the museum, as reported in Kaieteur News. To date there has been no response from the ministry on either the conflict of interest or the official cause of the fire.
I am calling on the Minister of Culture to explain the procurement process behind awarding the of the museum project and to present to the public the findings in the Guyana Fire Service’s investigation into the museum fire.