In his recent address to the 5th Biennial Conference of the PNCR’s North American Region (NAR) in Atlanta, Georgia, President Granger assured the party faithful of his commitment to the ideals of his party’s Founder-Leader, Forbes Burnham.
The President is quoted as saying that “the most important decision” and “burning question” is whether the PNC is a Burnhamite party and if he is a Burnhamite.
He told the gathering that “some people tried to de-Burnhamise the PNC” however, he vowed that he intended “to protect and preserve and promote those ideals which I believe are still valid…”
Referring to the ideas of the late Forbes Burnham, President Granger said, “My brothers and sisters, that is where I take my ideas from, my ideology from and it’s good for you to know that.”
Interestingly, these statements, noted in an article written by Denis Chabrol and published on Demerara Waves, quote the president referring to his party as PNC rather than PNCR.
When Mr. Hoyte assumed the leadership of the party after Burnham’s death, the word ‘Reform’ was added to the name ‘People’s National Congress’, in a deliberate attempt to de-Burnhamise the party and distance it from Burnham’s policies and ideas. Mr Hoyte transformed the party into a centre-right, pro-capitalist, imperialist friendly party. The party’s name is still People’s National Congress Reform. Some say Deform!
President Granger claims that he has been a member of the party for 52 years and that he is “no stranger to struggle”. If he is, as he claims, a committed Burnhamite, then where was his voice and struggle when Mr. Hoyte abandoned Burnham’s ideas and principles. Who would have guessed that President Granger was a committed Burnhamite when, under his leadership during the 2015 elections, the PNCR, as the largest and most powerful component of the APNU+AFC Coalition, “de-Burnhamised”. Nervous that they might be associated with the ideas of Burnham, APNU+AFC ran ads singing Mr. Hoyte’s praises and crediting him with restoring democracy in Guyana. If you are crediting Mr. Hoyte with restoring democracy in Guyana then you must be claiming that under his predecessor, Forbes Burnham, there was no democracy. And yet, President Granger tells us he is a Burnhamite!
In the 2015 elections, OVP proudly proclaimed our adherence to the vision and ideas of Forbes Burnham. Many in the PNCR said this was ‘political suicide’. That is the difference between us and politicians. The politician will tell the people anything to get votes. We are not politicians – we are revolutionaries, committed to the truth, whether it wins us votes or not. That is why our campaign truck carried two large posters – one of Forbes Burnham and the other of Marcus Garvey. In clear contrast to the PNCR and APNU+AFC, we were not afraid to be associated with Burnham’s ideas. On the contrary, we proudly proclaimed our commitment to Burnham’s vision for self-reliance, self-determination and economic justice.
Fast forward to November 2017, and the reality is that, following the ousting of the corrupt PPP/C and the installation of an APNU+AFC government, Guyana remains a plantation society and economy, controlled and exploited by foreign powers. The people are disillusioned and disappointed. OVP, referred to by Eddie Rodney as a “Burnham revivalist” organization, is gaining support on the ground, at the grassroots. People are telling us that everything we said in 2015 was right. Fooling the people in 2020 may not be as easy as the politicians think. Guyanese are seeing for themselves the difference between the truth and party politricks.
Interestingly, just prior to the 2015 elections, President Granger was asked in an interview, “What is your ideology?” to which he replied, “We do not have any ideology as such.”
Now, as support for the coalition wanes, they have caught wind of what is happening on the ground. They are afraid of the emergence of a genuine people’s movement in this country that could actually turn the tide in Guyana, freeing us from the garrison politics of the PNCR and the PPP. Once again they need the votes of the poor masses, so just as they did in 2015, they will tell us whatever they think we want to hear. The President has even moved from having “no ideology as such” two years ago, to being firmly committed to one now. Remember it was President Granger and Moses Nagamootoo who told the youth in 2015 that to vote for them was to vote for jobs, and once in office, told the same youth that it was not the responsibility of the government to provide jobs.
As people worldwide tire of the deceptive statecraft and politricks of politicians, their words become meaningless. People, especially the young all over the world, including Guyana, are no longer interested in empty rhetoric; they are only interested in action. If President Granger is being truthful about being a Burnhamite, if these are not just more empty promises, but rather a sincere commitment to following Burnham’s ideas as he put it, then action should follow. He would have to reject the neo-liberal capitalist project, fight for Guyana’s true independence and put an end to external meddling in our national affairs by the ABC/EU countries, renegotiate the oil deal and certainly not with corporate raiders such as ExxonMobil, and of course, feed, clothe and house the people.
OVP is not reviving Burnham the man in a way that requires worship of him personally or no criticism of the mistakes he made. We are reviving his vision for this country.
After 23 years of PPP/C in government and almost 2 and a half years of APNU+AFC, the unemployed poor and working poor of this nation, of every ethnicity, especially the youth, who are the majority, have come to realize that the words of politicians are meaningless. In 2020, they will be judged by their actions.
Gerald A. Perreira
Organization for the Victory of the