Dr Jagan and free and fair elections

Dear Editor,

Ever since President David Granger at his 7th meeting with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo to discuss the naming of a Chairman of GECOM announced that he had so chosen Justice Patterson, the PPP has raised fears of electoral rigging never mind it was the PPP in 1962 which was the first to introduce rigging at the PPP Congress where it padded the electoral list with one hundred WPO members in order to prevent Hindu intellectual Balram Singh Rai from becoming Chairman of the PPP.

The PPP’s Dr Cheddi Jagan would experience electoral Karma when due to his obsession with the Soviet Union and world communism the USA decided that he must not be allowed to take power in Guyana and the means to do so was by electoral fraud to deny his Marxist Leninist PPP victory at the polls during the era of the Cold War. Numerous Hindu intellectuals had urged Dr Jagan to change his ideology, cease supporting the USSR against the USA, and to embrace capitalism and the USA but he placed the interest of the Soviet Union and Communism above that of his Indian supporters and so he was locked out of power at the expense of his supporters.

Further, although he would cry rigged elections during the 1970’s and 1980’s Cheddi Jagan would in 1975 declare “critical support” for Burnham’s PNC, call for other parties to join the PNC in a National Front in 1977, call for a National Patriotic Front Gov’t with the PNC in 1978, and in the early 1980’s entered into power sharing talks with Burnham’s PNC aimed at creating a one-party socialist dictatorship that would have ended the need for “free and fair elections.” Unfortunately for Dr Jagan his best friend and student Burnham died in 1985 and the PNC’s new leader Desmond Hoyte said enough of the socialist nonsense and ended the power sharing talks between PPP and PNC.

Desmond Hoyte proved to be a transformative leader who put the interest of Guyana above that of party and ethnic loyalties. He went about dismantling the semi socialist state of the Jagan/Burnham experiment, depoliticizing the civil service and security forces, restoring fully the freedom of the press and the right to protest. He also began the process of free and fair elections.

Dr Jagan’s communist world order came crashing down in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union thereby ending the Cold War. With Dr Jagan and his PPP no longer posing a threat to the USA the way was clear for PNC leader and President Desmond Hoyte to restore “free and fair elections” in Oct 1992 that returned Dr Jagan to power. The one crucial mistake President Hoyte made was not scrapping the 1980 Constitution which was designed for a joint PPP/PNC one party state.

Dr Jagan, although he had publicly opposed the constitution in 1980, kept it intact. He never even amended it. The PPP would rule for 23 years with just an occasional tinkering with the Consti-tution. It never stripped away the unilateral Presidential powers despite many requests by Hindu intellectuals to do so. And after meeting seven  times with Bharrat Jagdeo to discuss the naming of a GECOM Chairman and President Granger not finding any of Jagdeo’s nominees suitable the President made his choice in accordance with the powers bestowed on him by the Constitu-tion. The same one under which Jagdeo is claiming immunity from prosecution and court proceedings.

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Harripaul

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